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Eligibility for Hardship Assistance


Policy

Eligibility for Hardship Assistance: June 30, 2008

Requirement to Pursue Alternatives to Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012

Hierarchy of Hardship Categories

Duration Limits for Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012

Non-Repayable Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012

Recapture of Overpayments from Hardship Assistance

Amount of Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012

Income and Assets Exemptions: August 19, 2014

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Eligibility for Hardship Assistance: June 30, 2008
June 30, 2008

Hardship assistance may only be provided in situations where the family unit has first been determined ineligible for income assistance or disability assistance for reasons specified by regulation. Persons receiving income assistance under the Employment and Assistance Act or disability assistance under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act are not eligible for hardship assistance.

In situations where an applicant is ineligible for income assistance or disability assistance for more than one reason, hardship will only be provided if the regulation specifically authorizes hardship for each of the ineligibility reasons.  For example, an applicant who does not meet the two-year independence requirement and does not have a SIN is not eligible for hardship for SIN Required.

Hardship assistance is provided for only one month (with the exception of Identity Not Established and SIN Required) and if further hardship assistance is required, eligibility must be re-established each month. To be eligible for hardship assistance, an employable applicant or recipient must enter into an Employment Plan (EP), or have an active EP, when requested by the ministry. [see Related Links – Employment Plan]

Applicants for hardship assistance must demonstrate that all alternatives for meeting basic needs have been exhausted. If income or assets have been used for purposes other than meeting basic needs, there is no eligibility for hardship assistance.

Applicants who have been denied income assistance or disability assistance must meet the eligibility criteria for the applicable hardship category before hardship assistance can be issued. In determining eligibility for hardship assistance, all eligibility criteria must be considered, including the following:

  • application and applicant orientation requirements
    [see Related Links – BC Employment and Assistance Application – Stage and Related Links – Orientation]
  • citizenship requirements
    [see Related Links – Citizenship Requirements]
  • effect of applying for other sources of income
    [see Related Links – Pursuing Income]
  • requirement to apply for CPP benefits
    [see Related Links – Pursuing Income]
  • limits on income
    [see Related Links – Income and Exemptions]
  • asset limits
    [see Related Links – Assets and Exemptions]

Once the hardship reason no longer exists, cases must be re-assessed to determine if the family unit meets the eligibility criteria for income assistance or disability assistance.

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Requirement to Pursue Alternatives to Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012
October 1, 2012

Applicants/recipients in the family unit must demonstrate they have:

  • applied for and accepted any other available income or assets, final pay cheques, holiday pay and holdbacks and used them to meet support and shelter needs
  • sought available help from other organizations, family and friends
  • exhausted all available income or assets (if available income or assets have been used for purposes other than meeting basic needs, there is no eligibility for hardship assistance)

These efforts must be documented on the electronic file.

Note: The Basic Child Tax Benefit, the Universal Child Care Benefit, BC Earned Income Benefit,and the Child Disability Benefit are fully exempt.

[For more information, see Related Links – Income and Exemptions.]

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Hierarchy of Hardship Categories
December 1, 2003

A person may be denied income assistance or disability assistance for more than one reason and may meet the eligibility criteria for more than one hardship category in order to receive hardship assistance.  When this occurs, the Employment and Assistance Worker (EAW) should select the highest applicable category code according to the hierarchy table that can be found in Procedures. [See Procedures – Table: Hierarchy of Hardship Categories].

This hierarchy lists the categories of hardship that are assignable, then repayable, and then non-repayable.

[For information on repayments and assignments, see Related Links – Recoveries.]

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Duration Limits for Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012
October 1, 2012

Hardship assistance issued for Income in Excess, Assets in Excess, Awaiting Other Income and After Hours is limited to three consecutive months during which time the family unit is expected to resolve the situation which makes them ineligible for regular assistance.  Once a family unit has received hardship assistance for three consecutive months and still does not meet eligibility requirements for income assistance, they are not eligible for any additional hardship assistance in any of the duration limited categories for a period of three consecutive months.

