After first announcing the initiative in March, the BC government announced on Friday that applications for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers open today.
The new benefit provides workers with a one-time, tax-free payment of $1,000. It’s available to residents whose ability to work has been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
The Ministry of Finance said that most people who are eligible for the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will also be eligible for the BCEBW, including residents who have run out of employment insurance (EI) benefits.
The plan dedicates $2.8 billion to help residents and fund the services they need to weather the crisis; $2.2 billion will provide relief to businesses and help them recover after the outbreak.
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The initiative is part of a $5 billion economic action plan that was set up to support people and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to qualify, people must meet the following criteria:
- Has been a resident of BC since March 15, 2020, or earlier
- Meets the eligibility requirements for the CERB
- Must have been approved for the CERB, even if they have not received a benefit yet
- Must be at least 15 years old on the date of the application
- Has filed, or agrees to file, a 2019 BC income tax return
- Will not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance
A phone line will also be made available for general support and questions, and applications for the phone will open on May 4, 2020.