What is the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)?

Updated 2024.  The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a long-term savings plan specifically designed to help individuals with disabilities and their families save for the future. Introduced by the Canadian government in 2008, the RDSP aims to provide financial security and support for individuals with disabilities over their lifetimes.

Here are some key features and benefits of the RDSP:

  1. Savings and Investment: The RDSP allows individuals to contribute funds into a tax-deferred savings account. Contributions can be made by the beneficiary, their family members, or any other eligible contributors. The savings can then be invested in a variety of investment options such as mutual funds, bonds, and stocks, depending on the financial institution offering the RDSP.
  2. Government Grants and Bonds: One of the primary advantages of the RDSP is that the Canadian government provides financial incentives in the form of grants and bonds to help boost savings. These incentives include the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and the Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB).
    • Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG): The CDSG matches contributions made to the RDSP, with the matching rate depending on the beneficiary’s family income and contribution level. On the first $500 contributed, the government will provide $1,500 (3 to 1 contribution). On the next $1,000, the government will provide an additional $2,000 (2 to 1 contribution). That’s a total of $5,000 from a $1,500 contribution, every year. The grant can be received up to a lifetime maximum of $70,000.
    • Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB): The CDSB is available for individuals with lower family incomes. It provides a fixed amount of money annually into the RDSP, even if no contributions are made. The amount provided is $1,000 per year. The lifetime maximum for the CDSB is $20,000.
  3. Tax Advantages: Contributions made to an RDSP are not tax-deductible, but the investment growth within the plan is tax-deferred. Withdrawals from the RDSP are considered taxable income for the beneficiary, typically at a lower tax rate due to their potentially lower income level. Additionally, the government grants and bonds received do not count as income until they are withdrawn.
  4. Flexibility in Withdrawals: RDSP funds can be used for various disability-related expenses and financial needs. These can include medical and dental expenses, education and training, housing, transportation, and other essential supports. The flexibility in how the funds are used allows individuals to address their specific needs and improve their quality of life.
  5. Lifetime Limit and Age Restrictions: The lifetime limit for RDSP contributions is $200,000. The plan is designed to support individuals with disabilities over the long term, and contributions can be made until the end of the year when the beneficiary turns 59. However, government grants and bonds have an annual limit and eligibility requirements.

To open an RDSP, the individual must first be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). To find out if you qualify, Request a Free Eligibility Assessment.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Diane Campbell

    Hi I am 50 years old now I have qualified for the disability tax credit in 2010 but didn’t know I could apply for other credits are they retroactive if I apply now

    1. Hi Diane,

      Yes, you can claim the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Disability Bonds and Disability Grants and Disability Tax Credit retroactively. With that said, you will not be able to receive retroactive grants or bonds in the calendar year in which you turn 49.

  2. Robert Johnston

    My support is waiting for the release of my approved DTC. How do I enroll in this program so that I can just save for the next 8 years?

    1. Disability Tax Service

      Hi Robert,

      You will want to want to contact your bank once you get approved for the Disability Tax Credit to setup the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). They will be able to walk you through the steps with getting the plan setup.

  3. Naufel

    Hi. If I contribute for proor years will the government still match the amount ?

    1. Disability Tax Service

      Hi Naufel,

      Yes, you can claim the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Disability Bonds and Disability Grants and Disability Tax Credit retroactively.

  4. Stephen

    I just turned 50 this past July….does that disqualify me from contributing and gaining from the RDSP bonds program? I’ve been on ODSP for @. 14 years without ever applying for the disability tax credit….

    Thank you


    1. Disability Tax Service

      Hi Steve,

      You can claim the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Disability Bonds and Disability Grants and Disability Tax Credit retroactively. You will not be able to receive retroactive grants or bonds in the calendar year in which you turn 49.

  5. Jennifer Hamley

    Hi , i am on odsp and can claim from 2019-2022
    I dont have anyone to transfer this to so how can this help me?

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      You may qualify for the Disability Bonds that the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) provides. Regarding your disability tax credits, you will want to explore your options for transferring your credits a family member. The family member can be your spouse/common-law partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. You must have either resided with them or they must have provided you with financial assistance towards either food, shelter, or clothing expenses in each of the years you want to transfer your disability tax credits to them.  We will need to provide the CRA with examples of the support provided, the more examples, the better.

  6. Patricia Welcher

    Hi I just got accepted for the disability tax credit and was wondering if
    1. will my back credit be taken off my ODSP monthly check
    2. I am going to be 53 in july do I still qualify for the RDSP.

    1. Disability Tax Service

      Hi Patricia,

      To answer your questions.
      1. The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit. This means that you must have a taxable income in order to make use of the disability tax credits available to you. ODSP will not provide you with the taxable income required in order to receive a disability tax credit refund. You may be able to make use of some of the credits if you paid income tax in some of the years you’re eligible for the disability tax credit or you may want to explore your options for transferring your disability tax credits to a spouse/common law partner (if applicable) or family member.

      2. You will still qualify for the RDSP but you will not be eligible to receive the RDSPs disability bonds and disability grants that the RDSP provides. The age limit to receive these benefit is 49.

      To discuss these issues further, you may contact me directly at peter@www.disabilitytaxservice.ca

  7. tanya

    Thx for this useful information. RE: $1500 annual deposit, by when does this deposit have to be made? is there a general annual deadline? or does it coincide with the anniversary of the RDSP account opening?

    1. I’m glad you found the information useful. To answer your question, The general annual deadline is December 31st.

      Keep in mind that the Federal Government allows a ten calendar year carry forward of unused disability bonds and grants. The RDSP was first established in 2008, which means currently you can go back and claim the government bonds and grants back to that year.

  8. Sherry

    My son was approved of the Disability tax credit in 1999 and the form is valid until 2013. Is this RDSP retroactive for the previous years from 1999-2011? This would be a great benefit for my son. Thanks for your time.

    1. Disability Tax Service

      The RDSP Grants and Bonds can be retroactively claimed back ten calendar years. Since the program was only introduced in 2008 though, you can only claim the Grants and Bonds back to that year.

  9. Craig Walsh

    Hi , My name is Craig im 24 and i have (CP) and was wondering if i could apply for the RDSP .
    Thank you for any information you can give me .

    1. Disability Tax Service

      Hi Craig, in order to qualify for the RDSP you need to first qualify for the disability tax credit. I’ve sent you an email to get the process started. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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