The provincial government of British Columbia provides a social assistance program to residents of British Columbia to help them meet the costs of living expenses. Low-income earning individuals and families may be eligible to receive this monthly benefit as well as other benefit programs the government offers.
The program may provide anywhere from close to $900 to over $1,700, depending on whether or not you're single, have children or dependents, with or without disabilities. Payments may be deposited to an account, delivered in cheques by mail or you can pick up your cheque from a local government office.
What Is The BC Income Assistance Program?
The British Columbia Income Assistance program is a financial assistance program offered by the provincial government of British Columbia to eligible low-income earning residents of British Columbia. The program aims to help these residents meet the costs of basic needs for themselves and their families.
The program is issued by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to British Columbians who are in need and lack the means with which to provide for and support themselves and their families.
The BC Income Assistance program also offers its beneficiaries the opportunity to get a job and provides these individuals with the means to be employed and also earn a living. There are various other benefits that may be available to beneficiaries of the BC Income Assistance program such as health benefits, general support, and other supplemental benefits.
BC Income Assistance Payment Dates 2022
If you are eligible for the BC Income Assistance program, you will receive your benefit payment in the month preceding the benefit month. The payment date usually falls on a Wednesday.
If you signed up to receive your benefit payment by direct deposit for the 2022 benefit year, you will receive your benefit payments on the following dates:
|December 17, 2022
|January 18, 2023
|February 15, 2023
|March 22, 2023
|April 19, 2023
|May 17, 2023
|June 21, 2023
|July 19, 2023
|August 23, 2023
|September 20, 2023
|October 25, 2023
|November 22, 2023
|December 20, 2023
You can also sign up to receive your benefit payment by cheque. If you want to receive your payment by cheque, you will get your cheque by mail or you can pick it up yourself from a local government office.
The cheques are mailed out before the stated payment dates to allow enough time for the cheques to get to the recipients. The cheques will be mailed out or will be available in a government office for pickup on the following dates:
|December 15, 2022
|January 16, 2023
|February 13, 2023
|March 20, 2023
|April 17, 2023
|May 15, 2023
|June 19, 2023
|July 17, 2023
|August 21, 2023
|September 18, 2023
|October 23, 2023
|November 20, 2023
|December 18, 2023
Related: If you live in Alberta and suffer from a disability, you may be eligible for the AISH program. Read this post to find out when you’ll get paid.
BC Income Assistance Benefits
The BC Income Assistance program mainly offers financial assistance every month to eligible residents of British Columbia. However, the program also provides supplemental benefits to its beneficiaries.
The BC Income Assistance benefits include:
Eligible individuals may receive a monthly benefit payment to assist them in meeting the costs of living necessities. The amount you may be eligible to receive is in two parts:
- The Support allowance.
- The Shelter allowance.
The BC Income Assistance program also provides supplemental benefits to beneficiaries. The supplemental benefit is aimed at providing financial aid to cover other living and health costs.
The supplemental benefit is divided into two categories:
- General Supplement
- Health Supplement
Under the general supplement, you may receive financial assistance payments to cover the costs of expenses such as coverage for:
|Crisis or emergency expenses
|Co-operative housing membership share fees
|Family maintenance fees
|Guide dog and service dog expenses
|Moving or relocation expenses
|Prenatal shelter costs
|ID card fees
|Lost or stolen cheque replacements
|School startup expenses
|Utility security bills
You may also receive family bonus payments under the general supplements.
Under the health supplement, you may receive monthly financial assistance to provide coverage for health-related costs and expenses for the recipients such as:
|Alcohol and drug residential treatments
|Alternative hearing assistance
|Extended medical therapies
|Medical supply and equipment
The BC Income Assistance program also provides employment support to eligible recipients. Beneficiaries who are able to work will have to complete an employment plan which contains activities enabling them to find a job and become financially independent in the long run. There is an exemption made for those who cannot work.