Hardship assistance issued for Immediate Needs – Work Search Required is limited to three consecutive months during which time the family unit is required to complete a reasonable three- or five-week work search as directed by the minister. If the family unit fails to complete the required work search within 3 months or ceases to take the steps to satisfy the work search requirement, they are not eligible for continued hardship assistance and their case will be closed. After the recipient’s case has been closed, they are able to reapply for assistance if still in need. If the family unit reapplies for assistance, they will be required to meet all eligibility requirements as outlined in BC Employment and Assistance Stage 1 – Application, including the requirement to complete a reasonable work search. [see Related Links – BC Employment and Assistance Stage 1 – Application – Policy]

Hardship assistance issued for Identity Not Established or SIN required is limited to six months.

The Supervisor may approve hardship assistance beyond the three months in exceptional situations only.  These cases should be monitored closely and issued one month at a time.

Applicants in these specific circumstances must be advised upon application of the duration limits.

Hardship issued for clients awaiting EI, strike or lockout, disqualification for fraud, sponsorship default, no identification or no SIN are not subject to monthly duration limits.

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Non-Repayable Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012
October 1, 2012

Categories Awaiting EI Benefits, Assets in Excess, Awaiting Other Income, Strike or Lockout, Income in Excess, and Disqualification for Fraud and Related Offenses are repayable. However, the following types of assistance or supplements are not to be included in the repayment:

  • hardship assistance issued where a person has been determined to have suffered spousal violence and may be faced with further violence if required to pursue excess assets or excess income
  • health supplements
  • identification (ID) fees paid directly to the government or agency supplying the ID
  • crisis supplements
  • supplements for moving and transportation
  • guide animal supplement
  • school start-up supplement

Note: Hardship categories Immediate Needs – Work Search Required, Sponsorship Undertaking Default, Identity Not Established, After Hours, and SIN Required are not repayable.

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Recapture of Overpayments from Hardship Assistance
December 1, 2003

Recaptures are not to be actioned while clients are in receipt of hardship assistance.  The benefit plans and case can be updated, but no automatic deductions will be made from hardship assistance.

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Amount of Hardship Assistance: October 1, 2012
October 1, 2012

The maximum amount of hardship assistance is:

  • the sum of the support allowance and the shelter allowances that apply to the applicant’s family unit [see Rate Table: Maximum Hardship Support Rates and Rate Table: Maximum Hardship Shelter Rates]
  • plus the maximum rate per child for family bonus top-up (minus the amount of family bonus received for that child) [see Rate Table: General Supplements - Family Bonus Top-up Supplement]
  • minus the sum of the following:

    • the net income of the applicant’s family unit
    • the value of the assets of the family unit that are immediately available to meet basic needs

For the purposes of hardship assistance, net income means the amount of unearned income, plus the amount of earned income minus deductions for:

  • income tax
  • employment insurance
  • medical insurance
  • Canada Pension Plan
  • superannuation
  • company pension plan
  • union dues

Hardship assistance is intended to meet basic needs and should be issued to a maximum level based on those basic needs.  Issuing the maximum hardship assistance rate may not be appropriate in all situations.

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Income and Assets Exemptions: August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014

No deduction is to be made for the following when calculating the maximum amount of hardship assistance for which an applicant’s family unit is eligible:

