B.C. Social Development Minister Shane Simpson announces poverty reduction plan, March 18, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa's CERB, student pay

B.C. residents receiving income or disability assistance can also collect federal COVID-19 relief payments without deduction as long as Ottawa’s emergency programs keep going, the province has announced.

The B.C. exemption was announced April 2, initially for three months. It now includes the Canada Emergency Student Benefit that took effect May 1 as well as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Ottawa’s main program for people who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For those not eligible for federal benefits, the province’s temporary COVID-19 Crisis Supplement of $300 per month is extended for two more months. It goes to low-income seniors receiving the B.C. Seniors Supplement and income or disability assistance recipients in special care facilities. The additional crisis supplement payments will be automatically applied to cheques distributed on July 22 and Aug. 26.

“The extension of these programs will allow some breathing room for people to get back on their feet as we move through the restart plan,” said Shane Simpson, B.C. social development minister, in a statement July 6.

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