Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction COVID-19 Response Plan

Updated: April 02, 2020

Due to the current circumstances of COVID-19, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has made the following changes to their services to provide more support to clients and staff:

  • Those who are on Income Assistance, Disability Assistance, Comforts Allowance or the BC Senior’s Supplement and not receiving Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), will automatically receive a $300 supplement on their April, May and June cheques.
  • “For people in B.C. currently receiving income assistance or disability assistance, the Province will temporarily exempt federal employment insurance benefits, including the new $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). These payments will be fully exempted for the next three months so people receiving income assistance and disability assistance in B.C. will benefit from these new emergency federal support programs, without any reductions to their monthly assistance payments.” (Source: click here)
  • Those on Disability Assistance who were receiving the BC Bus Pass, will automatically receive the $52 Transportation Supplement instead of the bus pass since BC Transit and Translink bus fares are temporarily suspended. This will be reflected in the April cheque and will continue for as long as fares are suspended.
  • Holds on cheques will be reduces and clients are encouraged to call the Ministry or use the online My Self Serve for communication.
  • Cheques are being mailed or direct deposited where possible.
  • Tape markers have been added on the floor in Ministry offices to help clients maintain social distancing.
  • Temporary shields are being installed at front counters to promote physical distancing.
  • There will be a limited amount of people allowed in the waiting room.
  • Clients will be asked to use every second chair while waiting inside the office.
  • Signs and additional resources have been put up to promote physical distancing.
  • An enhanced cleaning has been implemented in the offices.
  • Some required documents are being waived on a case-by-case basis if the client isn’t able to submit the document on My Self Serve.
  • Employment plans and work searches are waived for the time being.
  • For clients who were previously asked to apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability, they have an additional 2 months to submit the applications.  

In addition to the changes above, the Ministry has enacted the Emergency/Disaster Supplement where clients may apply for the supplement to purchase COVID-19 supplies only such as hand sanitizer, medications, etc.

For more information on additional assistance available through the British Columbia provincial government, click here.

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