British Columbia’s first social welfare assistance program was launched in 1920, just over a century ago. BC’s current income assistance program has come a long way since then but still provides basic assistance to BC residents who are unable to work or who cannot find steady employment.
BC Income assistance payment dates are typically during the third or fourth week of the month, on a Wednesday.
Below, I’ll give you a full breakdown of income assistance payment dates in BC, give you an overview of eligibility requirements, and a step-by-step guide on how to apply for welfare in BC.
Payment dates are typically issued on the third or fourth Wednesday of each month. Here are the remaining BC income assistance payment dates for 2022:
- Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022
- Wednesday, December 21st, 2022
Don’t ask me why the BC government chooses the third week of the month or why payments are always sent on a Wednesday. I guess that’s just the payment schedule that fits the government’s needs the best.
Other provinces (like Ontario, for instance) issue benefits on the last business day of the month, which makes more sense to me.
While every Canadian province has its own perspective social welfare program, each province differs slightly. Payment dates and payment amounts vary from one region to another, depending on factors such as:
- How long has the applicant been unemployed
- Pre-existing medical conditions that may prevent the applicant from finding employment
- The number of family members living with the applicant
- The applicant’s current monthly living expenses
The program isn’t designed to completely replace an individual’s income. Rather, it’s designed to provide support while the recipient continues to search for a job.
If you’re approved for income assistance in BC, you can expect to receive monthly payments.
At the time of writing, BC has not yet released a payment schedule for 2023. However, assuming that the government follows the same pattern that it’s been following for the past few years, you can expect the following payment dates:
- Wednesday, January 18th, 2023
- Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
- Wednesday, March 15th, 2023
- Wednesday, April 26th, 2023
- Wednesday, May 24th, 2023
- Wednesday, June 21st, 2023
- Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
- Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023
- Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
- Wednesday, October 25th, 2023
- Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023
- Wednesday, December 20th, 2023
I will be sure to update this list if the government of BC makes any changes to its scheduled payment dates moving into 2023.
Although BC has one of the highest minimum wages in Canada, around one-in-five children still grow up in poverty. This indicates that a significant portion of the population still isn’t financially secure.
If you’ve never applied for income assistance before or if you’re a new resident of BC, then you may be wondering how BC income assistance works. For the most part, BC’s social welfare program is straightforward.
If you’re eligible to receive assistance, you’ll receive a set monthly amount, depending on your circumstances. If you are unemployed for a sustained period of time, then the amount will likely stay the same.
However, if you do find part-time or full-time employment while you’re still a recipient of income assistance, then your payment amount may be reduced.
In addition to basic income assistance, BC’s welfare program also includes healthcare and prescription drug coverage to ensure that recipients don’t have to worry about medical care and costs.
Work BC: Helping Recipients Find Employment
If you’re enrolled in BC’s income assistance program, you’ll automatically be enrolled in WorkBC. WorkBC is the province’s initiative to help income assistance recipients find employment. WorkBC also provides other job-related services, such as:
- Job training
- Assistance applying for jobs
- Job counselling
The aim of WorkBC is to help welfare recipients come off of welfare and help them start living a more productive life.
If you are approved for a monthly income assistance cheque, you’ll have to check in periodically with your caseworker and show proof that you’ve been searching for employment and participating in WorkBC initiatives.
BC income assistance payments aren’t issued on a whim. Both first-time and returning applicants must show that they do, in fact, need the money.
As part of the application process, you’ll have to prove that you are experiencing serious financial hardship, cannot keep up with your bills, afford food, transportation, and other necessities.
Additionally, you’ll also need to prove that you’ve been actively searching for employment for at least three weeks prior to applying for income assistance.
If you haven’t kept a detailed record of the jobs you’ve applied for, then you’ll have to start over again using forms provided to you by the income assistance department.
Some of these requirements are waived under the following conditions:
- You’re a senior age 65 or older
- You’re fleeing an abusive relationship
- You have a disability that prevents you from working
These decisions are weighed on a case-by-case basis, though, so you’ll still need to speak with a caseworker.
Now that you know a little bit more about income assistance dates in BC and eligibility requirements, I’ll take a few minutes to go over some of the benefits you could receive as a BC welfare recipient. These include:
- Basic financial support
- Supplemental support
- Health support (medical and prescription)
I’ll go over each of these in further detail below so you have a better idea of what to expect.
Basic financial support is the most common form of BC income assistance. It’s broken into two parts; shelter assistance and support.
The shelter assistance portion of your payment is designed to help you cover housing and shelter-related expenses, such as:
- Mortgage payments
- Utility payments
- Property taxes
The second portion of the basic financial support payment is designed to help you cover necessities, such as food, fuel, transportation, and other expenses. The government doesn’t necessarily check on how you’re spending the money, but it’s assumed that you’re using the funds for the right things.
The amount of basic financial support you can receive from BC’s welfare program depends mostly on your family size and your current financial liabilities.
