BC Recovery benefit website opens for applications, promptly crashes

Dec 18 2020, 10:54 am

Online applications for the BC Recovery Benefit are now open but things didn’t go exactly as planned this morning, as many people received an error message when trying to apply.

 

Screenshot (BC Government website)

Some took to social media to voice their displeasure.

“I’d like to thank the BC public service for getting this program up and running so quickly and to the hundreds of Service BC call centre staff who will be helping British Columbians apply for their BC Recovery Benefit,” said BC Minister of Finance Selina Robinson, in a statement.

While up to 350 call centre agents will be available during the first week to help answer questions or complete applications over the phone, the province warned that people should expect longer wait times for the first few weeks due to factors such as call volumes, web traffic, and delays with banking institutions.

As such, Robinson asked people to “please be patient and respectful to staff over the holidays as call volumes may result in longer wait times.”

For those without access to a computer or the internet, the province said that starting on Monday, December 21, call centre agents will be available to assist those who need help applying or those who want to apply by phone. Agents will be available Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays), from 7:30 am to 5 pm PST and can be reached at 1-833 882-0020.

The benefit means a one-time $1,000 payment to families with an annual household income below $125,000 – with a sliding scale up to $175,000, or a $500 direct deposit to single people earning less than $62,000 annually – with a sliding scale up to $87,000.

An estimated 3.7 million individuals and families, or 90% of all BC adults, are eligible for the benefit, and people can apply for it until June 2021.

In general, the benefit is available to people:

British Columbians receiving income assistance and disability assistance are eligible for the benefit. As well, people on income assistance, disability assistance, and low-income seniors receiving the senior’s supplement will receive an additional recovery benefit at $150 per month from January 2021 to March 2021.

The tax-free benefit was promised by the NDP during Premier John Horgan’s election campaign this past fall.

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