What are the criteria for qualifying for a trust benefit?
The Trust applies to lawyers who are licenced to practise law in British Columbia and who, as
determined by the Trustees, have entered into contracts with LABC since April 1, 2019, are devoting a majority of their legal practice to LABC contracts and have financial need or hardship resulting from or arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. The trust is discretionary and the fund is limited. It is intended to address financial need and hardship arising from a reduction in legal aid income during the pandemic period. The Trustees will compare legal services income from prior periods with that received in the eligibility period. Receipt of benefits will depend on personal circumstances, demonstrated need, and the relative merits of the applications the Trust receives.
Why does AHT need my financial information and what will AHT use it for?
Payment of benefits out of the Trust is a discretionary decision of the Trustees. The premise of the Trust is to rectify hardship and address need for lawyers who depend on legal aid contracts for their livelihood. This is not an income replacement benefit, rather a measure to assist those who are in financial distress. The Trustees have a duty to assess the relative need of the applicants and disburse the limited fund as equitably as possible within the information available to them. The request for full financial information is also intended to assist applicants to reflect on whether they are in financial need relative to other potential applicants. All information provided to the Trustees will be kept in confidence and used by the Trustees only for the purpose of administering the fund.
I received the CERB. Does that disqualify me?
The Trust benefit is intended to help replace LABC income lost due to the pandemic for those who are in hardship as a result of this loss in income. If a potential applicant has fully replaced lost income with government assistance or other sources of income, they will not be considered for the benefit. If a person has not fully replaced the lost income despite receipt of other benefits or income, and is still experiencing financial need or hardship, they will remain eligible for the benefit. The trust is discretionary and the fund is limited, so benefits will depend on personal circumstances, demonstrated need, and the relative merits of the applications the Trust receives.
How long will I wait to hear after I send my application?
Once an application and supporting documentation are submitted to the Trustees, it will be reviewed within a few days to a week, depending on volumes of applications received. If the Trustees have questions or require more information, they will be in touch following the review. If you qualify for a benefit, the Trustees will notify you within a week to two weeks, depending on volumes of applications.
How much is the benefit?
The benefit is discretionary and is based on financial need or hardship, so the amount will vary based on personal circumstances, demonstrated need, and the relative merits of the applications the Trust receives.
What is the eligibility period?
The initial eligibility period will generally start with the date of first identifiable loss and end with the date of the application. The Trust may invite subsequent applications if funds permit and hardship continues.
Are benefits from the trust taxable?
You will receive a tax slip at the end of the taxation year for any payments received from the trust and should declare your payments on your 2020 income tax return.