Welfare Rates and Payment Issues (21:VIII)

From Clicklaw Wikibooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 1st, 2023.

A. Income Assistance, PPMB Assistance, and Disability Assistance Rates

People who are eligible for income assistance, PPMB assistance, or disability assistance are entitled to the assistance amounts determined in Schedule A of the EAR or EAPWDR, minus any non-exempt income.

All rates are monthly and set out in Schedule A of the EAR and EAPWDR. The Ministry divides the rates into a portion for shelter, and a separate portion for support (which the Ministry intends to cover all living expenses other than shelter, including food, clothing, etc.). The shelter portion listed is a maximum. The Ministry will only pay the lesser of a person’s actual shelter costs or the maximum listed shelter allowance. Below are examples of monthly rates for different family configurations:

  • For a single person under age 65 on income assistance: $560.00 for support plus up to $500.00 for shelter, for a total of $1060.00 per month.
  • For a single person under 65 on PPMB assistance: $610.00 for support plus up to $500.00 for shelter, for a total of 1110.00 per month.
  • For a four-person family (two parents, both under age 65, and two children) on income assistance: $1055.00 for support plus $840.00 for shelter, for a total of $1895.00 per month.
  • For a single person under 65 on disability assistance: $983.50 for support and $500 for shelter, for a total of $1458.50 per month.

Helpful rate tables are online at the following link: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/bc-employment-and-assistance-rate-tables. These show the shelter support and shelter rates for all forms of assistance under the EAA and EAPWDA

B. Persons with Disabilities Transportation Supplement

People with the PWD designation who receive disability assistance are also eligible for a transportation supplement of $52 per month. This and can be used for an annual bus pass or for other transportation needs. It can be received as cash or as an in-kind bus pass, and individuals can apply for or cancel their bus pass at any time during the year. See section 54.2 of the EAPDWR.

People who stop receiving disability assistance benefits for certain reasons may be able to keep this transportation supplement for a period of time. See the Ministry’s policy about the “transitional transportation support” at the following link: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/general-supplements-and-programs/transportation-supplement?keyword=transporation&keyword=supplement

C. Canada Child Benefit

In addition to the support allowance, families may also receive the Canada Child Benefit for children under 18, which includes the old Universal Child Care Benefit for children under 6, the former Canada Child Tax Benefit, and what the government called (until 2016) the national child benefit supplement. If a family’s Canada Child Benefit for a given month is less than what sections 1 of the EAR and EAPDR define as the “BC child adjustment amount” (see table below) for each child aged two months to 18 years, (e.g. because a child is ineligible, or a check is delayed), then the Ministry may issue a top up to that amount, as per the chart below. See also EAR Schedule A, section 2(2).

Note that the amount of the maximum BC child adjustment amount is adjusted every year on July 1, by the percentage increase, if any, of the consumer price index for the 12-month period ending September 30 of the previous year. The amounts shown below are for July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. See https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/bc-employment-and-assistance-rate-tables/general-supplements-and-programs-rate-table.

Number of Children Maximum BC child adjustment amount)
One $213.25 per month
Two $401.92 per month
Each additional child beyond two An additional $179.42 per additional child, per month

D. Calculating the Shelter Allowance

Recipients of income assistance, PPMB assistance, and disability assistance are eligible for a monthly shelter allowance equivalent to their actual shelter costs, up to the maximum set out in the Regulations for their household size:

Family Unit Size Minimum Shelter Allowance Maximum Shelter Allowance
1 person $75 $500
2 person $150 $695
3 person $200 $790
4 person $225 $840
5 person $250 $890
6 person $275 $940
7 person $300 $990
8 person $325 $1040

Recipients are eligible for the full monthly shelter amount only if they are paying at least that much in shelter costs. Schedule A, s 5 of the EAR and EAPWDR set out what expenses and items can be included when calculating shelter costs. They are: rent, mortgage payments, house insurance premiums, property taxes for the recipient’s own home, utility costs, and the actual cost of maintenance and repairs for the recipient’s own home if these costs have been approved.

