Difference between revisions of "Introduction to Welfare (21:I)"

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(Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre)
m (Removed Legislattion and Governing Resources, + update)
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Welfare  is  a  basic  form  of  income  support  provided  by  the  state  to  those  in  need.    In  BC,  the provincial  government  administers  welfare  via  the  Ministry  of  Social  Development  and  Social Innovation (the MSDSI). '''Welfare is a “payer of last resort”''', which means that in  order to receive welfare,  a  person  must  demonstrate  that  he  or  she  has  exhausted  all  other  forms  of  support.    This chapter  will  use  the  term “welfare”  to  describe  all  forms  of  income  support  provided  by  the  BC government under the province’s welfare legislation.   
 
Welfare  is  a  basic  form  of  income  support  provided  by  the  state  to  those  in  need.    In  BC,  the provincial  government  administers  welfare  via  the  Ministry  of  Social  Development  and  Social Innovation (the MSDSI). '''Welfare is a “payer of last resort”''', which means that in  order to receive welfare,  a  person  must  demonstrate  that  he  or  she  has  exhausted  all  other  forms  of  support.    This chapter  will  use  the  term “welfare”  to  describe  all  forms  of  income  support  provided  by  the  BC government under the province’s welfare legislation.   
  
== B. Referrals ==
+
== B. Welfare policy ==
  
See [[Referrals_(22) | Chapter 22: Referrals]] for additional referrals.
+
While the government’s policy on welfare is not law, it is an important lens for understanding welfare law in BC.  MSDSI policy sets out the practical details of how welfare is to be administered.  MSDSI’s welfare    policies    are    contained    in    an “'''BC Employment and Assistance Policy andd Procedure Manual'''”,    which    is    available    at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual.  The  Policy and Procedure Manual incorporates  MSDSI  policy with the rules set out in the welfare legislation.   
 
 
=== Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = May advise students on general welfare matters and help clients with judicial reviews.
 
| address = 300 – 1140 West Pender Street <br /> Vancouver, BC V6E 4G1
 
| phone = (604) 685-3425 <br /> Fax: (604) 685-7611
 
| online = [http://www.clasbc.net Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
=== B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = May help students with appeals and judicial reviews.
 
| address = 208 – 1090 West Pender Street <br /> Vancouver, BC V6E 2N7
 
| phone = (604) 687-3063 <br /> Fax: (604) 682-7896
 
| online = [http://bcpiac.com Website] <br /> E-mail: bcpiac@bcpiac.com
 
}}
 
 
 
=== Disability Alliance of BC ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = <br />
 
*Offers one-on-one assistance to individuals applying for benefits or appealing the denial of benefits. Particularly experienced in appeals about eligibility for the Persons with Disabilities ("PWD") designation from MSDSI, which is needed to qualify for welfare disability assistance.
 
*Has created a library of useful help sheets about disability assistance from MSDSI, and guides to applications and appeals (www.disabilityalliancebc.org/money.htm).
 
| address = 204 – 456 West Broadway <br /> Vancouver, BC V5Y 1R3
 
| phone = Advocacy Access Program: (604) 872-1278 <br /> Fax:  (604) 875-9227 <br /> TTY: (604) 875-8835
 
| online = [http://www.disabilityalliancebc.org Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
=== First United Church ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = Serves the Downtown Eastside. Provides advocacy and assistance for welfare, housing, and other poverty law issues. Operates a drop-in clinic. Hours are posted on their website.
 
| address = 320 East Hastings Street <br /> Vancouver, BC V6A 1P4
 
| phone = (604) 681-8365 <br /> Fax: (604) 681-8928
 
| online = [http://firstunited.ca/advocacy Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
=== Kettle Friendship Society Advocacy Centre ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = Advocacy focused on welfare, debt, housing, and child protection problems for clients with mental health issues. Also has a weekly Pro Bono Legal Clinic (please call ahead if you wish to refer a client).
 
| address = 1725 Venables Street <br/> Vancouver, BC V5L 2H3   
 
| phone = (604) 251-2801 <br /> Housing Division Telephone: (604) 251-5664 <br /> Fax: (604) 251-6354
 
| online = [http://www.thekettle.ca Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
=== Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = Focuses on providing legal and non-legal support and advocacy for women with mental health issues.
 
| address = '''Drop-In Centre:''' <br /> 302 Columbia Street <br /> Vancouver, BC V6A 4J1 <br /> '''Emergency Shelter:''' <br /> 412 Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC
 
| phone = '''Drop-In Centre:''' (604) 681-8480 <br /> Fax: (604) 681-8470 <br /> '''Drop-In Centre:''' <br /> (604) 681-8480
 
| online = [http://www.dewc.ca Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
=== ATIRA Women’s Resource Society ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = Focuses on providing support for abused women. Their legal advocate program can provide advice, advocacy, and support with appealing welfare issues.
 
| address = 101 East Cordova Street, Vancouver
 
| phone = 604 331 1407 (105)
 
| online = [http://www.atira.bc.ca Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
=== AIDS Vancouver Community Resource Centre ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = Service staffed by volunteers. Can provide short-term financial assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS.
 
