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BC Income Assistance Payment Dates and Amounts

Written by Jessica Steer
The BC Income Assistance program is meant to provide income support to help people meet their basic needs while they're transitioning to employment or unable to work.
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    Because of this, the monthly income assistance rate is different for everyone. In BC, you can qualify for income assistance in any of the following situations:
    • Not working
    • Unable to earn enough income in order to meet your basic needs
    • Unable to work at all
    • In urgent need of food, medical attention or shelter
    In order to qualify for income assistance programs, you must exhaust all other sources of income first and meet all of the required eligibility criteria.

    How to Apply

    If you're looking to apply for income assistance in BC, there are a few different ways to do so. The simplest way is to apply for BC income assistance online. You can do this by using My Self Serve. Not only can you use this to apply, but it can also be used to assess your eligibility. If that doesn't work, you can always call Service BC directly or visit your local Service BC office. When you apply, you need to provide:
    • ID for you and your immediate family
    • Your SIN number
    • Your monthly payments for rent and utilities
    • Your bank account balance
    • The amount you owe on your vehicle if you have a vehicle loan
    They also like to know if:
    • You have any outstanding warrants
    • You were sponsored into Canada by a family member
    • You're getting EI or WCB payments (or waiting for them)

    Rules for Social Assistance

    The idea behind social assistance is to help you meet your basic needs while you're transitioning to work. A good majority of people who apply need to actively search for work and have 3 weeks to do so whether or not they have been on social assistance before. That said, there are some situations where you don't have to search for work. These circumstances are referred to as persistent multiple barriers and can include the following:
    • If you're getting away from an abusive spouse or relative
    • If you're a single parent and have dependants under the age of 3
    • If you're 65 or older
    • If you're unable to legally work in Canada
    • If you or an immediate relative has a disability (PWD)
    • If you have physical or mental conditions that prevent you from looking for work

    Social Assistance Payment Dates 2023

    Once you're approved for social assistance, you'll start receiving payments. These payments can be received by cheque or direct deposit. If they're direct deposits, they will go into your bank account monthly.
    Welfare Benefit Month Welfare Benefits Payment Dates
    February January 18, 2023
    March February 15, 2023
    April March 22, 2023
    May April 19, 2023
    June May 17, 2023
    July June 21, 2023
    August July 19, 2023
    September August 23, 2023
    October September 20, 2023
    November October 25, 2023
    December November 22, 2023
    January December 20, 2023
    If you aren't signed up for a direct deposit, then you can receive BC income assistance benefits via cheque. These dates are slightly different than the direct deposit dates. Welfare cheques are usually received on the third or fourth Wednesday of each month. Here are the BC income assistance cheque dates for 2023.
    Welfare Benefit Month Welfare Benefits Payment Date
    February January 16, 2023
    March February 13, 2023
    April March 20, 2023
    May April 17, 2023
    June May 15, 2023
    July June 19, 2023
    August July 17, 2023
    September August 21, 2023
    October September 18, 2023
    November October 23, 2023
    December November 20, 2023
    January December 18, 2023
    Even though these cheques are given two days before direct deposits, they're post-dated for the same date. So, no matter which payment method you're registered for, you'll receive the money on the same day. If you're registered for direct deposit, you don't have to go to the bank or have a hold time on your first cheque.

    BC Income Assistance Payments and Amounts

    If you qualify for income assistance payments in BC, the monthly benefit amount you receive will vary depending on your number of dependant children and whether you're single or a couple that qualifies. That said, the maximum amount you can receive as a single person with no dependents is $925 per month. As a couple with no dependents, you can receive a maximum of $1,525 per month. As a single parent with one child, you can receive a maximum of $1,280 per month. Included in your monthly welfare payments are a support allowance and shelter allowance. This is why the amount varies depending on your circumstances. Eligible BC residents can also receive financial aid amounts for things like:
    • Bus passes
    • Camp fees
    • Security deposits
    • Transportation
    • Funeral costs
    • Guide and service dogs
    • Prenatal shelter
    • Christmas expenses
    You can receive financial support for health benefits such as:
    • Alcohol and drug treatment
    • Diet and general supplements
    • Health supplements
    • Infant formula
    • Optical services
    • Tube feeding
    • Pharmacare
    • Hearing assistance such as hearing aids
    • Dental services
    • Orthodontic services
    • Medical supplies and equipment
    • Medical Transportation
    • Extended medical therapies
    You can also get assistance with your job search and job training with Work BC Employment Services. They have employment assistance workers that can assist with an employment plan and provide employment support services.

    How Long Can You Stay on Social Assistance?

