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

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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 [http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca/index.php/I_need_to_apply_for_disability_benefits the PWD designation] or for designation as a Person with Persistent Multiple Barriers to Employment ("PPMB").
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| text      = '''Update:''' A number of changes to income assistance came into effect on October 1, 2012. The Ministry of Social Development website provides a [http://www.sd.gov.bc.ca/clientinfo/2012-10-update.htm summary of the changes]. This page is in the process of being updated to account for the changes. <br>
 
  
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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 (MSD). However, people living on an Indian reserve get welfare through the Indian band or tribal council in the area they live. The process below is roughly the same on and off reserve.
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| tips = Most people get welfare through the provincial government Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. People who live on an Indian reserve get welfare through the First Nations band or tribal council. The process is roughly the same on and off reserve.  
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If you live on 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.
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If you have had a welfare benefit or supplement denied, cut off or reduced, you can ask for a reconsideration of that decision. You can also ask for a reconsideration if you have been denied  a designation as a person entitled to [[I need to apply for disability benefits|disability benefits]]. If you are not satisfied with the result of the reconsideration, you may be able to appeal the reconsideration decision to an appeal tribunal.
 
  
 
== First steps ==
 
== First steps ==
# 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.
 
# Ask a Ministry worker to prepare and provide you with a '''Request for Reconsideration''' form. Make sure that any evidence the Ministry used to make their decision is attached to the form.
 
# Complete the Request for Reconsideration form and return it to the welfare office '''within 20 business days'''. In completing the form, focus on how the Ministry applied the welfare rules incorrectly.
 
  
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'''Before you get started:'''
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| tips = It is very important to make your best case when you are requesting a reconsideration. Supply as much information as you can, and attach copies of any documents or other evidence that supports your side of the story. If you have to appeal a decision after reconsideration, '''you may be limited to the information you used''' in your original Request for Reconsideration. It can be a good idea to get help from a welfare advocate. See the listing for [[PovNet]] in the Resource List of this Guide for contact and website information for welfare advocates in your area.}}
 
  
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:* Be sure to read the "Reconsideration and Appeal" topic at page 47 of [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1082 ''How to Apply for Welfare'']. It tells you what steps to take and what to expect.
  
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:* 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.)
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#If you need more time to gather documents or other evidence to support your reconsideration request then, you may be able to get it.  You must still give the Ministry your completed Request for Reconsideration form within 20 business days of the Ministry's decision.  When you do that,  you can ask the Ministry in writing for more time to provide other supporting information.  The Ministry can give you an extension of as long as another 19 business days to do that.
 
  
# If you are requesting reconsideration of a decision to cut off or reduce your welfare benefits or a supplement, you can ask the Ministry to give you a "reconsideration supplement" while the Ministry is reviewing your Request for Reconsideration.  A reconsideration supplement means the Ministry would pay you welfare benefits or a supplement at the rate you used to get, until the Ministry has had time to make its Reconsideration Decision.  If you lose your Request for Reconsideration, you will have to pay the reconsideration supplement back to the Ministry.
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'''To start the process:'''
  
== What happens next ==
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Follow the steps in the Reconsideration and Appeal topic at page 47 of [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1082 ''How to Apply for Welfare''].
You should receive a response to your reconsideration within a couple of weeks. If you don’t, contact the Ministry and ask a worker to explain why there is a delayIf you are not satisfied with their explanation, ask to speak to a supervisor.
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In summary, here is how you begin:
  
The reconsideration decision will say whether or not your benefit or supplement has been granted or refused. It should also specify the law or policy on which the reconsideration decision was based, and indicate whether you may appeal the decision to an '''Appeal Tribunal'''.
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# 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.
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# You ask a Ministry worker to prepare and provide you with a Request for Reconsideration form.
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# Follow the tips and information for reconsideration in [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1082 ''How to Apply for Welfare'']. 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. If you need more time to give the Ministry more documents or argument, see the information about how to ask for more time at page 47 in [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1082 ''How to Apply for Welfare''].
  
If you don’t agree with the reconsideration decision:
 
# Decide whether to appeal or simply re-apply for the benefit or supplement. In some cases, it may be easier and quicker to re-apply for the benefit with more evidence than you gave the first time. Welfare advocates can help you make this decision. (See [[PovNet]] for contact and website information for welfare advocates in your area.)
 
# If you decide to appeal, get a copy of a '''Notice of Appeal to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal''' from the welfare office.
 
# Complete the Notice of Appeal and return it to the welfare office '''within seven business days''' after you received the reconsideration decision.
 
# If you are appealing a decision to cut off or reduce your welfare benefits or a supplement, you can ask the Ministry for an "appeal supplement" until the Tribunal makes its decision about your case.  If you lose the appeal, you will have to repay the appeal supplement to the Ministry.
 
  
 
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| tips = 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.
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| tips = 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 [http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca/index.php/PovNet PovNet] in the Resource List of this guide to contact a welfare advocate in your area.
 