| phone = (604) 695-4691
 
| online = [http://www.aidsvancouver.org Website] <br /> Email: support@aidsvancouver.org
 
}}
 
 
 
=== Povnet: Find an Advocate ===
 
 
 
{{ResourcesLSLAP
 
| resource_description = Can be used to find other advocates and organizations that can help with welfare issues in all parts of BC.
 
| online = [http://www.povnet.org/find-an-advocate Website]
 
}}
 
 
 
== C. The Welfare Legislation ==
 
 
 
Welfare law in BC is governed by the following statutes and regulations, all of which are available at http://www.bclaws.ca: 
 
 
 
''Employment and Assistance Act'', SBC 2002, c 40 [EAA];
 
 
 
''Employment and Assistance Regulation'', BC Reg 263/2002 [EAR];
 
 
 
''Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act'', SBC 2002, c 40 [EAPWDA]; and
 
 
 
''Employment  and  Assistance  for  Persons  with  Disabilities  Regulation'',  BC  Reg  265/2002  [EAPWDR].
 
 
 
Forms  regulations  under  the  EAA  and  EAPWDA  create  many  of  the  forms  that  MSDSI  uses  in administering  welfare.  See  also  the  ''Child  in  the  Home  of  a  Relative  Transition  Regulation'',  BC  Reg 48/2010.
 
 
 
Please keep in mind the following important points when dealing with a welfare law issue. 
 
*'''Be current.''' The statutes and especially the regulations governing welfare in BC can change often. Therefore, it is very important that students check the BC Laws website and confirm that one is dealing with the most current legislation. Occasionally, legislation on the MSDSI’s website is  updated  faster  than  BC  Laws.            Legislation  is  found  on  the  MSDSI’s  site  at: http://www.eia.gov.bc.ca/ministry/leg.htm 
 
*'''Be comprehensive.'''  Be sure to read the relevant section of the appropriate act or regulation in its entirety and to scan the legislation for other relevant sections.  The legislation is complex and often a number of provisions work together to govern a particular program or benefit. 
 
*'''Be  alert  to  mandatory  versus  discretionary  wording.'''  Welfare  legislation  contains  a  mix  of mandatory  provisions  (requiring  the  government  to  do  or  provide  something)  and  discretionary provisions  (which  permit,  but  do  not  require,  the  government  to  act  in  a  particular  way).  Consider  whether  the  legislative  provisions  relevant  to  the  client’s  case  are  mandatory  or discretionary. 
 
 
 
== D. Welfare policy ==
 
 
 
While the government’s policy on welfare is not law, it is an important lens for understanding welfare law in BC.  MSDSI policy sets out the practical details of how welfare is to be administered.  MSDSI’s welfare    policies    are    contained    in    an “Online    Resource”,    which    is    available    at http://www.gov.bc.ca/meia/online_resource/or_index/.  The  Online  Resource  incorporates  MSDSI  policy with the rules set out in the welfare legislation.   
 
  
 
It is an extremely useful tool for researching welfare law and policy.  
 
It is an extremely useful tool for researching welfare law and policy.  
  
== E. Types of Welfare ==
+
== C. Types of Welfare ==
  
 
Under  the  current  welfare  legislation  in  BC,  the  following  types  of  welfare  benefits  are  available  to those who qualify:   
 
Under  the  current  welfare  legislation  in  BC,  the  following  types  of  welfare  benefits  are  available  to those who qualify:   
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:{| class="wikitable"
 
:{| class="wikitable"
 
|-
 
|-
| On disability assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives '''$906.42 per month''' to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities.
+
| On disability assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives '''$906.42 per month''' to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities. On September 1, 2016, this will increase to $931.42 per month (or $52 per month more if the person chooses not to have a bus pass)
 
|}
 
|}
  
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| On  PPMB  hardship  assistance,  a  single  person under  age  65 currently  receives '''$657.92  per month'''  to  cover  housing,  utilities,  food,  transportation,  clothing,  and  all  other  basic necessities.
 
| On  PPMB  hardship  assistance,  a  single  person under  age  65 currently  receives '''$657.92  per month'''  to  cover  housing,  utilities,  food,  transportation,  clothing,  and  all  other  basic necessities.
 
|-
 
|-
| On disability hardship assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives '''$906.42 per month'''  to  cover  housing,  utilities,  food,  transportation,  clothing,  and  all  other  basic necessities.
+
| On disability hardship assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives '''$906.42 per month'''  to  cover  housing,  utilities,  food,  transportation,  clothing,  and  all  other  basic necessities. On September 1, 2016, this will increase to $931.42 per month (or $52 per month more if the person chooses not to have a bus pass)
 
|}
 
|}
  
*'''HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS.''' Recipients of income assistance, PPMB, and disability assistance may qualify for various health supplements from the MSDSI.  See Part 5, division 5 of the EAR, and the EAPWDR.  The MSDSI has a useful table summarizing health supplements that may be available, at http://www.sdsi.gov.bc.ca/forms/rfs/health_supplements_eligibility.pdf
+
*'''HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS.''' Recipients of income assistance, PPMB, and disability assistance may qualify for various health supplements from the MSDSI.  See Part 5, division 5 of the EAR, and the EAPWDR.  The MSDSI has a useful table summarizing health supplements that may be available, at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/bc-employment
 
 
*'''SUPPLEMENTS''' These  are  other  forms  of  assistance  that  may  be  provided  on  a  case-by-case basis  for  specific  purposes  set  out  under  the  EAA  and EAPWDA  and  their  associated regulations.    See  especially  Part  5  of  the  EAR,  Part  5 of  the  EAPWDR,  and  [http://www.mhr.gov.bc.ca/mhr/gs.htm MSDSI  website].
 
