UPDATE: The bill did indeed pass, and applications are open as of Dec. 18, 2020.
Do you live in British Columbia and want money from the provincial government?
According to a news release from Horgan’s NDP, the one-time payment is meant to help “ease the financial impact of COVID-19 for people in British Columbia who have been hit the hardest.”
Assuming the bill passes, applications for the B.C. Recovery Benefit will open Dec. 18. And the bar to get the tax-free cash is low — all you have to do is live in B.C. and make under a certain amount annually.
Here’s what you need to know about applying.
Who gets it and what can you get?
According to a government release, more than 3.7 million B.C. residents will qualify for one benefit or the other. The benefit will take two forms:
- $1,000 for families with incomes under $125,000. Families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts.
- $500 for single people earning less than $62,500. Single people earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount.
To qualify, you need to be a B.C. resident over the age of 19 as of Dec. 18, 2020 and have filed a 2019 income tax return. British Columbians receiving income assistance, including Employment Insurance or the Canada Recovery Benefit, and disability assistance will also be eligible for the benefit.
Why is the B.C. government giving out money?
The benefit was a campaign promise of NDP Premier John Horgan during the recent provincial election. Horgan pitched the payouts as a way to support people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulate the economy.
In a statement Tuesday, Finance Minister Selina Robinson reiterated those points.
“We know that making ends meet during the holiday season is a concern for many families, even without the added stress of a pandemic. These additional supports will mean B.C. families will have extra dollars to spend when they need it most,” said Robinson.
“These benefits will also help stimulate our local economy and support small businesses that are working hard and providing good jobs for people. This is an important part of how we recover.”
How do you apply?
Applications open Dec. 18 online at gov.bc.ca/recoverybenefit, and over the phone on Dec. 21.
Be sure to have your B.C. drivers licence or other I.D. handy, as well as your 2019 tax return, direct deposit information and social insurance number.
According to the government, most applicants should receive the money via direct deposit within five days — so if you apply on Dec. 18 that means just in time for Christmas.
Eligible applicants have until June 30, 2021 to apply for and receive the benefit.