Child Benefits Top-up Supplement

Overview

Child benefits are provided to BCEA clients by the federal and provincial governments. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is the primary federal financial benefit for families with dependent children. In addition, families may receive the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit (BCECTB) and the BC Basic Family Bonus. All child benefits are administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in a single monthly payment (the child benefits cheque). Families must file their income tax return each year in order to receive child benefits.

The child benefits top-up supplement is a provincial government benefit, administered by the BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA) program, designed to support BCEA families with dependent children in the following circumstances:

  • Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement - may be provided when a family unit’s federal child benefit payment is delayed, cancelled, or suspended.
  • Automatic Child Benefits Top-up Supplement - may be provided when a family unit’s CCB payment is less than the child benefits top-up supplement.
  • Repayable Child Benefits Top-up Supplement - may be provided when a family unit’s child benefits cheque is lost or stolen. Only the federal portion of the cheque is eligible.

BCEA families with dependent children under 2 months of age or who have reached their 18th birthday are not eligible for the child benefits administered by CRA, and are not eligible for the temporary or automatic child benefit top-ups. These clients may receive an increase in their BCEA support allowance in lieu of child benefits [see Policy – Increased Support Allowance in Lieu of Canada Child Benefit].  

The child benefits top-up supplement is available through the Employment and Assistance Regulation and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

[For the child benefits top-up supplement amount, see Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement].

Policy

Effective: July 1, 2017

The temporary child benefits top-up supplement, for a portion of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), may be provided if a family unit’s child benefits cheque is delayed, cancelled, or suspended under the federal Income Tax Act.

The temporary child benefits top-up supplement must not exceed the child benefits top-up supplement amount for each eligible dependent child.

Family units must file their income tax return (and make an application for CCB when adding a child/newborn) to be eligible for the temporary child benefits top-up supplement.

The temporary child benefits top-up supplement may be provided for up to four months. This may be extended for an additional four months in extenuating circumstances and if the parent pursues their application for CCB.

The temporary child benefits top-up supplement is available to family units eligible for income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance.

The temporary child benefits top-up supplement is also available to Refugee Claimants and clients in Canada under a Temporary Resident Permit.  The temporary child benefits top-up supplement may be provided until a client meets the 18-month residency requirement for CCB as required by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  Subsequent to fulfilling the residency requirement, eligibility for the temporary child benefits top-up supplement is based on the family unit filing their taxes and applying for the CCB.

When calculating manual top-ups to child benefit amounts, the amount shown in the ministry's system should always be used to ensure the client receives the maximum benefit. If this amount differs from information provided by the client (e.g., a notice from CRA or a bank statement), always use the amount shown in the ministry's system. The system amount is also used to calculate automatic child benefit top-ups.

[For the child benefits top-up supplement amount, see Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement]

[For information on the income treatment and exemptions of CCB or retroactive CCB/Family Bonus payments, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions – Policy – Canada Child Benefit.]

Effective: July 1, 2017

The automatic child benefits top-up supplement is provided if a family unit’s child benefits payment is less than the child benefits top-up supplement. For example, the family unit’s scheduled child benefits payment may be reduced to less than the child benefits top-up supplement amount if the family had net income over the established child benefit threshold in the previous tax year.

The automatic child benefits top-up supplement is equal to the child benefits top-up supplement minus the actual child benefits payment.

Only those children in the BCEA family unit who are eligible for child benefits will be eligible for the automatic child benefits top-up supplement.

[For the child benefits top-up supplement amount, see Rate Table: General Supplements – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement]

 

Advance for Lost or Stolen Child Benefit Cheques

Effective : July 1, 2017

The repayable child benefits top-up supplement may be issued to replace a portion of an unendorsed child benefits cheque that has been lost or stolen. 

The repayable child benefits top-up supplement must not exceed the child benefits top-up supplement amount for each eligible dependent child.

BCEA recipients must apply for a replacement of the lost or stolen child benefits cheque with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to be eligible for the repayable child benefits top-up supplement.

The replacement child benefits top-up supplement will not be issued if the recipient refuses to pursue federal replacement of the lost or stolen child benefits cheque.

A Repayment Agreement must be signed and the BCEA recipient must be notified that the entire amount will automatically be recovered from the next month's assistance entitlement.  If not fully recovered, the balance will be recovered from subsequent assistance payments or must be repaid by the recipient.

The repayable child benefits top-up supplement as a portion of lost or stolen child benefits cheque must not be replaced until five business days after the child benefits cheque issue date. 

[For the child benefits top-up supplement amount, see Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement].

Not Eligible

A repayable child benefits top-up supplement may not be issued to replace a lost or stolen child benefits cheque attributable to a child for whom Child in Home of Relative (CIHR) assistance is paid.

