Support, Shelter & Special Care Facilities

Overview

Assistance is provided to eligible family units in one of four ways:

  • Support
  • Support and Shelter
  • Room and Board
  • Special Care Facility User Charges and Comforts Allowance

Assistance is issued based on the amounts (rates) and eligibility criteria prescribed in the Employment and Assistance Act and Regulation and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and Regulation. This legislation together with ministry policies gives guidance to staff about providing assistance in special circumstances.

On a yearly basis, the ministry establishes a schedule of dates for issuing monthly assistance. Rates for income assistance, disability assistance, and hardship assistance are established in regulation and consist of amounts for support and shelter.

Policy

 

Effective: May 25, 2015

Assistance is provided to eligible family units in one of four ways:

  • Support
  • Support and Shelter
  • Room and Board
  • Special Care Facility User Charges and Comforts Allowance

The intent is to provide assistance of no more than the prescribed rates for the applicable situation after deducting any non-exempt income of the family unit.  [For more information, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions.]  Assistance is issued for items or costs authorized in the applicable Act or regulation to the level required for meeting basic needs.

Applicants found ineligible for income assistance or disability assistance may be assessed for hardship assistance.  [For more information, see Related Links – Eligibility for Hardship Assistance.]

For information on dates pertaining to monthly cheque issue, see Additional Resources – BC Employment and Assistance Cheque Issue Dates.

Effective: November 25, 2008

Support allowance in the amount shown in Rate Table – Income Assistance – Support Rate [see Rate Tables] is paid to recipients. The support allowance is prorated based on the number of days remaining in a calendar month, beginning with the date of application.

Note:  Clients in emergency shelters or transition houses are eligible for the support allowance.

Family Bonus Top-up

For information about the family bonus top-up, see Related Links – Family Bonus Supplement.

Effective: May 25, 2015

Shelter Definitions

For definitions that are relevant to the discussion of shelter allowance, such as "rent," "landlord," "tenant," "hotel," and "residential premises," see Residential Tenancy Act under Additional Resources – Residential Tenancy Office.

For the purposes of determining the applicable shelter allowance, a family unit includes a child who is not a dependent child and who resides in the parent’s place of residence for not less than 40% of each month, under the terms of a court order or an agreement filed in a court in BC.  [For the legal reference, consult the EA Regulation, Schedule A 4(1) or the EAPWD Regulation, Schedule A 4(1).]

Allowable Shelter Costs

When calculating the actual shelter costs of an eligible family unit, only the following items may be included:

  • rent for the family unit’s place of residence
  • if the family unit’s place of residence is owned by a person in the family unit, any of the following costs for the place of residence:
    • mortgage payments
    • a house insurance premium
    • property taxes
    • with the minister’s prior approval, the actual cost of maintenance and repairs [see Policy – Home Maintenance and Repairs]
  • any of the following utility costs:
    • fuel for cooking or heating
    • water
    • hydro
    • garbage disposal provided by a company on a regular weekly or bi-weekly basis
    • rental of one basic residential single-line telephone

In addition to the shelter costs above, both of the following can be included in calculating shelter costs (to the maximum shelter allowance) for a family unit:

  • monthly strata corporation assessment fees for a residence owned and lived in by the client
  • a house insurance premium for co-op and strata owners

If utility costs fluctuate, they may be averaged over the following two time periods:

  • October 1 to March 31
  • April 1 to September 30

Documentation of actual shelter arrangements and costs must be provided by the client and scanned and profiled to the client's case.

Note: Regardless of their actual shelter costs, eligible family units of two or more that include someone receiving Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) are entitled to a maximum shelter rate for the family size in Rate Tables – Income Assistance or Disability Assistance [see Rate Tables]. 

This provision applies regardless of whether the family unit is sharing residential accommodation or is receiving room and board.

