Chilliwack financial advisor Terry Brown (left), Barb Van Santen and just some of her many foster kids. Brown helped Van Santen get the $1,200 BC Training and Education Savings Grant for eight children last year and he’s campaigning for all parents to sign up. (Paul Henderson/The Progress file)

Chilliwack financial advisor Terry Brown (left), Barb Van Santen and just some of her many foster kids. Brown helped Van Santen get the $1,200 BC Training and Education Savings Grant for eight children last year and he’s campaigning for all parents to sign up. (Paul Henderson/The Progress file)

B.C. parents still missing out on hundreds of thousands in free money

Chilliwack financial advisor still banging the drum over unclaimed $1,200 RESP grant cash

Terry Brown has been screaming from the rooftops for months about free money that B.C. parents continue to leave on the table.

And yet still thousands and thousands aren’t listening.

“It’s a real head-scratcher,” the Chilliwack financial advisor said this week.

Brown’s message is about the free $1,200 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant. All parents have to do is open an Registered Education Savings Plan at a financial institution, which is free, then apply for the grant through the bank or credit union. There is no requirement to match the government grant or continue to contribute.

“The ‘trick that isn’t a trick’, as I like to call it, is to open an empty RESP account just to collect your child’s provincial and federal grants,” Brown said.

“Many RESP providers allow this, but it seems that half of B.C. parents still don’t know.”

Despite his efforts to promote the grant on social media and in person to anyone who will listen, take-up is still not great.

About 47,000 kids are born every year in B.C., yet just 41 per cent of eligible children born between 2006 and 2012 have grabbed the free money offer. Of those born between 2007 and 2009, a little over 51 per cent received the grant, and for the rest of them, time’s up.

Of those born in 2010, 43.7 per cent; 2011, 34.8 per cent; and in the most recent year of eligibility, 2012, just 6,810 out of 46,028 kids have the free money so far, or 14.8 per cent.

For parents of kids born in 2006, time is running out. More than 30,000 children have not applied. The deadline is Aug. 14, 2019, after which, the money is left on the table.

• READ MORE: Free $1,200 grants going unclaimed by thousands in B.C.

The parents of children between the ages of six and nine when the program was introduced in 2015 were given three years to apply. The program was later extended to include children born in 2006. And the deadline for the kids born in 2007, 2008 and 2009 was last summer, meaning nearly half of those kids didn’t get it.

The deadline to apply now is by the beneficiary’s ninth birthday.

“It’s free money for kids. It takes 15 minutes out of your day to bring in $1,200.”

For information, any parent just needs to contact their financial institution or check out Brown’s Facebook page dedicated to the subject: www.facebook.com/TerryBrowninBC.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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