Delays in B.C. Recovery Benefit payout causing frustration
Finance minister admits staff working through 'large volume of applications flagged for review'
It's been nearly one month since applications opened for the B.C. Recovery Benefit, and more than 400,000 British Columbians are still waiting to find out if they have been approved.
The tax-free cash payout can mean up to $1,000 dollars for eligible families and $500 dollars for individuals.
Around one million applications have been approved already, but the government acknowledges there is also a high volume under review.
Ukoabasi Isip is among those waiting for an answer. He makes ends meet through tutoring and food delivery. He says the $500 payout will help him deal with the financial hardships of the pandemic.
He applied on the first day applications were being accepted but still hasn't heard back.
"It will definitely be helpful," Isip said. "It's the beginning of the year, I'm supporting my family. Getting it will be a boost to my finances."
Flagged for review
B.C.'s finance minister Selina Robinson says anyone who has not received the cash within five days of a confirmation email has been flagged for review.
"If further information is required, the ministry will follow up on a case-by-case basis," said Robinson. "People can be assured we are currently processing these applications and will continue to do so in the coming weeks."
Simon Fraser University professor Rochelle Tucker is also among those whose applications are delayed. She says getting answers about her application has been extremely difficult. She has called and emailed the province's support contacts and was told it could take up to 30 days to get a response.
"I worry about other people who are needing this money to survive ... it's an awfully long time for people to find out what's going on with their application," Tucker said.
Robinson asks those who are waiting to be patient and says additional staff have been hired to deal with the flagged applications.
The province says the applications that have been approved so far have resulted in $635 million in payouts.