Introduction to Welfare (21:I)

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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. Referrals

See Chapter 22: Referrals for additional referrals.

add contacts info from p. 21-1 - 2 here

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 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. E.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.

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