 

Effective: July 1, 2017

An increase in the BCEA support allowance may be provided to family units with dependent children under 2 months of age or who have reached their 18th birthday. Families are not eligible for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)  for these dependent children.

An increase in the family unit’s support allowance, up to the child benefits top-up supplement amount shown in Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement will automatically be added to a family unit’s monthly assistance payment:
 

  • for each newborn dependent child, for the calendar month in which the child is born and the next calendar month
  • for each dependent child over 18 years of age, effective the second month following the child’s 18th birthday.  (If the child reaches the age of 19 while still attending secondary school, the family unit will continue to receive the increased support allowance until the end of the school year, as long as the child remains in school.)

Effective: July 1, 2017

A family unit is not eligible to receive a child benefits top-up supplement or increased BCEA support allowance if any of the following apply:
 

  • the child for whom the child benefits top-up supplement/increased BCEA support allowance is requested is not a dependant on the family’s case
  • the recipient is a Child in the Home of a Relative
  • the family fails to file a tax return or submit any required notification to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in order to establish entitlement to child benefits
  • the family’s child benefits payments have been reduced as a result of a child benefits overpayment, or because the family has elected to redirect some of the child beneftis to pay a federal debt.  In this case, the interface system will consider the amount of child benefits the family would have received without the reduction as the actual amount received. The federal government may deduct up to 50 per cent of the scheduled monthly child benefits amount for debt recovery. Recipients whose child benefits cheques are being reduced due to debt recovery may be referred to their local CRA office to discuss the possibility of minimizing the amount being recovered. 

Effective: July 1, 2017

Families must file their income tax return by April 30th each year in order to receive the monthly child benefits payments from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). A delay in filing an income tax return may result in a delay, cancellation or suspension of monthly child benefits payments.

Once a late income tax return has been processed by the CRA, the family unit may receive a retroactive or lump sum child benefits payment. 

This retroactive child benefits payment is exempt as income and an asset when determining eligibility for assistance. 

However, where a family unit receives a retroactive child benefits payment for the months for which they also received a temporary child benefits top-up supplement or the temporary Family Bonus top-up supplement, the amount of the income exemption will be reduced by the amount paid via the temporary child benefits top-up supplement or the former temporary top-up supplement. The reduced amount paid via the temporary child benefits top-up supplement or the former Temporary Top-Up Supplement is considered “unearned” income under the Employment and Assistance Regulation and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

The maximum reduction will be the lesser of:

  • The amount of the child benefits  retroactive payment or former FB retroactive payment, and
  • The amount provided via the temporary child benefits top-up supplement or the former temporary FB top-up supplement

The maximum reduction will not exceed one month’s assistance for the family unit. 

Note: The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) year runs from July 1 to June 30.  Any child benefits payments received from July to June of the current year are based on the information from the income tax return filed for the previous calendar year.

Case example #1 - Retroactive payment is less than total temporary child benefits top-up supplement or total former temporary FB top up supplement issued

Sandra has one child.  She is receiving assistance (support and shelter) of $877.22 per month. She filed her taxes in July and is not yet receiving monthly child benefits or former FB payments. A Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement or former Temporary FB Top-up Supplement was issued for July, August, September, and October, totaling $551.91. At the end of October, she received a child benefits or former FB retroactive payment in the amount of $500. The deduction from her assistance for November is $500, since the retroactive payment was less than what was issued via the temporary child benefits top-up supplement or former temporary FB top up supplement.

Income Assistance (IA) cheque calculation:

$877.22 - $500 = $377.22
(Total IA) - (retroactive child benefits or former FB payment) = IA cheque amount

Case example #2 – Retroactive payment is more than total temporary child benefits top-up supplement or total temporary FB top-up issued

Joe has one child and applied for assistance on July 28, and is receiving assistance (support and shelter) of $877.22 per month. He filed his taxes late and is not yet receiving monthly child benefits or former FB payments. A Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement or Temporary FB Top-up Supplement was issued for August, September, and October, totaling $428.41. At the end of October, he received a Family Bonus retroactive payment in the amount of $1,500. The deduction from his assistance for November is $428.41, which equals the amount of temporary child benefits top-up supplement or former temporary FB top-up supplement issued to him for the months since July. The balance of the retroactive payment ($1071.59) is exempt.