    How long you can be on social assistance in BC depends on whether you can work or not. If you're employable and able to work, you can continue receiving income assistance for up to 2 years. If you're unable to work, then the amount of time you can continue collecting social assistance depends on your circumstances. In some cases, you're able to stay on social assistance, also known as welfare, for years.

    What Time Are Payments Deposited?

    If you're registered for direct deposit, you'll notice that your deposits are going to arrive at the same time every month. They're usually made very early in the morning, just after midnight. This could differ slightly, but that's normally when direct deposit payments go through.

    Disability in British Columbia

    If you're in need of financial assistance, but you're unable to look for work because of a disability, instead of receiving social assistance, you'll receive PWD (Persons with Disabilities) payments. These can also be referred to as disability assistance payments. In order to be approved for PWD, you must meet the following criteria:
    • Fall within the financial requirements
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Have impairments (mental or physical) that'll last at least 2 years
    • Be restricted in daily activities
    • Require assistance with a person, animal or device to perform daily activities
    When it comes to income exemptions, the general restrictions are $100,000 for the family unit where one person has a PWD designation and $200,00 when 2 people have the PWD designation. There are certain assets that aren't included, though. These are:
    • A home
    • One motor vehicle
    • Clothing
    • Necessary household equipment
    • Assets in a qualifying trust
    • A Registered Disability Savings Plan

    Applying for PWD

    Applying for PWD is a relatively simple process. You just need to prove your financial eligibility and then fill out the Persons with Disabilities Designation Application. In order to get a PWD income assistance application, you need to contact your local government office for Service BC, and they'll provide you with one. The PWD application includes 3 different parts. One portion is filled out by you. The medical portion is filled out by a nurse practitioner or doctor. Lastly is the assessor report portion. This can be filled out by a prescribed professional, which could be a social worker, doctor or nurse practitioner. You can qualify for a more simplified application process in some instances. You could qualify if you receive benefits from any of the following programs:
    • Community Living BC
    • BC Pharmacare Plan P - Palliative care patients
    • CPP (Canada Pension Plan) - Disability Benefits
    • MCFD (Ministry of Child and Family Development) - Home Care Plan
    You could also qualify for this if you're between 17.5 and 19 years of age and have a confirmed intellectual disability. Once your application is complete and submitted, an eligibility assessment will be done to verify that you meet the eligibility requirements.

    PWD Payment Dates

    If you're receiving PWD instead of social assistance, the direct deposit payment dates are going to be the same as the BC income assistance dates. You'll receive your money roughly 2 weeks before the benefit month. Here's the payment schedule for 2023.
    Benefit Month Payment Date
    February January 18, 2023
    March February 15, 2023
    April March 22, 2023
    May April 19, 2023
    June May 17, 2023
    July June 21, 2023
    August July 19, 2023
    September August 23, 2023
    October September 20, 2023
    November October 25, 2023
    December November 22, 2023
    January December 20, 2023
    The main difference between PWD and social assistance is the payment amounts.

    How Long Can You Stay on PWD?

    Regarding PWD payments, there isn't a time limit for which you can continue receiving benefits. You can receive PWD for the duration of your life if you need to. The only restriction is that you must have a disability that'll last at least 2 years in order to qualify. You'll stop receiving PWD when you no longer meet the requirements.

    2023 PWD Payment Increase

    PWD payments in British Columbia haven't increased since 2007. In 2023, there'll be a BC income assistance increase in PWD payments for the first time since then. For a single person in BC, the shelter allowance used to be $375, but not it's increased to $500. The total amount received before 2023 for a single person used to be $1,358, but it's now increased to $1,483 per month. No matter what you qualify for, benefits have increased for everyone by $125 per month. The amount PWD income assistance recipients receive every month ultimately depends on how many dependants they have and how many immediate family members qualify for PWD.

    Final Thoughts

    If you're unable to work due to a mental or physical impairment or out of different circumstances out of your control, you can still receive some money to meet your basic needs. Social assistance helps those who are transitioning to work or unable to work for reasons not due to mental or physical impairment. PWD payments are for those who have a mental or physical impairment and are unable to work. The amounts you'll receive from each of these programs depend on how many people are in your immediate family units and what benefits you qualify for. You can get help with basic medical care needs, unforeseen expenses and dental care. They can even help with vision care. Depending on your reasoning for obtaining these benefits, there could be a limit to how long you can access them. Either way, whether you receive income or disability assistance, they can help you pay for basic expenses you may not be able to afford otherwise. That said, these aren't the only income assistance services in BC that you can qualify for to receive a monthly income. You may also qualify for hardship assistance even if you don't qualify for welfare income assistance in BC or PWD. Visit your local office to find out your options.

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