For example, a single individual living in a tiny room with cheap rent will usually receive a lower support amount than a mother of two young children who has to pay for a two-bedroom apartment.
In addition to the basic support amount, BC’s income assistance program also includes certain supplemental payments designed to provide greater assistance to individuals in specific situations.
The program currently has over 30 additional supplements that your caseworker may help you qualify for. Some of the most common supplements are:
- Bus pass payment
- Christmas/holiday payment
- Funeral cost payment
- Guide dog payment
- Moving cost payment
- Home/utility security deposit payment
These supplemental payments are typically issued as part of your monthly BC income assistance payment or maybe a one-time payment (such as the Christmas payment, which is designed to give recipients extra money to cover the cost of holiday gifts for their families).
One of the most useful supplements is the moving cost supplement and the security deposit supplement.
If you’re eligible, these payments can help you cover the cost of moving into a new residence and paying your security deposit on the residence as well as to utility providers.
Last but not least, income assistance in BC includes health benefits. This ensures that welfare recipients are able to maintain their health, pay for vital prescription drugs, and receive treatment for various conditions.
Some of the most common health benefits included in BC’s income assistance program are:
- Alcohol and substance abuse treatment
- Dental care
- Nutrition and dietary consultation
- Hearing aid coverage
- Medical transportation to and from doctor’s appointments
- Pregnancy care
- Optical care
- … and more
Compared to the health benefits offered by other provincial welfare programs, British Columbia’s is quite extensive.
As I mentioned, the amount of income assistance that you’ll receive from BC’s welfare program varies considerably, depending on the applicant’s current living and financial situation.
However, here are some basic numbers that you can review to get a general idea of how much income assistance you can expect to receive:
|Number of family members||Support rate for employable applicants under age 65||Support rate for applicants who meet PPMB criteria (see below)*||Support rate for applicants over age 65 (senior citizens)||Shelter allowance|
- *PPMB Criteria: PPMB stands for Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers, and is used to denote welfare applicants who have multiple barriers to finding employment and are not expected to overcome these issues in the short term.
Often individuals who meet PPMB criteria suffer from chronic pain, persistent mental health conditions, or other diseases that prevent them from finding steady employment.
As you can see, the assistance offered by the government of British Columbia isn’t designed to supplement a standard salary. However, the amount issued can certainly help applicants who are in need.
As a single employable applicant, for instance, you can receive a maximum of $935 per month.
Income assistance is not issued automatically. If you think that you may be eligible to receive income assistance in BC, you’ll need to apply for it to be considered. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow if you want to apply for welfare in British Columbia.
The first thing you’ll need to do is contact the income assistance office. From here, you’ll be able to set up an initial call and schedule an appointment with a caseworker who will determine your eligibility and guide you through the process.
You can contact the income assistance office using one of the following methods:
- Phone: 1-866-866-0800
- In-Person: Visit a local office
- Online: Create a My Self Serve (MySS) account and begin the application online
After you complete your initial request for consideration, you should be contacted by an agent. From here, you may be asked to come to meet with a caseworker in person or may be asked to submit verification documents via email or through your MySS online account.
During this phase, you’ll be asked to verify your identity by providing information such as:
- Your birth date
- Your driver’s license or identification
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Additionally, you’ll also be required to show proof of financial hardship. This varies on a case-to-case basis, but some of the most common documents you may be asked to show include:
- Bank statements
- Your most recent pay stubs
- Copies of bills, invoices, or late payment notices
Your caseworker will go over these supporting documents and verify that you do, in fact, need the money. They may also go through your bank statements to verify that there aren’t any regular cash deposits from unreported income.
In British Columbia, you’ll need to prove that you’ve been actively searching for employment before being approved for income assistance.
If you’ve kept detailed records of your job applications, then you may be able to begin receiving income assistance immediately. However, most applicants must complete the Work Search Activities Form.
This form must be completed over the course of three weeks and shows proof that you’ve been applying for jobs.
Your caseworker may follow up with some of the managers or jobs you’ve applied for to verify that you completed the application, so make sure that you’re 100% honest here.
Once you’ve completed your Work Search Activities Form, you’ll meet with your caseworker one more time. If you still have not managed to find employment, then you should be eligible to start receiving monthly income assistance payments.
Your caseworker will ask you some general questions about your family size and monthly bills to determine your basic support and shelter allowance amounts.
Then, they’ll go through your medical profile to determine any health supplements you may be eligible for. Lastly, you’ll be able to overview additional supplements to see if you qualify for more funds.
Although the application process for income assistance in BC can be a bit lengthy, the funds are guaranteed and will be paid at the same time every month. Income assistance payments are always issued on the third or fourth Wednesday of each month, so you know exactly when to expect your money.
Are you still having trouble finding employment? If you have a computer and some basic technical skills, then you could earn upwards of $20 per hour (or more) as a virtual assistant working online for businesses.
Keep on reading to see my list of the best online jobs you can do from home in Canada next!