Shared Residence

If two or more eligible family units share the same place of residence, the actual shelter costs of any one of the units is the lesser of the following:

  • the calculation of the following steps:
  1. dividing the actual shelter costs for all of the family units by the number of persons occupying the residence
  2. multiplying the result by the number of persons in that one family unit
  • the amount declared by the family unit as its shelter cost

Re-mortgaging

Re-mortgaging can be approved prior to the end of the mortgage term by the Supervisor.  Clients must be informed that if they are re-mortgaging prior to the end of the mortgage term, any increases in mortgage payments will not result in an increase in the shelter allowance even if they are currently receiving less than the family unit’s maximum shelter rate.

Home Maintenance and Repairs

Home maintenance and repair costs referred to in Schedule A, section 5 (2)(f) mean only those essential items of protection, replacement, and repair that are part of the physical structure of the recipient’s home.  The costs may be prorated to future months, provided eligibility to include these costs continues.  Schedule A stipulates that prior approval must be given by the minister (EAWs are the delegated authority) for home maintenance costs.

This category of costs does not include replacement of, or repairs to, appliances or decorative items.

Transients

Support allowance is provided to transients for the cost of food. Shelter allowance for transients is based on the actual cost of housing in a hostel, if one exists in the community.

Effective: June 1, 2010

An eligible family unit that is living in a room and board situation (other than in a special care facility or with a parent or child of a person in the family unit) is eligible to receive the smaller of the following amounts:

  • the sum of the actual cost of room and board plus the amounts shown in Rate Table: Room and Board, Special Care Facility and Comforts [see Rate Tables] for each client and dependent child in the family unit
  • the amount calculated under Schedule A for the applicable family unit size

Room and Board with Parent or Child

An eligible family unit living in a room and board situation with a parent or child of a person in the family unit is only eligible to receive the support allowance applicable to the family unit (that is, the family unit is not eligible for shelter allowance). [For the support rates, see Rate Tables – Income Assistance, Disability Assistance or Hardship Assistance.]

Effective: May 25, 2015

For an eligible recipient who receives accommodation and care in a special care facility, the ministry pays a user charge to the facility on behalf of the recipient and a $95 comforts allowance to the person. The ministry pays different user charge rates depending on the type of special care facility, as shown in Rate Table – Room and Board, Special Care Facility and Comforts [see Rate Tables].

An eligible family unit cannot receive a full support allowance and a comforts allowance in the same month. There are 2 scenarios in which a family unit may receive a partial support allowance and a comforts allowance in the same month:
 

  • a recipient leaves a facility during a month for which they have received a comforts allowance. For an example of how to calculate a partial support allowance for this circumstance, see Case Example #1 in this section.
  • a recipient with a spouse and/or dependants temporarily leaves the family unit to receive care in a special care facility, see Related Links – Family Composition – Temporarily Reduced Family Unit. For an example of how to calculate a partial support allowance for this circumstance, see Case Example #2 in this section.

In the two scenarios above, the amount of a family unit’s partial support allowance plus the comforts allowance should not exceed their maximum support allowance rate.

If a recipient enters a special care facility during a month for which they have received a full support allowance, they are not eligible for a comforts allowance.

To qualify as a special care facility, facilities must be either a residential care or assisted living facility as outlined below [see Additional Resources for a printable Facilities Overview].

If a recipient is residing in a facility that does not qualify as a special care facility, the ministry cannot pay user charges, but can pay an eligible recipient a support allowance and shelter allowance, or room and board.

Residential Care

Residential care facilities provide a higher level of care than assisted living facilities. There are three types of residential care facilities: community care, mental health, and substance use.

Residential Community Care Facilities

Facility Setting

Short-Term Residential Care

Convalescent care, respite care, and hospice care

Hospital Providing Residential Care (1)

Private Hospital

Residential Care

Family Care Homes (provides same high level of service, but only to 1-2 people)

Licensing / Registration

Licensed under CCAL Act

Licensed under Hospital Act

Licensed under CCAL Act

License under CCAL Act not required

SDSI user charge

$991.20 per month + $95 comforts

Or

$32.50 per day + $95 comforts

SDSI Regulatory authority

Licensed under the CCAL Act

Extended care beds under Hospital Act

Private Hospitals licensed under Hospital Act

Licensed under the CCAL Act

Specialized adult residential care settings approved by the minister of SDSI for which a license under the CCAL Act is not required

  1. The Ministry of Health applies user charges to patients who occupy a hospital bed, but who no longer require acute care and have been assessed as requiring long-term residential care services. 

