(Image / Island Health Facebook)

The BC government has made the largest-ever permanent increase to income assistance and disability assistance rates, as well as the first-ever increase to the senior’s supplement effective in late April.

Individuals on income assistance and disability assistance will automatically receive a permanent $175 per month increase replacing a COVID-19 supplement of $150.

The increase to the senior’s supplement will be $50 per recipient which will raise the maximum rate from $49.30 to $99.30 per month.

For people on income assistance living in special care facilities, their comfort allowance to buy basic personal items will increase from $20 to $115 per month.

Last year, the provincial government provided a temporary $300 COVID-19 crisis supplement from April to December which was followed by a recovery supplement of $150 per month from January to March this year.

These new benefits will replace the COVID-19 benefits at a slight increase.

“This past year has been challenging for everyone, and especially so for those British Columbians already relying on assistance to make ends meet,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

“Now that we are seeing signs of some economic recovery from COVID-19, it’s essential we provide the stability of a permanent rate increase for people and families[…].”

The increase, according to Doug King, executive director of Together Against Poverty Society, fulfills the province’s poverty reduction goals.

“The permanent nature of the increase is critical in allowing those on income assistance and disability assistance to be able to rely on this support in the long term,” he said.

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