Income Assistance (IA) cheque calculation:

$877.22 - $428.41 = $448.81
(Total IA) - (temporary child benefits top-up supplement or former FB temporary top up payments since July) = IA cheque amount

Case example #3 – Both the retroactive payment and amount of temporary top-up issued exceed the total amount of assistance – IA cheque reduced to zero

Anna and Sam have four children and receive $1101.06 monthly in support and shelter plus a diet supplement of $40, for a total assistance amount of $1141.06. They filed their taxes late and received a Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement or Temporary FB Top-up Supplement of $494 per month for Jul/Aug/Sep, and $647.25 for Oct, for a total payment of $2129.25.  In late October, they receive a child benefits or FB retroactive payment of $3400. The deduction from their November assistance is $1141.06. The amount of the deduction is capped at the amount of one month’s assistance. The family unit is not eligible for November, but there is no further debt or reduction in relation to the child benefits or FB retroactive payment. Unless there are other changes in circumstances, they are eligible for December assistance.

Income Assistance (IA) cheque calculation:

$1141.06 - $2129.25 = $0
(Total IA) - (temporary child benefits top-up supplement or temporary FB top up supplement payments since July) = IA cheque amount

Case example #4 – No Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement or former temporary FB Top-up Supplement issued and retro payment is fully exempt

Sue began receiving assistance in April, shortly after her children went to live with their father. She is receiving $610 per month as a single person and has not received any temporary child benefits top-up supplement or former temporary FB top up supplement. In November, she received a retroactive child benefits or former FB payment owed to her for the period her children were with her, in the amount of $1400. Since Sue did not receive any temporary child benefits top-up supplement or former Temporary FB Top-up Supplement, the child benefits or FB retroactive payment is fully exempt.

[For more information on the income treatment and exemptions of CCB, child benefits top-up supplement or retroactive CCB/FB payments, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions – Policy – Canada Child Benefit].

 

Canada Child Benefit or Child Benefits Top-up Supplement in Shared Parenting Situations

Effective: July 1, 2017

Parents in shared parenting situations are expected to make their own arrangements for sharing any portion of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) or the child benefits supplement.

[For information on the treatment of CCB or child benefits top-up supplement payments in such circumstances, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions – Policy – Canada Child Benefit].

Effective: July 1, 2017

Child benefits payments made by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for a child who is not living with the family are exempt from the calculation of assistance for BC Employment and Assistance. Such payments are considered overpayments by the federal government and may be recovered from the parent’s subsequent child benefits cheques or other tax credits.

Procedures

Effective: July 1, 2017

When a case is opened or a child is added to a case, view the information displayed on the system, which is received from a data match with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  The system update will generally occur overnight, once a case is opened or the child is added. 

The system allows staff to determine whether or not the CRA information has been updated.  Once the information has been updated, the system will show the status as “matched.” Do not issue the child benefits top-up supplement until the system has been updated with the “matched” status and Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is not in pay.

Note:  If the family unit is eligible, support and shelter can be issued prior to the data match with CRA.  Determination of eligibility for the child benefits top-up supplement must wait for the data match information on the system. 

Effective: July 1, 2017

In cases where a family unit has dependent children on the case (excluding infants who are 2 months of age or younger, or who have reached their 18th birthday) and they are not receiving Canada Child Benefit (CCB), provide the “Child Benefits Top-up Supplement” template letter (HR2949) to the client [see Forms and Letters].

If there is a discrepancy between the number of dependent children on the case and the number shown by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on the system, contact the client to resolve the discrepancy. If CRA is issuing Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments to the family unit for a child who is not a dependant on the BCEA case, then the amount paid by CRA for that child is not considered income and should not be included in any income or supplement calculations.

The temporary child benefits top-up supplement may be issued once the family unit has provided proof that they have filed their taxes and applied for the CCB (when adding a child/newborn). 

If a family unit is eligible for a temporary child benefits top-up supplement, complete the following steps:

  • Enter the child benefits top-up supplement on the system. Run Assisted Eligibility and indicate the number of children currently in receipt of the CCB and the amount of child benefits top-up supplement requested. The system will calculate the maximum temporary child benefits top-up supplement for which the family is eligible.
  • The system will add a cancel date of four months.  The child benefits top-up supplement will be cancelled automatically after that time, but can be re-entered if the CCB is still not in pay and there are extenuating circumstances, provided the recipient has provided proof of application for CCB. If issuing for the current month through a one time payment, adjust the cancel date to the fourth month including the current month.
  • Advise the client that any retroactive CCB payment amounts they receive from CRA will be exempt as income, minus the amount provided under the temporary child benefits top-up supplement.
  • In cases where the family unit does not meet CRA’s 18-month residency requirement, the four-month limit for the child benefits top-up supplement does not apply. The supplement may be issued until the residency requirement has been met. When nearing the end of the 18-month period, advise the client that they must file their income tax return and apply for the CCB. The temporary supplement received while waiting to meet the CRA residency requirement will not impact the amount of the income exemption if the family unit receives a retroactive CCB payment in the future.
  • After the 18-month residency has been met, if the CCB is not in pay for the family unit, follow procedures for issuing the temporary child benefits top-up supplement as set out above. The client should be advised they must submit an application for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). Also advise the client that the retroactive CCB payment amounts received from CRA will be exempt as income, less the amount provided by the temporary child benefits top-up supplement, while they are waiting for their CCB application to be processed. 