Persons receiving acute care in hospital beds under the Hospital Act are not eligible for ministry user charges and comforts.

The ministry may provide the shelter allowance for eligible recipients to allow the recipient to maintain their usual place of residence shelter while in hospital [see Related Links – Family Composition – Temporarily Reduced Family Unit].

Residential Mental Health Facilities

Facility Setting

Mental Health Residential Care

Provincial Mental Health Facility (1)

Mental Health and Substance Use Residential Tertiary Care Units

Mental Health Family Care Homes

(provides same high level of service, but only to 1-2 people)

Licensing / Registration

Licensed under CCAL Act

Designated under section 3(1) of the Mental Health Act as provincial mental health facilities

License under CCAL Act not required

SDSI user charge

$30.90 per day + $95 comforts

SDSI Regulatory authority

Licensed under the CCAL Act

Specialized adult residential care settings approved by the minister of SDSI for which a license under the CCAL Act is not required

Specialized adult residential care settings approved by the minister of SDSI for which a license under the CCAL Act is not required

  1. The following types of mental health and substance use units designated under the Mental Health Act as provincial mental health facilities are not eligible for ministry user charges:
  • mental health and substance use tertiary acute care units
  • mental health and substance use rehabilitation units

 Residential Substance Use Facilities

The Ministry of Health and the community use the term “substance use” rather than “alcohol and drug”. For this reason, the term “substance use” has been used in this topic to describe facility types. For the purposes of relating this policy topic to other topics in this manual, “substance use” has the same meaning as “alcohol and drug”. 

Facility Setting

Substance Use Treatment Facility

Licensing / Registration

Licensed under CCAL Act

SDSI user charge

$40.00 per day + $95 comforts

SDSI Regulatory authority

Licensed under the CCAL Act

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities provide a lower level of care than residential care facilities and are registered under the Ministry of Health’s CCAL Act.  There are three types of assisted living facilities: community care, mental health, and substance use.

Note: Unregistered/unlicensed substance use treatment facilities are often referred to as Supportive Recovery Homes (SRHs). Only registered SRHs are eligible for ministry user charges. 

 

Community Care

Mental Health

Substance Use 
Supportive Recovery Homes

Licensing / Registration

Registered under CCAL Act

SDSI user charge

$631.00 per month +$95 comforts

$30.90 per day + $95 comforts

SDSI Regulatory authority

Specialized adult residential care settings approved by the minister for which a license under the CCAL Act is not required                         

Clients in CLBC-contracted residential facilities are provided support and shelter and therefore are not eligible for the ministry user charge.  [see Clients in CLBC Facilities] 

Calculating User Charges

When a recipient is admitted to a special care facility, the approved accommodation and care rate for that facility is paid for the period that includes the day of admission, but excludes the day of discharge or death.

Excess earned income and unearned income received by the client must be deducted from the monthly invoice submitted by the facility to the ministry.  For example, the facility must deduct $500 from the invoice if a client receives $500 in monthly CPP benefits. Note: The system calculated CPP tax exemption should not be deducted from the invoice.

The Ministry of Health established a standard methodology for pro-rating the client rate to ensure all health authorities use the same approach (for clients). If a client is admitted to or discharged from residential care services part way through a month, the monthly amount is pro-rated as follows:

Pro-rated Amount = ((Client Monthly Rate divided by Number of Days in the Month) times Number of Days in the Facility)

To ensure that providers and clients are not adversely affected, if a client is admitted or transferred they would be charged based on the actual number of days in the month that they are in the facility. Example:

Mrs. Green (whose monthly rate is $991.20) was admitted to a residential care facility licensed under the CCAL Act on May 10. For May, the charge would be for 22 days calculated as $991.20 ÷ 31) x 22 = $703.43

The daily user charge may also be paid while a recipient is absent from the special care facility for either of the following:

  • for 14 days for admission to an acute care hospital
  • for 14 days for visitation, and seven days extension if approved by the EAW for valid reasons

According to Schedule A of the EA and EAPWD Regulation, the user charge paid to a special care facility is for “accommodation and care," which is distinct from “support and shelter.” Therefore, issuing user charges when the client has been issued support and shelter allowances is not considered a duplicate issuance of support and shelter.

