Online applications open for B.C. COVID recovery benefit

Selina Robinson, minister of finance, announced the passing of legislation for the B.C. COVID recovery benefit on Dec. 8. || Photo courtesy of B.C. Government Flickr.
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Online applications are now open for British Columbians to apply for the BC Recovery Benefit.

An estimated 3.7 million individuals and families, or 90 per cent of all B.C. adults, are eligible for the benefit. The benefit will give $1,000 to families with an annual income under $125,000 (families earning up to $175,000 qualify for a reduced benefit) and $500 to single people with an annual income under $62,000 (up to $87,500 qualify for reduced benefit).

Applying online is the easiest way to receive the BC Recovery Benefit, according to a press release from the province. To apply, visit: gov.bc.ca/recoverybenefit.

“I’d like to thank the B.C. public service for getting this program up and running so quickly and to the hundreds of Service BC call centre staff who will be helping British Columbians apply for their BC Recovery Benefit,” said Selina Robinson, minister of finance. “Please be patient and respectful to staff over the holidays as call volumes may result in longer wait times.”

Call centre agents will be available starting Dec. 21 to assist people who need help applying or those who want to apply over the phone (1 833 882-0020). 

Up to 350 call centre agents will be available for the first week of applications to help answer questions or complete applications over the phone, the release said.

Call volumes, web traffic and delays with banking institutions may result in longer wait times during the first few weeks of the benefit. Most people can expect to receive the money five business days after applying.

In order to be eligible for the tax-free benefit, people must: be a resident of B.C (as of Dec. 18); be at least 19 years old (unless they are the primary care-giver to a child or cohabiting with a spouse); have filed a 2019 income tax return; have their 2019 income tax notice of assessment, and if applicable, their spouse’s 2019 income tax notice of assessment; have their social insurance number; have direct deposit information; have their B.C. drivers license or be able to confirm they do not have one.

People can apply until June 2021.

In the new year, the province will introduce a modified application process for people receiving disability and income assistance who do not have banking services or who have barriers to filing income taxes.

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