You can apply for the B.C. Recovery Benefit — worth up to $1,000 — starting Dec. 18
Benefit is based on 2019 income, so higher earners who lost jobs during the pandemic won't qualify
UPDATE, Dec. 18, 2020: 'Extremely high' demand crashes application site for B.C. Recovery Benefit
British Columbians will be able to apply for a little bit of extra cash this Christmas as of Friday morning.
All eligible adults in the province will be able to start applying for the B.C. Recovery Benefit online as of 8:30 a.m. PT, according to the finance ministry.
Families with incomes under $125,000 will be eligible to receive $1,000 and families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts.
Single people earning less than $62,500 qualify for a $500 payment and individuals earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced amount.
By 2:30 p.m. PT on Friday, nearly 50,000 British Columbians had already successfully applied for the benefit, according to the Ministry of Finance.
The B.C. government introduced legislation on Dec. 8 to secure funding for approximately 3.7 million British Columbians through the benefit.
NEW: Finance Minister Selina Robinson says British Columbians will have to apply for $1,000 BC Recovery Benefit. The online process opens Dec. 18th. She is confident people will receive the money by Christmas. <a href="https://twitter.com/cbcnewsbc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cbcnewsbc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcleg?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcleg</a>—@CBCtanya
But as the opposition B.C. Liberals have pointed out, the income criteria are based on 2019 tax returns, so people who were high earners last year but lost their jobs during the pandemic might not be eligible.
"We understand that this recovery benefit will be useful to so many British Columbians, however, we cannot let the government pass this off as a recovery plan — it is short term relief and does not make up for John Horgan's lack of a comprehensive long-term plan to get people back on track," Liberal finance critic Mike Bernier said in a news release.
According to the province, British Columbians receiving income assistance and disability assistance will also be eligible for extra cash under the B.C. Recovery Benefit.
However, the people who depend on those forms of assistance will see their COVID-related benefits slashed in half, from the current $300 a month to $150 per month from January to March 2021. The same is true of the seniors' supplement.
"We know that making ends meet during the holiday season is a concern for many families, even without the added stress of a pandemic. These additional supports will mean B.C. families will have extra dollars to spend when they need it most," said Minister of Finance Selina Robinson in a media release.
To be eligible to receive funds, applicants must be a B.C. resident over the age of 19 and have filed a 2019 tax return.
Starting Dec. 21, phone-based support will be available at 1-833-882-0020 toll-free, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
People have until June 30, 2021, to apply for the benefit.
- An earlier version of this story said families with incomes under $150,000 will be eligible to receive $1,000. In fact, it's families with incomes under $125,000.Dec 08, 2020 1:22 PM PT