B.C. raising income assistance, disability and senior supplements
Premier John Horgan answers questions from the media following the speech from the throne in the legislative assembly in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
VICTORIA -- British Columbians receiving income assistance, disability assistance or senior supplements will see an increase to their monthly payments starting in April.
The province says that income assistance and disability assistance will permanently increase by $175 per month.
A single person on income assistance will now receive $935 per month, while a couple on income assistance will receive $1,426.22 per month.
Meanwhile, a single person on disability assistance will now receive $1,358.42 per month, while a couple on disability assistance will receive $1,947.56.
Starting in April, single parents with one child will begin receiving $1,270.58 per month if they receive income assistance, or $1,694.08 if they receive disability assistance.
At the same time, couples with one child will receive $1,611.06 per month through income assistance, or $2,131.56 if they receive disability assistance.
Approximately 300,000 British Columbians rely on the payments, according to the province.
"This past year has been challenging for everyone, and especially so for those British Columbians already relying on assistance to make ends meet," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in a statement Tuesday.
"Now that we are seeing signs of some economic recovery from COVID-19, it's essential we provide the stability of a permanent rate increase for people and families, including 49,000 children who live in poverty."
Meanwhile, British Columbians receiving a senior's supplement will see their rates increased by $50 per month, doubling the maximum rate for a single person from $49.30 per month to $99.30.
The B.C. government says it is the first time the senior's supplement has been raised since 1987, which goes to about 80,000 seniors across the province.
People living in special care facilities who receive income assistance will also see a $20 bump to their income assistance, bringing the monthly payment to $115. The province says this the first increase of its kind since 2005 and is intended to allow people living in special care facilities to buy basic personal items.
"This increase – the largest that people on income assistance and disability assistance have seen – is a critical piece in working toward the fulfilment of our province's poverty reduction goals," said Doug King, executive director of the Together Against Poverty Society on Tuesday.