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Applications for B.C. Recovery Benefit to open Dec. 18

Last Updated Dec 8, 2020 at 1:25 pm PST

File (iStock)

British Columbians can apply for the B.C. Recovery Benefit later this month

Finance Minister Selina Robinson says an application is necessary to get the money

Depending on income and with a sliding scale, families could get $1,000 and individuals could receive $500

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Millions of British Columbians will be able to apply for a one-time COVID-19 relief payment in less than two weeks.

The online application for the B.C. Recovery Benefit opens on Dec. 18, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said Tuesday, and people will need to apply to be able to access the money. For those who don’t want to apply online, they will have to wait until Dec. 21 when a call centre will be available.

By Christmas, some people could be getting their payment.

The payment will be directly deposited into bank accounts and the amount varies depending on income. Families earning less than $125,000, with a sliding scale to $175,000, could receive up to $1,000. Individuals earning less than $62,500, and up to $87,500, could see up to $500.

Up to 3.7 million people will be eligible for a benefit and some could see it by the end of the year.

“We know that making ends meet during the holiday season is a concern for many families, even without the added stress of a pandemic,” Robinson said. “These additional supports will mean B.C. families will have extra dollars to spend when they need it most. These benefits will also help stimulate our local economy and support small businesses that are working hard and providing good jobs for people. This is an important part of how we recover.”

Those receiving income and disability assistance are still eligible for the benefit. From January to March, British Columbians on those assistances, as well as people getting the senior’s supplement will receive an additional benefit at $150 per month.

“This pandemic has had significant impacts on vulnerable populations so that’s why, unlike with the previous workers’ benefit, people on income or disability assistance will be eligible for the recovery benefit, and they will receive a recovery supplement of $150/month,” said Nicholas Simons, minister of social development and poverty reduction. “Coupled together, the recovery benefit and recovery supplement will provide vulnerable families with up to $1,900 during this difficult winter season.”

Premier John Horgan said last month, he hoped the benefit could be in the pockets of British Columbians by Christmas. The recovery benefit was part of the NDP platform in the provincial election.

“We have worked hard to get the B.C. Recovery Benefit to people as soon as possible. We are united with the millions of people and families who are wrapping up a difficult year and look forward to a new year with hope and the promise of a continued recovery,” he said Tuesday.

Robinson says the benefit program is expected to cost as much as $1.7 billion.

Starting Dec. 21, the call centre will be open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The toll-free number is 1-833-882-0020.