BCEA Application - Stage 1

Overview

The application process includes two stages.  During the first stage, applicants are assessed as to whether they have already completed a satisfactory work search or are required to complete a work search or if they are exempt from this requirement. Applicants who are not exempt must complete a reasonable work search before their eligibility for assistance can be determined.

New applicants, those who have never been in receipt of income assistance or disability assistance before, are required to complete or demonstrate that they have completed a satisfactory work search lasting five weeks. Former recipients who have only ever received hardship assistance are required to complete a five-week work search.

Former recipients of income assistance or disability assistance reapplying for assistance are required to complete a three-week work search.

Applicants who are exempt from this initial work search requirement can proceed directly to the Stage 2 of the application process.

Applicants assessed as having an immediate need can proceed directly to the Stage 2 of the application process and will be assessed for hardship assistance while they complete their work search as required.

Recipients who leave disability assistance as a result of employment income and become eligible for Medical Services Only should continue to submit monthly reports in order for the ministry to re-establish eligibility for disability assistance when:

1.       the client’s income falls below the disability assistance rate; or

2.       the client is eligible for an annual earnings exemption in the new calendar year

[For more information, see Policy - Medical Services Only Clients Requesting Assistance].

This requirement applies to applicants under the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Policy

Effective: June 26, 2014

During Stage 1 of the application process, staff must assess the circumstances of all applicants to determine whether they have already completed a satisfactory work search, or must complete a three-week or five-week work search or if they are exempt from this requirement.  Applicants who are not exempt must complete a reasonable work search before they can proceed to Stage 2 of the application process.

New applicants, those who have never been in receipt of income assistance or disability assistance before, are required to complete or demonstrate that they have completed a satisfactory work search lasting five weeks. Former recipients who have only ever received hardship assistance are required to complete a five-week work search.

Former recipients of income assistance or disability assistance reapplying for assistance are required to complete a three-week work search [See Related Links – Work Search].

Applicants are assessed as to whether they have already completed a satisfactory work search or are required to complete a work search or if they are exempt from this requirement. If they have not already completed a satisfactory work search, the work search period begins on the day that the applicant submits an application for assistance through My Self Serve (MySS), on their own or with assistance.

If an applicant has a dependent spouse, staff must assess the circumstances of the spouse to determine whether he or she already completed a satisfactory work search, or must complete a work search or if he or she is exempt from this requirement. If only one spouse meets the exemption criteria, the other spouse is required to complete the work search. The family unit cannot proceed to Stage 2 until a reasonable work search is completed.

EXCEPTIONS:  In cases where an applicant or any person in the family unit has an immediate need for food, shelter, or urgent medical attention, the family unit is not required to complete the work search prior to proceeding to Stage 2 of the application process. Family units who have not completed their work search and have been determined to have an immediate need will be assessed for eligibility for hardship assistance. Eligible  family units will be provided with hardship assistance while they complete either a three- or five-week work search.

If an eligibility interview cannot be completed in time to meet the immediate need, staff must ensure the applicant’s immediate need is addressed within the same business day. [see Related Links – Immediate Needs, Work Search and Immediate Needs – Work Search Required]

In addition, if any member of the family unit has the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation at the time of application, the entire family unit is exempt from the work search and must proceed directly to Stage 2 of the application process.

An applicant must be exempt from the work search requirement if the applicant:

  • demonstrates that they have completed their three or five weeks of active work search within the period immediately prior to the date of the Stage 1 application and provide information and verification of their search for employment
  • is fleeing an abusive spouse or relative
  • is a sole applicant
    • with a dependent child, or
    • provides care to a child in the home of a relative, a foster child or a child in their care under an agreement referred to in sections 8 or 93 (1) (g) (ii) of the Child, Family and Community Service Act

if the child has not reached 3 years of age
 

  • has a physical or mental condition that, in the minister's opinion, precludes them from completing a search for employment.  Note:  A condition is considered to preclude the applicant's ability to search for employment when the applicant is unable to participate in any type of search for employment for any length of time (e.g., persons incapacitated due to the nature of medical treatment, persons incapacitated in hospital or persons in late stages of terminal illness or pregnancy)
  • or any person in the family unit is a person with disabilities (PWD)
  • cannot legally work in Canada ( e.g., the applicant is a person who is seeking refugee protection status who does not have a work permit).  However, if the applicant's dependent spouse is entitled to work in Canada, the spouse must complete a three-week work search before the family is eligible to apply for assistance
  • has reached 65 years of age

