Only a fraction of BC residents eligible for the province’s Recovery Benefit received their payment before Christmas, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance.
Despite many expecting that the cash would arrive in time to help out during the holidays, the BC government only issued benefit payments to around 552,000 people prior to December 25th, out of 3.7 million people eligible for the money.
Following Premier John Horgan’s re-election, he stated that the government could not guarantee the promised payments for British Columbians by Christmas, but suggested that the benefit could roll-out in December or early January.
Online applications opened December 18th for the tax-free benefits, which could provide up to $1,000 for households, or $500 for single people.
Exact amounts are dependent on household or individual income, which is based on 2019 income tax returns.
Shortly after the applications went live, British Columbians looking to apply crashed the government website, with many users reporting being unable to access the site and experiencing issues completing the online form.
Some applicants have received requests from the government requiring additional information to verify eligibility, while others have heard no word since their initial application.
On December 23rd, BC Finance Minister Selina Robinson said in a tweet, “Thanks to the public service for getting such a large program up and running so quickly and to British Columbians for their patience.”
More than half-a-million applications approved for the BC Recovery Benefit (close to 800,000 British Columbians) as of last night.
•Single – 291,863
•Single with child – 34,115
•Couples/families – 228,101
•Total applications – 554,079
— Selina Robinson (@selinarobinson) December 23, 2020
Applications remain open until June 30th, and you can also apply by phone Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, at 1-833-882-020.