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'''What happens next'''
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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.
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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 the [http://www.eaat.ca/home "Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal"]. 
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If you don’t agree with the reconsideration decision and want to appeal it, you must file a [http://www.eaat.ca/appeal-parties/how-to-appeal Notice of Appeal] with the [http://www.eaat.ca/home "Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal"] within 7 business days of the date you received the reconsideration decision.  Get an advocate to help you with your appeal. See the listing for [http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca/index.php/PovNet PovNet] in the Resource List of this guide to contact a welfare advocate in your area.
  
 
== Where to get help ==
 
== Where to get help ==
See the [[Resource List]] in this Guide for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:
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See the [[Resource List for Legal Help for British Columbians|Resource List]] in this guide for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:
* The Legal Services Society publications: "[http://bit.ly/weyH8C Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance]" and "[http://bit.ly/xl1EjK Social Assistance on Reserve in British Columbia]".
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* [[BC Employment and Assistance]] website: click on "Reconsideration and Appeals".
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:*The Legal Services Society publications [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1082 ''How to Apply for Welfare''] and [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1964 ''Income Assistance on Reserve in British Columbia''].
* [[PovNet]], for their "[http://bit.ly/whbAG9 Find an Advocate]" feature for welfare advocates near you.
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:*[[BC Employment and Assistance]] website. At the website, go to the information on [http://www.mhr.gov.bc.ca/publicat/bcea/appeal.htm Reconsideration and Appeals]
* [[Access Pro Bono]], [[Lawyer Referral Service]], [[Salvation Army Pro Bono Lawyer Consultation Program]], and [[Private Bar Lawyers]].
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:*[[PovNet]], for their [http://www.povnet.org/find-an-advocate Find An Advocate] feature for welfare advocates near you.
* The Clicklaw common question "[http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/question/commonquestion/1021 If I don’t get welfare this month I’ll lose my housing]". Clicklaw has many common questions on the topic "Pensions, benefits & welfare".
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:*[[Access Pro Bono]], [[Lawyer Referral Service]], and [[Private Bar Lawyers|private bar lawyers]].
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:*The Clicklaw common questions [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/question/commonquestion/1021 If I don’t get welfare this month I’ll lose my housing] and [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/question/commonquestion/1106 I have an outstanding arrest warrant and I need welfare. What can I do?]. Clicklaw has many common questions on the topic pensions, benefits & welfare.
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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.
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Before meeting with a lawyer or advocate, complete the form [[Preparing for Your Interview]] included in this Guide. Make sure you bring copies of all documents relating to your case.
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{{REVIEWED | reviewer = [[Alison Ward]], March 2018}}
  
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Latest revision as of 13:47, 7 March 2018

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 the PWD designation or for designation as a Person with Persistent Multiple Barriers to Employment ("PPMB").

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.


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

If you live on 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:

  • Be sure to read the "Reconsideration and Appeal" topic at page 47 of How to Apply for Welfare. It tells you what steps to take and what to expect.
  • 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 the Reconsideration and Appeal topic at page 47 of How to Apply for Welfare.

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 reconsideration in How to Apply for Welfare. 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. If you need more time to give the Ministry more documents or argument, see the information about how to ask for more time at page 47 in How to Apply for Welfare.


Tipsandnotes.png
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 the "Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal".

If you don’t agree with the reconsideration decision and want to appeal it, you must file a Notice of Appeal with the "Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal" within 7 business days of the date you received the reconsideration decision. Get an advocate to help you with your appeal. See the listing for PovNet in the Resource List of this guide to contact a welfare advocate in your area.

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, March 2018.


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.

An application to a higher court for a review of the correctness of a decision of a lower court. A decision of a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia can be appealed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. A decision of a judge of the Supreme Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. See "appellant" and "respondent."

In law, (1) a judge's conclusions after hearing argument and considering the evidence presented at a trial or an application, (2) a judgment, or (3) the judge's reasons. A judge's written or oral decision will include the judge's conclusions about the relief or remedies claimed as well as their findings of fact and conclusions of law. A written decision is called the judge’s "reasons for judgment." See "common law," "conclusions of law" and "findings of fact."

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A term under the Family Law Act that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by an agreement among the child's guardians with parental responsibility for making decisions about contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities."

A method of calculating time under which the days for a legal deadline are counted according to the days when the court is open for business, excluding weekends and holidays. See "calendar days" and "clear days."

Facts, or proof tending to support the existence of facts, presented to a judge at a hearing or trial. Evidence can be given through the oral testimony of witnesses, in writing as business records and other documents, or in the form of physical objects. Evidence must be admissible according to the rules of court and the rules of evidence. See "circumstantial evidence," "hearsay" and "testimony."

In law, an attempt to persuade by logical reasoning. Usually refers to oral or written argument presented to a judge or arbitrator following the presentation of evidence, or to a written summary of argument.

A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction by that jurisdiction's law society. See "barrister and solicitor."

(1) In law, a court proceeding; a lawsuit; an action; a cause of action; a claim. (2) A historic decision of the court; case law. See "action," "case law, " "court proceeding," and "precedent."

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