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.

Apply Online

Begin your application online with the Self Serve Assessment and Application. There are three stages to this process:

  1. An orientation to the B.C. Employment and Assistance program
  2. An assessment of your financial eligibility
  3. 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.

Work Search

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 will need to keep a record of your search on the Work Search Activities (PDF) form. Find your local WorkBC centre for help with your work search.

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

Eligibility Assessment

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:

If you’re deemed eligible, you will then begin to receive assistance.

Self Serve Assessment & Application

Use this tool to learn what’s available to you, assess your eligibility and apply for government assistance.

Useful Contacts

Get help and answers to your questions:

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