  • any earned income of a dependent child attending school on a full-time basis
  • income assistance paid for a child in the home of a relative
  • family bonus, except the portion treated as unearned income under section 2 (7) of Schedule D of the Employment and Assistance Regulation (Family bonus payments for the current month are exempt.  Retroactive family bonus payments are exempt minus any payments advanced via the family bonus temporary top-up supplement for the same time period) [see Related Links – Policy – Income and Exemptions and Family Bonus Supplement]
  • the Basic Child Tax Benefit
  • a Universal Child Care Benefit under the Universal Child Care Benefit Act (Canada)
  • the BC Earned Income Benefit
  • child disability benefit
  • a goods and services tax credit under the Income Tax Act (Canada)
  • a harmonized sales tax credit under the Income Tax Act (British Columbia)
  • a sales tax credit under the Income Tax Act (British Columbia)
  • a refundable medical expense supplement [see Related Links – Income and Exemptions – Policy – Income Tax Refund]
  • individual redress payments granted by the Government of Canada to a person of Japanese ancestry
  • individual payments granted by the Government of Canada under the Extraordinary Assistance Plan to a person infected by the human immunodeficiency virus
  • individual payments granted by the Government of British Columbia to a person infected by the human immunodeficiency virus or to the surviving spouse or dependent children of that person
  • individual payments granted by the Government of Canada under the Extraordinary Assistance Plan to thalidomide victims
  • money from a lump-sum settlement payable by the Government of British Columbia to persons awarded compensation by an adjudicative panel in respect of claims of abuse at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf
  • money paid or payable under the 1986-1990 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement made June 15, 1999, except money paid or payable under section 4.02 or 6.01 of Schedule A or of Schedule B of that agreement
  • money paid by the Government of Canada under a settlement agreement, to persons who contracted Hepatitis C by receiving blood or blood products in Canada prior to 1986 or after July 1, 1990, except money paid under that agreement as income replacement
  • a rent subsidy provided by the provincial government, or by a council, board, society or governmental agency that administers rent subsidies from the provincial government
  • money received from the Common Experience Payment or through the Independent Assessment Process under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
  • money paid or payable to a person in settlement of a claim of abuse at an Indian residential school, except money paid or payable as income replacement in the settlement
  • post adoption assistance payments provided under section 28 (1) or 30.1 of the Adoption Regulation
  • a rebate of energy or fuel tax provided by the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, or an agency of either government
  • the portion of Canada Pension Plan Benefits that is calculated by the formula (A – B) x C, where

A = the gross monthly amount of Canada Pension Plan Benefits received by an applicant or recipient

B = (I) in respect of a family unit comprised of a sole applicant or a sole recipient with no dependent children, 1/12 of the amount determined under section 118 (1) (c) of the Income Tax Act (Canada) as adjusted under section 117.1 of that Act, or

(ii) in respect of any other family unit, the amount under subparagraph (I), plus 1/12 of the amount resulting from the calculation under section 118 (1) (a) (ii) of the Income Tax Act (Canada) as adjusted under section 117.1 of that Act

C = the sum of the percentages of taxable amounts set out under section 117 (2) (a) of the Income Tax Act (Canada) and section 4.1 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Act (Canada)

  • payments granted by the Government of British Columbia under child’s kin and others agreement under the Child, Family and Community Service Act
  • payments granted by the Government of British Columbia under the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s At Home Program
  • payments granted by the Government of British Columbia under an agreement referred to in section 93 (1) (g) (ii) of the Child, Family and Community Service Act, for contributions to the support of a child
  • an education gift from Nisga’a Lisims Government provided annually to assist Nisga’a citizens with their children's school start-up costs
  • a working income tax benefit, including a disability supplement under the Income Tax Act (Canada)

    Note: the working income tax benefit and disability supplement can be received either quarterly or annually and is exempt regardless of the frequency of payment
  • a quarterly Climate Action Tax Credit and the one-time Climate Action Dividend under the Income Tax Act (BC)
  • a retroactive compensation awards under, including interest for pain and suffering, made under the Criminal Injury Compensation Act, for claimants who were minor victims of assault and who registered their claim from 1980 to 1992 in which these compensation decisions were deferred.
  • an eviction compensation payment (considered exempt up to the asset level of the family unit) [see Related Links – Income and Exemptions – Policy – Eviction Compensation]
  • Funds held in, or money withdrawn from, a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
  • payments granted by the government of British Columbia under the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Family Support Services program;
  • payments granted by the government of British Columbia under the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Supported Child Development program;
  • payments granted by the government of British Columbia under the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Aboriginal Supported Child Development program; [B.C. Reg. 85/2012 effective May 1/12]
  • money paid or payable from a fund established by the government of British Columbia, the government of Canada and the City of Vancouver in relation to a recommendation in the final report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry

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