Difference between revisions of "I Have Been Denied or Cut off Welfare"

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Revision as of 15:17, 4 January 2016

You have the right to challenge (appeal) most decisions about having a monthly benefit or supplement denied, cut off, or reduced. You can also challenge some decisions about penalties, and if the ministry says you are not eligible for disability benefits.

You can ask for a reconsideration of the ministry’s decision. If that does not work, you can usually file an appeal to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal, or EAAT.

Most people get welfare through the provincial government Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. People who live on an Indian reserve get welfare through the Indian band or tribal council. The process is roughly the same on and off reserve.

If you live on an Indian reserve, call the band office and ask to speak to the social development worker. This person can help with your application for emergency income assistance or hardship benefits, and tell you what to do if you want to appeal a decision.

First steps[edit]

Before you get started:

  • Get help from an advocate. (See the listing for PovNet in the Resource List of this Guide for contact and website information for welfare advocates in your area.)

To start the process:

Follow the steps in chapter 5, How to Appeal in Your Welfare Rights. In that chapter, look at the section called First Step: Reconsideration.

In summary, here is how you begin:

  1. You ask a Ministry worker why the benefit or supplement was denied, cut off or reduced. Get them to tell you what law or policy they based their decision on.
  2. You ask a Ministry worker to prepare and provide you with a Request for Reconsideration form.
  3. Follow the tips and information for First Step: Reconsideration in How to Appeal in Your Welfare Rights. Complete the Request for Reconsideration form and return it to the welfare office within 20 business days. When you complete the form, focus on how the Ministry applied the welfare rules incorrectly. Attach copies of any documents or other evidence that supports your side of the story. Also be sure to attach any evidence the Ministry used to make their decision.

It is very important to make your best case when you are requesting a reconsideration. Supply as much information as you can. If you have to appeal a decision after reconsideration, you may be limited to the information you used in your original Request for Reconsideration. See the listing for PovNet in the Resource List of this guide to contact a welfare advocate in your area.

What happens next

You should receive a response to your request for reconsideration within a couple of weeks. If you don’t, contact the Ministry and ask a worker to explain why there is a delay. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, ask to speak to a supervisor.

The reconsideration decision will say whether or not your benefit or supplement has been granted or refused. It should also say which law or policy the Ministry based the reconsideration decision on, and whether you may appeal the decision to an Appeal Tribunal.

If you don’t agree with the reconsideration decision, use Your Welfare Rights. In the chapter on How to Appeal follow the steps under Second Step: the Appeal Tribunal Hearing.

Where to get help[edit]

See the Resource List in this guide for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:

Before you meet with a lawyer or advocate, complete the form Preparing for Your Interview included in this guide. Make sure to take copies of all the documents about your case.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Alison Ward, January 2016.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence Legal Help for British Columbians © Cliff Thorstenson and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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