Additional Allowances and Welfare Benefits (21:IX)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 14, 2020.

The Ministry may provide a number of additional supplements in certain specific circumstances. This section will outline some of these supplements. However, Part 5, Divisions 1-4 and 6 of the EAR and Part 5, Divisions 1-3 and 5 of the EAPWDR will need to be reviewed for complete details.

A. Crisis Supplements

A crisis supplement is a one-time grant for a welfare recipient who requires an “unexpected item of need” and is unable to obtain it due to lack of money or assets or inability to obtain credit. Crisis supplements are provided pursuant to s 59 of the EAR and s 57 of the EAPWDR and do not have to be repaid.

Before issuing a crisis supplement, the Ministry must decide that failure to obtain that item will result in:

  • imminent danger to the physical health of any person in the family unit or
  • removal of a child under the Child, Family and Community Service Act.

A person might be eligible for a crisis supplement to buy necessities like winter coats, baby cribs, or a new appliance. If a recipient loses possessions in a fire, runs out of food or fuel, is threatened with Hydro cut-off, or must make an essential house repair, he or she may ask the Ministry for a crisis supplement.

The legislation sets out maximum amounts for crisis supplements:

  • For food, $20 per person per month;
  • For clothes, $100 per person per year or $400 per family per year, whichever is less;
  • For shelter, the actual shelter costs up to the maximum shelter rate of the family for one month only.

Note: If the crisis supplement is for clothing or furniture, the Ministry may ask the applicant to look for second-hand goods. They may ask the applicant to get three estimates for the cost of the service of goods required.

The maximum cumulative total of crisis assistance provided in any 12 month period is the equivalent of two months’ assistance for the family unit.

The amount of a crisis supplement is not subject to appeal, but the denial of a crisis supplement can be appealed.

If a person is given six or more crisis supplements in 12 months, their benefits may be administered, which means that the Ministry may begin sending the welfare recipient several small cheques over the course of a month instead of one cheque. The Ministry may also begin paying the person’s rent directly to their landlord.

B. Other Supplements

Apart from crisis supplements, other supplements that may be available under the legislation include:

  • a pre-natal shelter supplement;
  • a Christmas supplement;
  • school start-up supplements;
  • community volunteer supplements;
  • clothing and transportation supplements for people confined to special care facilities;
  • supplements where a person needs to obtain new proof of identity;
  • supplements associated with an employment plan or a confirmed job;
  • moving and transportation supplements;
  • supplements for security deposits;
  • advances for lost, stolen, delayed, or suspended family bonus cheques;
  • supplements for guide animals;
  • seniors’ supplements;
  • funeral, burial, or cremation supplements; and
  • transportation supplements.

Note that this is a non-exhaustive list.

Some of these supplements are repayable and others are not. See Part 5 of the EAR and EAPWDR for details.

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