Case Example #1

A single person is residing in a substance use treatment facility licensed under the CCAL Act.    This client has been in receipt of income assistance for several months and checked into the facility January 15 and will remain in the facility until February 15.  The client would like to maintain their place of residence ($400 rent) while in the facility.

January assistance (issued at the end of December): Because the client received their full income assistance for January at cheque issue, they are not eligible for comforts allowance in January.  The daily user charge for January 15 – 31 may be issued to the facility, assuming the client resides at the facility for this period of time.

February assistance (issued at the end of January): The client is eligible for shelter allowance and comforts. On cheque issue, $400 would be issued for shelter (in most cases this would be sent directly to the landlord).  A comforts allowance, less the additional $25 above the shelter maximum of $375 provided for rent, would be issued to the client.  The daily user charge for February 1 – 14 would be issued to the facility, assuming the client resides at the facility for this period of time and February 15 is the date of discharge. On discharge, the client is eligible for pro-rated support for the balance of February.

Case Example #2

A client, whose family unit includes a spouse and two children, has been in receipt of income assistance for several months.  The client checked into a substance use treatment facility licensed under the CCAL Act on January 15 and will remain in the facility until February 15.  The client would like to maintain their place of residence while in the facility.

January assistance (issued at the end of December): Because the client received their full January income assistance at cheque issue they are not eligible for comforts allowance for January. The daily user charge for January 15 – 31 may be issued to the facility, assuming the client resides at the facility for this period of time.

February assistance (issued at the end of January): The client is eligible for comforts allowance.  The client’s family would receive their full family unit’s shelter rate, plus the full family unit’s support rate minus the client’s comforts allowance amount. The daily user charge for February 1 – 14 would be issued to the facility, assuming the client resides at the facility during this time and is discharged on February 15.  On the client’s discharge, the family unit is not eligible for further support allowance for February.

Effective: June 1, 2007

Clients in CLBC-contracted residential facilities are eligible for disability assistance (support and shelter) as shown in the Rate Table – Disability Assistance, as well as supplemental assistance (if eligible).  As such, clients are responsible for paying their own client contribution (rent) to the service provider.  The amount a client must pay as client contribution (rent) is standardized by CLBC and adjusted whenever disability assistance is adjusted.  If clients wish to have their rent paid directly to the service provider, the client (or designate) should contact their local office. 

The remaining support allowance is intended to cover personal expenses, including clothing.  This client group is not eligible for the clothing supplement. 

Effective: May 25, 2015

If a recipient, who turns 65 years of age while in receipt of assistance, or an applicant with the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation who is 65 years of age or older, is eligible for Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS), but is not receiving OAS and GIS, they may still be eligible for assistance.  Any assistance issued is to be on a month-to-month basis and is not repayable. Confirmation of OAS and GIS applications are required.  The amount of assistance is found in the Rate Tables – Income Assistance and Disability Assistance.  Recipients are not to be issued Hardship – Awaiting Other Income due to pending OAS and GIS.

An applicant, who is 65 years of age or older and is eligible for OAS and GIS may still be eligible repayable for hardship assistance if they:
 

  • do not have the PWD designation and,
  • are not receiving OAS and GIS

[For more information, see Related Links – Awaiting Other Income.]

Procedures

Effective: May 25, 2015

To set up user charges for an eligible recipient while they reside in a special care facility, complete the Admittance and Discharge form (HR3319). [see Forms and Letters]

The monthly amount of unearned income that is to be used by the recipient to cover the cost of a long term care facility for LTC cases is recorded in the system.

