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 missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in free money

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

Terry Brown’s been screaming from the rooftops for months about free money that continues to be left on the table by parents in B.C.

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 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG), a free $1,200 grant. All parents have to do is open an RESP at a financial institution, something that doesn’t cost anything, and then apply for the BCTESG 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 says.

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

Despite Brown’s tireless 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 the ages of 2006 and 2012 have taken the government up on the free money offer. Of those born between 2007 and 2009, a little over 51 per cent received 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.

As for the first year of eligibility, 2006, 16,627 out of 46,681 or 35.6 per cent have applied. That means the parents of 30,054 children have not applied and time is running out as the deadline to apply is Aug. 14, 2019 after which, the money is left on the table.

“I’m running out of new ways to say the same thing: empty RESP accounts are free, and free money is available,” Brown said last June in an article in The Progress on the same subject.

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

Children who were 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 who were 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 on the grant, 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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