Apply for Assistance
If you are in need and have no other resources, you may be eligible for income assistance. This can help support your transition to employment.
You may be eligible if you find yourself in any of these situations:
- You’re out of work or not earning enough to meet your basic needs
- You’re waiting for other sources of money to arrive
- You can't work at all
- You urgently need food, shelter or medical attention
The ministry can only give available resources to people who meet eligibility criteria. You must look for and use all other sources of income and assets before you apply.
Begin your application online with the Self Serve Assessment and Application. There are three stages to this process:
- An orientation to the B.C. Employment and Assistance program
- An assessment of your financial eligibility
- Your application for assistance
If you can’t complete the application online, call 1 866 866-0800 or visit your local office.
You will need to provide details about your current situation, income and assets. Be ready to give information, such as:
- Identification for you and your family
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- How much you pay for rent and utilities
- Your bank account balance
- How much you owe on your vehicle, if you have a car
You will also be asked if:
- You are getting or waiting for Employment Insurance (EI) or Worker’s Compensation benefits (WCB)
- You have any outstanding warrants
- A family member sponsored you into Canada
The B.C. government is committed to protecting your privacy when we collect and review your personal information.
Not eligible but still in need?
You may be able to receive hardship assistance, depending on your circumstances. Contact us to find out more about this kind of support.
You will have to actively look for work for:
- Five weeks if you’ve never received income assistance before
- Three weeks if you’re returning to income assistance
You might not have to do a work search under certain circumstances:
- You are fleeing an abusive spouse or relative
- You are a single parent with a dependent child under three
- You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from looking for work
- You or anyone in your immediate family is a person with disabilities (PWD)
- You can’t legally work in Canada
- You are 65 or older
An intake worker will talk with you about the work search, and if it applies to you.
Two-Year Independence Requirement
You will have to show that you or a member of your family unit has been financially independent for at least two consecutive years.
You are financially independent if, in each of the two consecutive years, you:
- Worked for at least 840 hours, or
- Earned $7,000 or more
You will not have to undergo the two-year independence test if you:
- Have a disability
- Are under age 19
- Have dependent children
- Are pregnant
- Have fled abuse within the past six months
- Have a two-year diploma, bachelor degree or higher
- Have a medical condition that prevents you from working
If you don’t find a job during your work search, you will need to attend an eligibility assessment. Either in person or over the phone, a worker will:
- Verify the information you provided
- Determine your eligibility for income assistance
- Confirm if you are currently renting or intend to rent a place to live. If you rent, provide a copy of your tenancy agreement or use the Shelter Information (PDF) form
- Confirm that you or a member of your family unit has been financially independent for at least two years (PDF)
- Assess your readiness for employment
- Work with you to develop an employment plan
If you’re deemed eligible, you will then begin to receive assistance.