You will have to meet with an Employment Assistance Worker in order to develop, review and update your plan. You may have to get involved in work search activities and job training to help you find a job.
You may also be referred to a WorkBC centre or other programs which may also offer you employment support.
Finally, single parents may receive additional financial support and training from the BC Income Assistance program.
BC Income Assistance Eligibility Requirements
You may be eligible for the BC Income Assistance program if you find it hard to provide for and support yourself and your family or you do not have the means to meet the costs of essential needs. You may also be eligible for the benefits program if you do not have a job or earn enough to support yourself and your family or if you do not have the ability to work.
You may also be qualified for the benefit if you are in dire need of food, shelter, or health support.
Those who are new to the program or have never received the BC Income Assistance benefit before will need to actively search for a job for a minimum of three weeks. The same condition also applies to individuals who are returning to the BC Income Assistance program.
Nevertheless, there are several situations that may exempt you from looking for jobs. These situations include:
- Escaping an abusive spouse, partner, or relative.
- Being a single parent with a dependent child that is less than three years old.
- Having a mental or physical disability that impairs your ability to find a job.
- You or somebody in your immediate family has the Persons with Disability (PWD) designation.
- You are not authorized to work in Canada.
- You are 65 or more years old.
If your job search was not successful, you will have to undergo an eligibility assessment. An Income Assistance worker will reach out to you in person or over the phone to verify the information you provided and to also ascertain your type of accommodation unit with the right documents.
Your eligibility will then be determined after which you will have to work together with the Income Assistance worker to create an employment plan. Once you have been determined as eligible, you will start receiving your benefit payments on the dates stated above.
You may also be eligible for Hardship Assistance depending on your personal circumstances.
BC Income Assistance: How Much Can You Receive?
If you are eligible for the BC Income Assistance program, the amount you may receive each month will depend on your family size and personal circumstances. Based on these factors, you may receive up to:
- $935 per month if you are single.
- $1,525 per month if you and your spouse or partner already receive benefits and you have no child or dependents.
- $1,280 per month if you are a single parent and have one child or dependent.
- $1,620 per month if you and your spouse or partner already receive assistance benefits and have one child or dependent.
As mentioned in the previous sections, the BC Income Assistance amount you may receive comes in two parts:
- The shelter allowance
- The support allowance
Based on your family size and circumstances, the amount you may be eligible to receive for support allowance is as follows:
|Family Unit Size
The different sections I to VIII are defined as follows:
- I – Employable single individuals, spouses or common-law partners and two-parent families where the adults are not up to 65 years of age.
- II – Single individuals, spouses, common-law partners and two-parent families where the adults are Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) and are under 65 years of age.
- III – Employable single parents where the parent is not up to 65 years of age.
- IV – Single individuals that are 65 years or older, spouses, common-law partners and two-parent families where one adult is at least 65 years or older.
- V – Spouses, common-law partners or two-parent families where both adults are 65 years or older.
- VI – Single parent family where the parent is 65 years or older.
- VII – Single parent families where the parent is a Person with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) and is under 65 years of age.
- VIII – Spouses, common-law partners and two-parent families where one adult is a Person with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) and both adults are under 65 years of age.
The amount you may be eligible to receive for shelter allowance each benefit month is given as follows:
|Family Unit Size
|Minimum Shelter Allowance
|Maximum Shelter Allowance
There are several different scenarios that determine exactly how much you’ll receive:
- If the actual cost of your shelter is less than the minimum shelter allowance given you will receive the minimum shelter allowance.
- If your family has an individual receiving the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, you will receive the maximum shelter allowance.
- If you receive the maximum shelter allowance and your family consists of more than 7 people, you receive an extra $50 for each additional dependent that makes your family size greater than 7.
- If you receive the minimum shelter allowance and your family consists of more than 7 people, you will receive an extra $25 For each additional dependent.
- Families may also receive additional monthly payment amounts for each child they have under 19 years of age.
