I have a disability and need financial help. What can I do? [June 11, 2020]
You can apply to the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to get welfare. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for disability assistance with the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation or the Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) designation.
You have to meet certain criteria to qualify and you have to fill out an application form that applies to your situation. A health professional also has to fill out part of your application form.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry has made these application forms available online. You don't have to go to a ministry office to get the form. See the ministry website for the online PWD Application Form (24 pages) and PPMB Application Form (8 pages).
The application forms include:
- what you have to do to qualify for the designation
- instructions to fill out the form
- ministry address and fax number to submit the completed form
Disability Alliance BC has online help sheets that explain various benefits and programs for people with disabilities. See the PWD Application help sheet and the PPMB Benefit help sheet for help to fill out the application forms.
Also see the Disability Alliance BC COVID-19 Supports and Programs help sheet for an overview of additional help during the pandemic.
For more information about the PWD or PPMB designation, phone the ministry at 1-866-866-0800.
- Community Living BC (CLBC)
- Ministry of Children and Family Development At Home Program
- BC PharmaCare Plan P — Palliative Care Benefits
- Canada Pension Plan — Disability Benefits
You don’t have to fill out the 24-page PWD designation application and get a new diagnosis.
I applied for income assistance. Who can answer my questions about what happens next? [May 6, 2020]
A ministry worker can help answer your questions. For your safety during COVID-19, it's best not to go in to a ministry office.
- Instead contact the ministry by phone at 1-866-866-0800 or through My Self Serve.
- If you have documents to submit, you can mail them or put them in the drop box at a ministry office. Or you can phone 1-866-866-0800 to discuss options with a ministry worker.
- If you must go to your local ministry office, call them to check when they’re open before you visit. In-person service might be affected by COVID-19.
See the ministry website for more information about how to get income and disability assistance services.
If you have trouble getting the information you need, talk to an advocate (community worker trained to help people). To find an advocate experienced in helping with welfare problems, see Get more help on this page.
My niece has a developmental disability and finds it hard to make ends meet. What financial help can she get from the government? [May 6, 2020]
During COVID-19, the federal and provincial governments are providing emergency financial help for people on income assistance or disability assistance and seniors with low incomes.
- Federal programs include Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
- Emergency help from the BC government includes a $300 monthly supplement for people on income assistance or disability assistance who don’t get EI or CERB. See the COVID-19 Support for Income & Disability Assistance on the BC government website for more information.
- See also other financial supports in response to COVID-19 on the BC government website.
Page last updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 15:00 hrs
These organizations provide free help for people on welfare or with low incomes. Their websites include where to find more help during the pandemic.
BC211 — Information and confidential referrals to get help in your community
Disability Alliance BC — Help for people with disabilities, including free self-help guides about BC’s disability benefits and programs
Povnet — Information about poverty issues, including a Find an Advocate map of advocacy groups throughout BC
Seniors First BC — Legal advice, advocacy, and representation for adults age 55 and up with legal issues involving tenancy, debt, and government benefits