Applicants and recipients must reside in British Columbia for initial and ongoing eligibility for assistance.

This topic also includes policy on individuals residing in British Columbia in halfway houses or on reserves.


Effective: May 20, 2010

Recipients become ineligible for assistance if they are absent from BC for more than 30 consecutive days per year.

Prior authorization of the Manager is required for continued assistance for recipients who leave the province for more than 30 days for the purpose of:

  • permitting the recipient to participate in a formal education program
  • permitting the recipient to obtain medical therapy prescribed by a medical practitioner
  • avoiding undue hardship where there are reasonable circumstances to justify this

All recipients who leave the province for 30 days or more must re-apply for assistance when they return.

Effective: December 1, 2003

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is responsible for the provision of social assistance on reserves.  First Nations persons (status Indians) and non-status persons residing on reserves are to apply for assistance from the band.  This includes status Indians residing on commercial property on reserves.  Failure to pursue income results in consequences for non-compliance.  [see Related Links – Sanctions]

Exception: non-status persons residing on commercial property on reserves are not eligible for ISC assistance and may be considered for BCEA.

[For more information on support and shelter provided to eligible family units, see Related Links – Support, Shelter and Special Care Facilities]

Effective: May 26, 2014

Persons residing in halfway houses (also called Community Corrections Facilities) have their basic needs met through the corrections system, which is funded by provincial and federal governments. The supports include accommodation, meals, and a weekly allowance. Persons residing in halfway houses are subject to several types of release; however, all persons residing in halfway houses are not eligible for assistance.


Effective: May 20, 2010

Requests from recipients to continue assistance while out of the province must provide all of the following to the Ministry office.

  • recipient’s name and family unit size
  • present address
  • Social Insurance Number
  • amount of monthly assistance currently being paid
  • reason for request and confirmation of the proposed program or therapy
  • recipient’s future address and estimated date of return to the province
  • whether continued assistance is to be partial or in full
  • what supplements are requested by the recipient
  • what supplements will be cancelled or suspended during the recipient’s absence

Manager approval must be obtained to provide assistance for recipients who leave the province for more than 30 days.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective: May 20, 2010

Manager is responsible for:

  • approving continued assistance for recipients who leave the province for more than 30 days

A summarized Authority Level matrix is available in Additional Resources.