How to apply for BC’s new $1,000 COVID-19 recovery benefit

If the legislation introduced Tuesday goes through, families and individuals will be able to start applying for the benefit as early as December 18, setting them up for deposits by Christmas Eve.

On Tuesday, provincial finance minister Selina Robinson revealed Christmas could be coming early for millions of British Columbians — but only if they apply to a new pandemic recovery benefit in time. 

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The tax-free BC Recovery Benefit is set to provide funding for about 3.7 million British Columbians, according to a written statement from Robinson’s office December 8. If the legislation introduced Tuesday goes through, families and individuals will be able to start applying for the benefit as early as December 18, setting them up for deposits by Christmas Eve.

Here’s what we know so far:

HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I GET? 

A $1,000 benefit applies to families with a combined household income of less than $125,000 per year. Payments to families making more than that will be granted on a sliding scale up to $170,000. 

Individuals making less than $62,000 a year will be eligible for a one-time $500 payment, with those earning up to $87,000 also eligible for a payment along a sliding scale.

AM I ELIGIBLE?

In order to apply, you’ll need to satisfy the following conditions:

  • Be a resident of BC on December 18, 2020
  • Be at least 19-years-old as on December 18, 2020
  • Have filed a 2019 income tax return
  • Have your 2019 income tax notice of assessment, and if applicable, your spouse’s as well
  • Have your social insurance number
  • Have your direct deposit information at a preferred bank account
  • Have your BC driver’s licence

HOW DO I APPLY?

Applying online is the best way to ensure you get the money as soon as possible, according to a Government of BC press release.

Online applications begin December 18 and can be accessed at gov.bc.ca/recoverybenefit.

Agents will also be available to assist applicants by phone starting December 21. Within North America, call toll free at 1.833.882.0020. Lines will be open Monday to Friday from 7:30 am until 5 pm Pacific Time.

HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT? 

Most eligible applicants are expected to receive their benefit within five business days, though the government warns that any application requiring manual review to determine eligibility will take longer based on the volume of applications, notes a government spokesperson.

Telephone wait times are also expected to be long in the first few weeks the applications are open. Apply online to avoid that wait, recommends the ministry spokesperson.

HOW LONG CAN I WAIT BEFORE APPLYING? 

Eligible British Columbians have until June 30, 2021, to apply to the BC Recovery Benefit.

 
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