 
 
== F. Useful Publications by Outside Agencies ==
 
  
In addition to this LSLAP manual chapter, students may wish to refer to the following publications: 
+
*'''SUPPLEMENTS''' These are other  forms  of  assistance  that  may  be  provided  on  a  case-by-case basis  for  specific  purposes  set  out  under  the  EAA and EAPWDA  and their  associated regulations.   See  especially  Part  5  of  the  EAR, Part  5 of  the EAPWDR,  and  [http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/income-assistance/on-assistance/supplements MSDSI  website].
*BC Disability Benefits Help Sheets. These 15 guides are published by Disability Alliance BC. They are available at http://www.disabilityalliancebc.org and cover many areas relating to applying for benefits and appealing decisions.  
 
*Your Welfare Rights, a plain language guide published by the Legal Services Society for welfare clients and advocates. It is available at http://www.lss.bc.ca and gives an excellent overview of welfare issues.
 

Revision as of 09:54, 2 August 2016



This chapter gives a general overview of a very complex area of law governed by lengthy and detailed legislation. It is not designed to be used on its own. Users of this chapter should be sure in each case to refer to the applicable welfare legislation.

A. What is welfare?

Welfare is a basic form of income support provided by the state to those in need. In BC, the provincial government administers welfare via the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (the MSDSI). Welfare is a “payer of last resort”, which means that in order to receive welfare, a person must demonstrate that he or she has exhausted all other forms of support. This chapter will use the term “welfare” to describe all forms of income support provided by the BC government under the province’s welfare legislation.

B. Welfare policy

While the government’s policy on welfare is not law, it is an important lens for understanding welfare law in BC. MSDSI policy sets out the practical details of how welfare is to be administered. MSDSI’s welfare policies are contained in an “BC Employment and Assistance Policy andd Procedure Manual”, which is available at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual. The Policy and Procedure Manual incorporates MSDSI policy with the rules set out in the welfare legislation.

It is an extremely useful tool for researching welfare law and policy.

C. Types of Welfare

Under the current welfare legislation in BC, the following types of welfare benefits are available to those who qualify:

  • INCOME ASSISTANCE. This is a basic monthly support and shelter allowance provided under the Employment and Assistance Act [EAA]. This is the benefit most people get when they receive welfare.
On income assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives $610.00 per month to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities.
  • DISABILITY ASSISTANCE. This is a slightly higher, but still modest, monthly support and shelter allowance provided under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act [EAPWDA] to those who meet the definition of “person with disabilities” in s 2 of that Act.
On disability assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives $906.42 per month to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities. On September 1, 2016, this will increase to $931.42 per month (or $52 per month more if the person chooses not to have a bus pass)
  • PPMB ASSISTANCE. This is a special form of income assistance for people who have “persistent multiple barriers” to employment according to the criteria set out in s 2 of the Employment and Assistance Regulation [EAR]. It is for people who have a medical condition that makes it difficult or impossible to look for work or to keep a job. Technically, it falls within the definition of “income assistance” but this chapter will refer to it as a distinct form of welfare benefits.
On PPMB assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives $657.92 per month to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities.
  • HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE. This is a support and shelter allowance provided under s 5 of the EAA and s 6 of the EAPWDA to persons who are not otherwise eligible for income assistance, PPMB, or disability assistance (see also part 4 of the EAR and part 4 of the EAPWDR). Some (but not all) categories of hardship assistance are repayable, i.e. a person receiving hardship assistance may accrue a debt owing to the government. It is usually temporary assistance. People with the PPMB or PWD designation may also receive hardship assistance, if they are not otherwise eligible for PPMB or PWD benefits. Therefore, there are different rates of hardship assistance.
On regular hardship assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives a maximum of $610.00 per month to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities.
On PPMB hardship assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives $657.92 per month to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities.
On disability hardship assistance, a single person under age 65 currently receives $906.42 per month to cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, and all other basic necessities. On September 1, 2016, this will increase to $931.42 per month (or $52 per month more if the person chooses not to have a bus pass)
  • SUPPLEMENTS These are other forms of assistance that may be provided on a case-by-case basis for specific purposes set out under the EAA and EAPWDA and their associated regulations. See especially Part 5 of the EAR, Part 5 of the EAPWDR, and MSDSI website.
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