The amount recorded does not impact the payment of any allowances including Comforts Allowance.

Ensure that this amount, along with any earned income (after applicable earnings exemptions), is noted as a deduction on the facility invoice (form HR150A or HR150B see table below) that is submitted to the ministry.  If the amount on the invoice is incorrect, notify the facility and request that the invoice be amended and resubmitted.

If the amount is less than the facility invoice, the difference is the maximum amount that the ministry should pay.

If the amount is greater than the facility invoice, the recipient’s unearned income plus any earned income (after applicable earnings exemptions) should be used to reduce the Comforts Allowance amount.

Facility Invoice:

Type of Facility

Form

Substance Use Treatment Facility

HR00150A

Mental Health Facility

HR00150A

Residential Care Facility

HR00150B

Family Care Home

HR00150B

 Special Care Facility User Charges – Monthly Rate Examples

Person A (a recipient) is admitted August 10 at a monthly rate of $991.20

Facility bills ministry for 22 days calculated as ($991.20 ÷ 31 days in August x 22) = $703.43

Authorize a payment of $703.43 to the facility and set a Comforts Allowance of $0

31 days in August less 10 days plus the day of admittance = 22 days.

Person B has a facility invoice of $991.20.  Their income to apply to LTC is $550.00 and there is no other income.

Authorize a payment of $441.20 to the facility and set a Comforts Allowance of $95.00.

Person C has a facility invoice of $991.20.  Their income to apply to LTC is $1000.00 and there is no other income.

No payment is authorized to the facility and a Comforts Allowance is set for $86.20. ($991.20 + $95.00 - $1000.00) 

Person D has a facility invoice of $991.20 Their income to apply to LTC is $1090.00 and there is no other income.

No payment is authorized to the facility and a Comforts Allowance is set for $0

($991.20 + $95.00 - $1090.00 = - $3.80, that is, less than $0).

Effective: June 1, 2007

For clients living in CLBC-contracted residential facilities, the shelter amount may vary depending on the level of care provided.  CLBC will confirm the amount to be paid to the service provider.

Ministry staff must:
 

  1. Obtain verification of the shelter costs from the client
  2. Enter the amount on the system as rent

CLBC-Contracted Residential Facility - Example

Person resides in a CLBC-contracted residential facility and receives disability assistance in the amount of $906.42.  The client will pay $716.13 direct to the service provider.

The $716.13 amount is entered on the system as rent.  The client will receive the balance of their assistance (approx. $190.29) which is intended to cover their clothing and personal effects.

Effective: May 25, 2015

Staff may determine that a recipient, who turns 65 years of age while in receipt of assistance, or an applicant with the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation who is 65 years of age or older, that is eligible for Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS), but is not receiving OAS and GIS, is eligible for assistance.  Any assistance issued is to be on a month-to-month basis and is not repayable. Confirmation of OAS and GIS applications and that they are not in pay are required. If the client still requires assistance after 3 months, then approval from a supervisor is required to issue any further assistance in subsequent months. 

The amount of assistance is found in the Rate Tables – Income Assistance or Disability Assistance.  Recipients and applicants with the PWD designation are not to be issued Hardship – Awaiting Other Income due to pending OAS and GIS.  

Staff may determine that an applicant who is 65 years of age or older that is eligible for OAS and GIS is eligible for repayable hardship assistance if they:

  •  do not have the PWD designation and,
  • are not receiving OAS and GIS

[For more information, see Related Links – Awaiting Other Income.]

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective: October 29, 2012

Support, Shelter, and Special Facilities
Supervisor
  • Approving a client’s request to re-mortgage prior to the end of their current mortgage term
  • Approving home maintenance and repair costs above $5,000
  • Approving assistance for 65 and older, pending OAS, after 3 months.
Employment and Assistance Worker
  • Approving client absences from a continuing care facility beyond 14 days (to a maximum of 21 days) for visitation
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Frequently Asked Questions

 

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