B.C. extends COVID-19 income, disability and senior assistance programs

B.C. will continue to offer COVID-19 financial support for income and disability clients, as well as monthly crisis supplements for low-income seniors, the government announced Monday.

The province has extended for two months its $300 monthly crisis supplement to low-income seniors, which also goes to income and disability clients who reside in special care facilities, said Social Development Minister Shane Simpson.

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Recipients will not have to reapply. The money is earmarked for British Columbians on provincial income, disability, senior’s or comfort assistance programs who are not receiving federal employment insurance or the $2,000 monthly Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The program started in April.

The B.C. government also extended a policy that prevents clawbacks of financial aid from those receiving federal COVID-19 assistance on top of provincial income or disability assistance.

That was set to expire this month, but has now been extended by B.C. to match the changing length of federal COVID-19 aid programs, said Simpson. Ottawa’s CERB programs runs until October, and the emergency student benefit program, which is also included, runs through August.

The policy means B.C. does not consider the federal CERB, EI or other COVID-19 payments as income, and the amount will not be deducted from regular provincial income assistance or disability allowances.

“The extension of these programs will allow some breathing room for people to get back on their feet as we move through our restart plan,” Simpson said.

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