How to Apply for the BC Income Assistance Program
Applying for the BI Income Assistance program is easy. You can apply in three different ways:
- By using My Self Serve to determine your eligibility and to complete the application online.
- By visiting your local office to complete the application process.
- By calling 1-866-866-0800 to complete your application.
When applying, there is some standard information you’ll likely have to provide to complete your application. It’s advisable to have all of this information at hand before calling or visiting a local office to ensure a successful application. This information includes:
- Details about your present living condition, your income, and assets.
- Identification means for yourself and your family.
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- The amount you pay for rent and utilities.
- How much money you have in the bank.
- If you have a vehicle and the amount you owe on it.
You will also be asked to ascertain if:
- you receive or are expecting the Employment Insurance (EI) or Workers Compensation Benefit (WCB).
- any outstanding warrants have been issued for you.
- you were brought or sponsored into Canada by a family member.
After applying, your application will be reviewed and you will be informed if you are eligible to receive the BC Income Assistance.
If you are initially deemed ineligible for the program, don’t feel dispirited. You may still appeal for reconsideration by visiting your local office or calling 1-866-866-0800 within 20 business days of receiving the decision.
If you decide to appeal, you’ll receive a form within 48 hours that you’ll need to complete and return to the office still within 20 days of the original decision. You can also request an additional 10 days if you need to attach additional documents or information.
After that, you should receive a reply with the reconsideration decision within 10 business days.
Rejected again? You can further appeal to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal in 7 business days if you are not satisfied with the decision. You’ll receive a reply with the new decision in another 10 business days.
It’s important to note that, depending on your particular situation, the BC Income Assistance program might pay you some benefits during the waiting period and you can keep the money if the decision is made in your favor. However, you will have to refund the amount paid to you if you are still found ineligible for the program after you’ve exhausted all of your eligible appeals.
BC Income Assistance: Earnings Exemptions
Recipients of the BC Income Assistance program are encouraged to search for jobs so as to make more money and become financially independent. If you work while receiving benefit payments from the BC Income Assistance, your benefit payments will not be withheld.
However, the amount you earn from your job or from working, up to a certain amount, will affect the amount you receive for BC income assistance.
However, the benefits program has certain exemptions for working recipients. These exemptions include:
- $500 per month if you are single or a couple and have no child or dependents.
- $750 per month if you have children.
- $900 per month if you have a child with a disability.
- $900 per month if you are single or have a family with at least one person meeting the Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) criteria.
Low-income earning residents of British Columbia who are in financial need can apply for BC Income Assistance. The program provides beneficiaries with financial assistance to help them cover the costs of daily necessities like food and housing.
Individuals may also receive health benefits as well as other supplemental benefits to provide coverage for other basic expenses for themselves and their children. Individuals who can work are encouraged to seek jobs. The Income Assistance program provides employment support to recipients to enable them to find work and earn a living.
BC Income Assistance FAQs
How long does it take to get approved for income assistance in BC?
It may take anywhere from 1 to 5 weeks for your Income Assistance application to be reviewed and for your eligibility to be determined. If you’re initially rejected and you appeal the decision, the timeline could extend an additional 3 or more weeks.
Can I work while on income assistance in BC?
Yes, you can work while on Income Assistance in BC. The BC Income Assistance program encourages its recipients to search for work in order to become more financially independent.
Who is eligible for income assistance in BC?
You can be eligible for Income Assistance in BC if you are in financial need and do not have the means to provide for yourself and your family. You may also be eligible if you do not have a job or you find it hard to meet the costs of your basic needs.
How much does income assistance pay in BC?
If you are eligible for the BC Income Assistance program, you may receive up to $935 if you are single and $1,525 if you and your spouse or partner are on Income Assistance and have no children or dependents. If you are a single parent and have one child or dependent, you will receive $1,280 and $1,720 if you and your spouse or partner are on the Income Assistance and have one child or dependent.