Immediate Needs – Work Search Required

Overview

Hardship assistance is provided to applicants for income assistance who meet all other conditions of eligibility for assistance except they have an immediate need for food, shelter or urgent medical assistance and they haven’t completed the required work search requirements.  This category of hardship assistance is called Immediate Needs – Work Search Required.

Hardship assistance is provided on a temporary basis, for only one month.  If further hardship assistance is required, eligibility must be re-established each month.

Hardship assistance in this category is limited to three consecutive months during which time clients are expected complete a three- or five-week work search as directed by the minister.  If the family unit fails to complete the required work search within 3 months or ceases to take the steps to satisfy the work search requirement, they are ineligible for continued hardship assistance and their case will be closed. After the recipient’s case has been closed, they are able to reapply for assistance if still in need. If they reapply for assistance, they will begin at Stage 1 of the application process and will be required to meet the work search requirements.

Immediate Needs – Work Search Required is available to applicants and recipients under the Employment and Assistance Regulation.  Applicants eligible under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulations are exempt from the work search requirement when a member of the family unit has the Persons with Disabilities designation.

Policy

Effective: October 1, 2012

Hardship Assistance issued under Immediate Needs – Work Search Required is available to an applicant or any person in the family unit who has an immediate need for food, shelter, or urgent medical attention and has not met the work search requirement.

Hardship assistance is provided on a temporary, month-to-month basis.  If further hardship assistance is required, eligibility must be re-established each month.  Clients are not required to demonstrate that they are in immediate need for food, shelter or urgent medical attention each month. All cheques will be automatically directed to the local office for a monthly review of eligibility.

Hardship assistance in this category is limited to three consecutive months during which time clients are expected to complete their work search as directed by the minister. If the family unit fails to complete the required work search within three months or ceases to take the steps to satisfy the work search requirement, they are ineligible for continued hardship assistance and their case will be closed. After the recipient’s case has been closed, they are able to reapply for assistance if still in need. If they reapply for assistance, they will begin at Stage 1 of the application process and will be required to meet the work search requirements.

Applicants must be advised upon application of the duration limits.

Hardship assistance issued under this category is not repayable.

Once the work search requirement for the family unit has been completed, cases must be re-assessed to determine if the family unit meets the eligibility criteria for income assistance.

[For more information on immediate needs assessment and work search requirements, see Related Links – Immediate Needs and Work Search.]

Effective: October 1, 2012

The duration of the work search is dependent on whether the applicant has previously been in receipt of income assistance or disability assistance.

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 who have previously received either income or disability assistance and who are now reapplying for assistance are required to complete or demonstrate that they have completed a satisfactory work search lasting three weeks.

In cases where either the applicant or spouse is a former recipient, the length of the work search required for both is three weeks.

[For more information on work search requirements, see Related Links – Work Search].

Effective: October 1, 2012

Recipients of hardship assistance under Immediate Needs – Work Search Required who do not complete their required work search, as directed by the minister, within three months are not eligible for continued hardship assistance and their case will be closed.   If they reapply for assistance, they will begin at Stage 1 of the application process and will be required to meet the work search requirements. After the recipient’s case has been closed, they are able to reapply for assistance if still in need.  If the family unit reapplies for assistance, they will be required to meet all eligibility requirements as outlined in BC Employment and Assistance Stage 1 – Application, including the requirement to complete a reasonable work search.

If the applicant is in immediate need for food, shelter or urgent medical attention, they may be eligible for hardship assistance under Immediate Needs – Work Search Required.

If they have not previously received income assistance or disability assistance, they are required to complete a five-week work search. Former recipients who have only ever received hardship assistance are required to complete a five-week work search.

[see Related Links – BC Employment and Assistance Application – Stage 1 – Prospecting, Immediate Needs and Work Search]

Effective: October 1, 2012

Applicant is a Pre-release Prisoner – As part of pre-release planning, prisoners will be assessed as having an immediate need for food, shelter or urgent medical attention upon release.  The applicant will proceed directly to Stage 2 of the application process and be assessed for hardship assistance – Immediate Needs – Work Search Required.  Once eligibility is determined, an appointment should be booked to review the work search with the recipient to ensure it is completed within three months. 

Procedures

Effective: October 1, 2012

To issue hardship assistance under Immediate Needs – Work Search Required:
 

  • Run the Assisted Eligibility Tool to ensure the applicant meets all other conditions of eligibility for hardship.
  • Advise applicant/recipient that hardship issued under this category has a three-month maximum.
  • Provide hardship assistance on a month-to-month basis for recipients who have an immediate need and cannot demonstrate that a three- or five-week work search has been completed.
  • Close the case (mandatory) if the recipient has not met the work search requirements within three months.
  • If the client ceases to take the steps necessary to satisfy the work search requirement, the case will be closed.  Written reasons for the decision are to be offered to the client.

Do not issue regular income assistance if the work search is not complete. 

Once the work search requirement for the family unit has been completed, re-assess to determine if the family unit meets the eligibility criteria for income assistance and update the case.

[For information on how to determine hardship assistance rates, see Related Links – Eligibility for Hardship Assistance – Policy – Amount of Hardship Assistance.]

Effective: October 1, 2012

Manual Case Closure

The EAW must manually close the hardship case after three consecutive months to ensure a client who has not completed their work search requirements does not obtain income assistance.

Use close reason “Fail to complete 3/5WWS.”

Example 1 

On October 5 an applicant applies for income assistance, and the EAW determines that the individual has an immediate need and has not completed the required work search.  Hardship is issued for October (partial benefit month), as well as for November and December.  EAW determines at December cut-off that the recipient had not completed required work search and case is closed.  No benefits would be issued in January.

Example 2

On October 5 an applicant applies for income assistance, and the EAW determines that the individual has an immediate need and has not completed the required work search.  Hardship is issued for October.  The three-month count starts in October even if the case remains open and the recipient did not receive assistance in the subsequent two months. At the end of December the case is closed.  If the client requests assistance in January, they must re-apply.

Example 3

On October 5 an applicant applies for income assistance, and the EAW determines that the individual has an immediate need and has not completed the required work search.  Hardship is issued for October (partial benefit month). 

When the client returns to re-establish hardship eligibility for the month of November, the client refuses to complete the required work search.  EAW advises the client that they are no longer eligible for hardship assistance and closes the case, unless there has been a change in circumstances and the client now agrees to comply with the work search requirement or qualifies for an exemption from the work search requirements.