Happy holidays and DABC office closure

Photo of a holiday card with text reading Happy Holidays. The card depicts snowy trees. The card is surrounded by a wreath.
Season’s greetings to you and yours!

From all of us at Disability Alliance BC, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season and all the best in the new year! We know this has been a particularly challenging year and we thank you for your support over the year, and your patience as we temporarily navigate new ways of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Please note that our office will be closed for the holidays from Monday, December 21st – Friday, January 1st. It will reopen on Monday, January 4th. During this time, we will only be responding to very urgent messages. All other messages will receive a response as soon as possible after we reopen. We will not be updating or checking social media during the holiday closure.

If you have reached out to our Access RDSP team for assistance with the DTC application prior to the Dec 31st application deadline to be eligible for the $600 federal COVID-19 payment, please email  rdsp@disabilityalliancebc.org and you will receive a response shortly. You can also try out our DTC online app, which is a self-help tool designed to give your healthcare provider the information they need to fill out the DTC Certificate application form: https://disabilityalliancebc.org/dtc-app.

Plan Institute also has helpline advisors that can help people over the break. They can be reached at 1-844-311-7526.  

See you in 2021!

Community Update: BC Recovery Benefit and BC Recovery Supplement

DABC followed up with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction last week on a few questions related to the BC Recovery Benefit, a provincial benefit that will provide a one-time payment of $500 to eligible individuals and $1000 to eligible families. We have clarified the following:

  • Everyone, regardless of whether you are or not on provincial income or disability assistance, will need to apply separately to receive the BC Recovery Benefit. The application process will open online on December 18th, with telephone support available starting December 21st. Here is the website with all the detailed information on it: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/recovery-benefit.
  • Ministry clients who receive the BC Recovery Benefit will be able to keep it in addition to any income and disability amounts for which they are eligible.
  • In addition to the above BC Recovery Benefit, there is a $150 per adult per month BC Recovery Supplement for people receiving income assistance, hardship assistance, provincial disability assistance, or comforts payments. Also, some eligible Senior’s Supplement recipients will receive the BC Recovery Supplement.
  • People who are receiving federal benefits, including the Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB, CRSB, CRCB) or Employment Insurance (EI) will not receive this supplement.
  • The BC Recovery Supplement will be automatically added to cheques issued January through March 2021 (February through April benefit months). There is no need to apply for it.
  • It does indeed look like the $300 monthly COVID-19 Crisis Supplement is being replaced with the above BC Recovery Supplement. The last payment date of the $300 COVID-19 Crisis Supplement is December 16, 2020 (for January benefit month) and December 22, 2020 for seniors receiving the senior’s supplement.

While DABC acknowledges and appreciates the BC Government’s response to aiding our communities into economic recovery from COVID-19, we are saddened to see that this new BC Recovery Supplement in particular will ultimately result in a drop of COVID-19-related financial assistance (from $300 a month to $150 a month) for people on provincial income and disability assistance. DABC has been lobbying the BC Government to make permanent the $300 COVID-19 crisis supplement for income assistance and disability assistance recipients, further indexed for inflation, because we know that current income and disability assistance rates are below the poverty line and therefore inadequate to meet basic needs. DABC will continue to advocate on this issue despite the drop in COVID-19 financial assistance, as we understand this affects people on income and disability assistance beyond our current COVID-19 situation.

BC Recovery Benefit to include additional benefits for people receiving provincial assistance

Premier Horgan announced on December 8th that British Columbians receiving provincial income or disability assistance will be eligible for the BC Recovery Benefit, and the Benefit will include additional benefits for people receiving provincial income or disability assistance.

The Benefit will provide:

  • $1,000 for families with incomes under $125,000. Families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts.
  • $500 for single people earning less than $62,500. Single people earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount.

“As well, people on income assistance, disability assistance and low-income seniors receiving the senior’s supplement will receive an additional recovery benefit at $150 per month from January 2021 to March 2021.

“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.””

Link for the news release is here: 

We are unsure if the monthly $150 recovery benefit will take the place of the $300 supplement that has been in place for the past several months. Once we have more information, we will post an update.

Applying for the BC Recovery Benefit

Have you filed your 2019 taxes? If not, it’s time to hurry! If you were required to file a 2019 Canadian personal income tax return but have not yet done so, you must file a 2019 return before applying for the benefit. You can apply for the benefit starting December 18th.

More info is available here.