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Registered Disability Savings Plan: making the shift from welfare to wealth

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The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) has been available for four years to Canadians with disabilities. Despite offering generous grants and bonds, subscription remains low, with only 9% of the eligible population having opened one. The goal of this study is twofold: first, to capture perceptions of RDSP holders, families, and community experts as to the barriers people face when accessing the plan; second, to identify possible facilitators contributing to success of opening an RDSP. Surveys reveal a wide range of responses to the program, and interviews provide in-depth experiential information. Key themes from responses include financial literacy, lack of information about the RDSP, eligibility requirements, withdrawal restrictions, and lack of faith in the system. Final recommendations identify policy options that build trust and further promote the RDSP through adjusting parameters, marketing the RDSP strategically across Canada, and integrating financial literacy into the administration of the RDSP.
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