 [see Related Links – Work Search – Policy – Exemptions]

Note:  Applicants in the following circumstances may also be exempt from the work search as they are considered to meet the above exemption - incapacitated due to the nature of medical treatment:

  • those who have been ordered by the court to enter a supportive recovery home or an alcohol or drug facility, and the applicant’s ability to enter the recovery home or facility depends on the applicant being in receipt of assistance
  • those who have voluntarily chosen or have been recommended by a medical professional to attend, and have been accepted into, an alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation centre, and the applicant’s ability to attend depends on being in receipt of assistance

Staff should be aware that, while they may conclude that none of the exemptions apply and a person is required to conduct the work search, a person's circumstances may change to warrant a reassessment.

Effective: October 3, 2016

Some applicants may require additional services to apply for assistance (including those completing the Application for Assistance through My Self Serve). The ministry offers alternative methods of service delivery, such as interpreter services and trusted third parties [see Related Links – Individual Case Management].

Effective: June 26, 2014

The Application for Assistance includes questions that requests applicants to identify if they are an Aboriginal person who is First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit.  An applicant may identify in more than one category.  If the applicant identifies as a First Nations Aboriginal, the applicant is also asked if they are registered under the Indian Act of Canada (i.e., status or non-status Indian). 

Answering these questions is completely voluntary and does not affect the eligibility decision for income, disability or hardship assistance.  Both the primary applicant and the spouse are asked to answer the questions.

The purpose of these questions is to:

  • refer Aboriginal persons to programs and services better designed to meet their needs
  • create services better designed to meet the needs of Aboriginal persons and respect Aboriginal culture; and
  • to determine how well ministry policies and programs assist Aboriginal persons

Note:   Recipients will be asked to complete the Aboriginal Self-Identifier form (HR3187) at an Eligibility Review if not previously completed.

Effective: September 1, 2016

Recipients of Medical Services Only (MSO) who are requesting income assistance, disability assistance (except those who left for exceeding their Annual Earnings Exemption limit) or hardship assistance will be required to complete a reapplication, rather than complete the Application for Assistance. [For more information, see Related Links – Eligibility Review.]

Recipients who leave disability assistance as a result of employment income and become eligible for MSO should continue to submit monthly reports in order for the ministry to re-establish eligibility for disability assistance when:

  1. the client’s income falls below the disability assistance rate; or
  2. the client is eligible for an annual earnings exemption in the new calendar year

If a client does not continue to submit monthly reports while they are receiving MSO, they will be required to complete a reapplication.

Examples:

1) A disability assistance recipient reaches their family unit’s Annual Earnings Exemption limit in August and becomes eligible for MSO for the remainder of the calendar year. The client continues to submit monthly reports to the ministry. In November, the client stops working and their income falls below the disability assistance rate. The ministry re-establishes the client’s financial eligibility and the client returns to disability assistance.

2) A disability assistance recipient reaches their family unit’s Annual Earnings Exemption limit in June and becomes eligible for MSO for the remainder of the calendar year. The client continues to submit monthly reports to the ministry. In March of the following year, the client is eligible for an annual earnings exemption and returns to disability assistance.

Procedures

Effective: February 27, 2017

When Completing an Application for Assistance through My Self Serve

To complete an Application for Assistance documents are required to validate an electronic signature [See Related Links – Identification Requirements – Policy - Identification Required to Validate Electronic Signature].

An applicant is required to register for My Self Serve (MySS) and complete the online Application for Assistance. The steps below can be used to create an application:

Applicant

1.

Navigate to the MySS Launch Page and create or log into a previous MySS account.

 

2.

An email confirmation link will be sent to activate a new account. This will enable the applicant to create a 4 digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). This PIN will be an electronic signature when documents are signed in MySS.

 

3.

Create a BCeID and password and log into MySS.

 

4.

Navigate to the Service Request section in MySS and begin a new Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080).