Effective: July 1, 2017

If a family unit is eligible for an automatic child benefits top-up supplement, the system will automatically calculate the amount of the supplement based on current child benefits top-up supplement rates per child, as outlined in Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement, and add that amount to the family’s assistance for that month.  In cases where this has not occurred due to the child being added to the case after the system has already issued assistance for the month, the child benefits top-up supplement may be issued through a one time payment.

To issue a one time payment, complete the following steps:
 

  • Review the system to determine the amount of the child benefits top-up supplement. If the system does not display an amount, the family unit is not eligible for the supplement.
  • Review all payments issued for the month to ensure the supplement has not previously been issued.
  • Issue the supplement through a one-time payment.  The amount must not exceed the amount displayed on the system.
  • No ongoing adjustment is required –the system will automatically issue the supplement, if the family unit is eligible, on the next month’s assistance cheque.

 [For more information on methods of payment, see Related Links – Individual Case Management.]

Effective: July 1, 2017

When a recipient reports a lost or stolen unendorsed Canada Child Benefit (CCB) cheque, follow these steps:

  1. Complete a Repayment Agreement (HR2684). [see Forms and Letters]
  2. Advise the recipient to contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to initiate a request for a replacement cheque
  3. Advise recipient that this advance will be fully recovered from subsequent assistance payments or repaid if they no longer require assistance.

Note:  The repayable child benefits top-up supplement cannot be issued until five business days after the CCB cheque issue date. 

A repayable child benefit supplement may not be issued to replace a lost or stolen CCB cheque attributable to a child for whom Child in Home of Relative (CIHR) assistance is paid.

[For more information on repayment agreements, see Related Links – Recoveries – Policy – Repayment Agreements – Repayable Benefits by Deduction from Ongoing Assistance.]

Effective: July 1, 2017

If a family unit is eligible for an increased support allowance due to a child being under 2 months or over 18 years of age, the system will automatically calculate the amount of the increase, based on current child benefits top-up supplement rates per child, as outlined in Rate Table: General Supplements- Child Benefits Top-up Supplement, and add that amount to the support allowance included in the family unit’s assistance cheque for the month. In cases where this has not occurred due to the child being added to the case after the system has already issued assistance for the month, the additional support allowance may be issued through a one time payment. 

To issue the amount through a one time payment, complete the following steps:

  • Review the assistance issued by the system for the current month and compare it to the amounts shown in the Rate Tables to confirm that the support allowance was not automatically increased.
  • If the support allowance did not include the increased amount, issue the difference through a one time payment. 
  • No ongoing adjustment is required –the system will automatically issue the support increase, if the family unit is eligible, on the next month’s assistance cheque.

[For more information on methods of payment, see Related Links – Individual Case Management.]

Effective: July 1, 2017

A Parenting Dependant Child (PDC) may be eligible for the child benefits top-up supplement if their Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment is less than the child benefits top-up supplement. However, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) data match does not provide information on CCB payments made to dependent children.

In situations where the PDC is receiving CCB that is less than the maximum child benefits top-up supplement amount no automatic child benefits top-up supplement can be paid, as it is dependent upon information from the CRA data match. For a PDC in a Three-Generation Family, any child benefits top-up supplement payments must be issued under Family Bonus Temporary Top-Up.

Automatic Child Benefits Top-up Supplement

If the family unit is not receiving the maximum CCB equivalent to the child benefits top-up supplement for the child, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain CRA document from PDC or PDC’s parent to verify the amount of CCB being paid for the child 
  2. If the amount paid is less than the child benefits top-up supplement due to earnings in the previous year, issue child benefits top-up supplement based on current rates per child, as outlined in Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs-Child Benefits Top-up Supplement. 
  3. Set expiry date to no later than the following June
  4. Prior to issuing past June, obtain new CRA information to verify the new amount of CCB being paid for the child, based on the prior taxation year

Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement

In cases where the CCB is not being paid due to late filing of income taxes, issue temporary child benefits top-up supplement if:

  • The PDC provides proof that they have filed taxes, and
  • The PDC provides confirmation the CCB is not yet being paid.

When issuing temporary child benefits top-up supplement for three-generation families ensure to keep detailed notes to assist with calculation of FB retro-payment exemption. For more information see Procedures, Issuing the Temporary Child Benefits Top-up Supplement. 

[For the child benefits top-up supplement amount, see Rate Table: General Supplements and Programs – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement]