The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a Henson trust, which is commonly used to set money aside for people with disabilities, should not be considered an “asset” when determining eligibility for rental assistance.
“My client is relieved,” says Michael Feder, who represented the appellant S.A., who has a disability, at the Supreme Court. “This has been a difficult problem for her in the sense that the trust at issue was set up to avoid exactly the thing that occurred, which was a denial of social assistance benefits that she needs.”
The appellant S.A. had lived in a housing complex run by the respondent, Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, since 1992 and received rental assistance from MVHC every year until 2015. S.A. also has an interest in a trust that was set up by her family in 2012. The structure of the Henson trust means that S.A cannot compel the trustees to make any payments to her and that she cannot unilaterally collapse the trust.