 

5.

The Application for Assistance allows for the option to upload documents and save in-progress at any time. A Documentation Checklist summary will be presented at the end of an application showing uploaded and outstanding documents.

 

6.

When complete, use the previously created 4 digit PIN to sign and submit the Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) which includes consents (HR0080B), rights, responsibilities, and declaration.

EAW

1.

Review the Application for Assistance, documents and work search. If more information is needed, communicate with the applicant through MySS messaging, phone, email or in person.

 

Supported Intake - When Completing an Application for Assistance

If an applicant is unable to register for MySS or complete the online Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) (i.e. due to lack of internet access or no SIN), the steps below can be used to create an application:

EAW

1.

Upon notification from an applicant, the point of contact will create a Service Request for an assisted application.

 

2.

An EAW contacts the applicant and enters information on their behalf in the Application for Assistance.

 

3.

Verbal consent is obtained using the Application for Assistance - Verbal Consent (HR0080A).

 

4.

A completed Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) is submitted.

 

5.

A Documentation Checklist summary, listing the outstanding documents required, is provided to the applicant.

Applicant 

1.

Submit required supporting documents in person, by fax or mail.

 

2.

Attends a local office to sign the Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) and Application for Assistance - Consents (Part 1 HR0080B).

If the applicant is unable to come into the office to sign the consents, the applicant is advised to sign the consents in the presence of a trusted third party (for example, a government agent) that will validate the documents and authenticate the person’s identity.

Note:  In exceptional circumstances when an applicant is unable to reach an EAW/ministry staff or a trusted third party, the ministry may accept witness signatures from members in the following groups:

•           other government staff; or

•           prescribed professionals (see EAPWD Regulation, Section 2(2)).

Note: If the applicant is a 17-year-old applying for the PWD designation, and does not have the capacity or cannot attend the office due to a physical or mental impairment, the parent/guardian may complete and sign the application on the applicant’s behalf. If the applicant is a 17-year-old applying for PWD designation through Youth Transition program, the ministry may accept the package without a witness signature.

EAW

1.

Review the Application for Assistance, documents and work search. If more information is needed, communicate with the applicant via phone, email or in person.

Effective: September 1, 2016

[For more information, see Related Links – Monthly Reporting Requirements; Eligibility Review.]

Effective: June 26, 2009

For clients with language barriers who are unable to comprehend or communicate through written or spoken English, the ministry can provide access to contracted interpretation services by telephone and, on a case-by-case basis, in person. 

[For information on how to access interpretation services, see Related Links – Individual Case Management.] 

 

Effective: February 27, 2017

The collection, use and disclosure of personal information is subject to the provisions of the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  The Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) has been designed to gather the information needed to administer the BC Employment and Assistance program.

The applicant and dependent spouse (if applicable) are required to complete the Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) [see Forms and Letters].  The application contains the following:

  • a section to provide basic information, including the applicant's name, social insurance number, and birth date.
  • Make sure applicants understand that in signing the application using their four digit PIN they are giving the ministry legal permission to obtain taxpayer information held by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • an authorization for verbal consent to allow the ministry to proceed with the application for 5 business days.
  • a notification that the ministry may wish to contact the applicant at a later date to participate in an employment research survey project, if applicable, and that participation in the project is voluntary.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question   Does an applicant who wishes to apply for disability assistance have to apply for income assistance before applying for disability assistance?

Answer   No.  Income assistance and disability assistance are administered under two different acts.  An applicant is not required to apply for income assistance prior to applying for disability assistance.  However, an applicant may choose to apply for income assistance and disability assistance at the same time because, if eligible, they may receive income assistance while awaiting the outcome of their PWD designation application.  Applicants who wish to apply for disability assistance (and the PWD designation) but not income assistance are still required to submit the Application for Assistance and to meet all of the eligibility requirements for disability assistance.

 

Question   Will the ASI information be used in any other way?

Answer   The data will be used to determine the effectiveness of programs and services and to design new programs.

It will be used for research to identify trends and outcomes for Aboriginal persons and to measure progress in closing the socioeconomic gap.

Aboriginal data and personal information collected will not be used to do eligibility-related data matches with any other federal or provincial programs.