Saturday December 19, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
Editorial Analysis | by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
Friday December 18 was ‘day one’ for access by British Columbians to the website where families, single parents and individuals can apply for the BC Recovery Benefit.
Benefit eligibility is based on net income from your 2019 tax return. You must apply to receive the benefit (it is not an automatic payment or credit).
The application website is here: BC Recovery Benefit . You will need various pieces of information, including net income from your 2019 personal tax return (line 23600), Social Insurance Number, and driver’s licence number.
You will be asked for your personal chequing account information (Branch, institution and account numbers) so that the funds can be deposited directly into your bank account.
Applications can also be done over the phone starting Monday December 21, by calling 1-833-882-0020. Other questions about applying can also be answered over the phone.
Site was working slowly:
The website experienced a fair degree of overload on Friday.
“The system is online and you can apply now — it is just working a bit slowly for some people. But is it working,” says BC Ministry of Finance communications director Lisa Leslie. “As of 11 am, more than 20,000 British Columbians have successfully applied,” she told Island Social Trends this morning.
“We had tripled our server capacity but there is a lot of public interest,” says Leslie. “We are asking people to be patient and keep refreshing their page as the system gets back up to speed,” she said.
Meanwhile, even by refreshing and getting through to the site, there is still an interruption (unavailability) to proceed further, at least at one point in the initial interface. Some people may decide to give it a rest and come back at a later time.
One resident in Colwood said the application process took him three hours from start to finish. The page kept refreshing, requiring data that was enter to be re-entered. But he did end up with a confirmation number at the completion of it.
Six more months:
Applications for the BC Recovery Benefit can be done up to June 30, 2021, so in a sense there’s no rush. But given the long hard pandemic year and Christmas being right around the corner, there was understandably high demand on the server when the benefit first became available.
If you’re asked to submit additional documents to support your application, include your confirmation number or Case ID. You can submit in two ways — online or by postal mail.
About the benefit:
The amount you’re eligible for will be automatically calculated based on your income when you apply.
- For families and single parents: $1,000 for eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $125,000. Reduced benefit amount for eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $175,000.
- For individuals: $500 for eligible individuals with a net income of up to $62,500. Reduced benefit amount for eligible individuals with a net income of up to $87,500.
An estimated 3.7 million individuals and families — or 90 percent of all BC adults — are eligible for the benefit, says the BC Ministry of Finance.
At this year-end during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much everyone in BC benefits from this financial windfall…. individuals and families who need the financial boost, businesses and retailers who might see a few more customers before Christmas, and the politicians who backed this.
Whether you apply or not, the BC Recovery Benefit therefore helps everyone in some way or another (family stability, economic activity, political bonus).
Proud of the program:
Earlier this week, BC Finance Minister Selina Robinson was pleased that cabinet and government are delivering on the recovery bonus promise that was outlined during the fall 2020 election campaign leading up to the 42nd Provincial General Election on October 24.
That the government got this in place ahead of Christmas is a real feather in Premier John Horgan’s cap. His overall policy of wealth redistribution to those who suffered the worst of the economic disadvantages of living in BC during 2001-2016 (whether by government policy and/or the Great Recession) is peeking out from behind this benefit.
During the fall election campaign it was stated by the NDP that income thresholds would be part of eligibility and payout amounts under this program. However, it was not indicated at that time about the need to submit an application — for the average person during the campaign that it’s fair to say the implication was that the BC Recovery Benefit would be based on tax data already in the government system (i.e. that the benefit would be automatically issued).
The Horgan promise was that the funds would come ‘around Christmas or early in the new year’, as it was mentioned several times by the premier in his media availabilities. He has come through with flying colours.
BC Recovery Benefit serves 20,000 in first few hours (December 18, 2020)
BC Recovery Benefit – main website (applications open December 18, 2020 through to June 30, 2021)