Note that the definition of “utility costs” in Schedule A, s 5(1) of the EAR and EAPWDR is quite broad. The ministry’s policy on determining someone’s “actual shelter costs” was broadened as of May 1, 2022. The policy formally recognizes that a “place of residence” for which MSDPR can pay “actual shelter costs” can include, for example, living in a tent, boat, car or recreational vehicle. Examples of actual shelter costs listed in the policy include camp site or dock fees; hook up fees such as water or septic; wood and/or fuel (gas, disel, propane) for cooking and heating.

Where someone does not have any shelter expenses that are recognized as such in the welfare legislation, they are still entitled to receive the minimum amount for shelter allowance set out in the table above.

Where two or more family units share the same place of residence, the Ministry calculates family units’ shelter costs according to s 5(4) of Schedule A of the EAR and EAPWDR.

E. Rates for People Receiving Room and Board

Schedule A, s 6 of the EAR and EAPWDR set out the method for calculating the income assistance and disability assistance rates for a family unit receiving room and board.

Until July 1, 2019, recipients who received room and board from a parent or adult child, were only entitled to a support allowance for a family unit of their size. As of July 1, 2019, they are entitled to payments up to the maximum support and shelter allowances for a family unit of their size, calculated in the same manner as anyone else in a room and board situation.

People with the PWD designation who receive room and board are also eligible for the Persons with Disabilities Transportation Supplement described in section B above.

F. Rates for People Living in Emergency Shelters and Transition Houses

Schedule A, s 9 of EAR and EAPWDR provide for the level of assistance for a family unit that is receiving accommodation and care in an emergency shelter or transition house.

G. Rates for People in a Special Care Facility

Section 1 of each regulation defines “Special care facility” as “a facility that is a licensed community care facility under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act or a specialized adult residential care setting approved by the minister under subsection (3).” Schedule A, s 8 of EAR and the EAPWDR sets out what the Ministry will cover for shelter and support for a person residing at such a facility.

H. Children in the Home of a Relative (CIHR) - repealed

Until 31 March 2010 the EAA provided that if a child was supported in the home of a relative other than the child’s parent and no parent of the child was able to pay the total cost of the child’s care, the Ministry would pay income assistance according to the child’s age:

Age Group Monthly Rate
Birth – 5 years $257.46
6 – 9 years $271.59
10 – 11 years $314.31
12 – 13 years $357.82
14 – 17 years $402.70
18 years $454.32
(less any financial contribution by parents)

The BC government repealed the CIHR provisions on 1 April 2010 (BC Reg 48/2010). However, these provisions still apply to families that include children who were approved under the old provision prior to 31 March 2010, or who filed their applications prior to 31 March 2010 and were subsequently approved under the old provision (see the Child in the Home of a Relative Transition Regulation). The following repealed sections contained key provisions dealing with Children in the Home of a Relative: EAR s 6; s 11(1)(b)(iv); s 27; s 29; s 33; s 34; s 34.1; 49; 50; 60; 61; 67; 67.1; 68; 71; 73; 74.01; 75; and Schedule A, s 11.

I. Method of Payment of Assistance

The Ministry’s standard method of payment is by direct deposit by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) into the recipient’s bank account. Applicants can generally get an exemption where EFT payment is not appropriate for them. Such recipients typically receive their benefit cheque by picking it up from the Ministry office, or by mail. The Ministry also commonly pays recipients’ shelter allowances directly to their landlords. This is optional.

J. Lost or Stolen Cheques

Section 92 of the EAR and s 77 of the EAPWDR authorize the issuance of a replacement of an unendorsed assistance cheque if:

  1. In the case of theft, the victim reported the matter to police; and
  2. In the case of loss or theft, the recipient
a) Makes a declaration of the facts; and
b) Undertakes to promptly deliver the lost or stolen cheque to the Ministry if it is recovered.

© Copyright 2023, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.