Crisis Supplement

Overview

Subject to limitations set out in regulation, a crisis supplement may be available to provide recipients who face unexpected emergency needs with a one-time payment to prevent imminent danger to their physical health or the removal of a child under the Child, Family and Community Service Act.

A crisis supplement is available to recipients under the Employment and Assistance Regulation or Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

An emergency/disaster supplement may also be available.

Policy 

Effective: May 1, 2018

The ministry may provide a crisis supplement to or for a family unit that is eligible for income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance if all of the following apply:
 

  • the family unit or a person in the family unit requires the supplement to meet an unexpected expense or obtain an item unexpectedly needed

An “unexpected” expense or item “unexpectedly” needed refers to an unforeseen situation that suddenly interferes with a person’s ability to pay the expense or obtain the item.

The overall circumstances which gave rise to the unexpected need should be considered.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. A roommate moves out with no warning and the client is held responsible for the full rent
  2. Unseasonably cold weather causes a heating bill to be unusually high
  3. A power outage results in the food in a fridge to spoil and need replaced
  4. A sudden illness results in a need to purchase over the counter medications instead of paying a hydro bill
  • the family unit or person in the family is unable to meet the expense or obtain the item because there are no resources available to the family unit
  • failure to meet the expense or obtain the item will result in imminent danger to the physical health of any person in the family unit or removal of a child under the Child, Family and Community Service Act.

A crisis supplement is intended to aid the client in an emergency when all other resources have been exhausted. A crisis supplement must not be provided to support an ongoing situation or as a way to provide assistance that is prohibited by other regulatory direction. [see Policy – Limitations]

When eligibility is determined, the least costly way to meet the need will be authorized.

Note: Food banks and the BC Hydro Customer Crisis Fund are not considered as resources.   

Effective: October 1, 2018

There are limitations on when a supplement may be issued and what it may be used for, as follows:
 

  • A crisis supplement may be provided only for the calendar month in which the application or request for the supplement is made.
  • A crisis supplement may not be provided for the purpose of obtaining a health supplement described in Schedule C or any other health care goods or services.
  • A crisis supplement may not be issued to cover a user fee required for landlord/tenant arbitration. The Residential Tenancy office will waive this fee for recipients of BC Employment and Assistance.
  • 12 month maximum: the total cumulative amount of crisis supplements that a recipient or dependant may receive over any 12 consecutive months must not exceed twice the maximum amount of support and shelter that would be available to the family at the time the request is made.

Two exceptions apply to the 12-month maximum:

  • The Essential Utilities Crisis Supplement
  • The Emergency/Disaster Supplement

Effective: October 1, 2018

The amount of crisis supplements that may be issued is restricted as follows:
 

  • Crisis supplements for food are restricted to a maximum amount per person per month, as shown in Rate Table: General Supplements – Crisis Supplement.
  • Crisis supplements for shelter are restricted to the actual cost up to the maximum shelter allowance (based on the family configuration) per month, as shown in Rate Table: Income Assistance or Disability Assistance.
  • Crisis supplements for clothing are restricted to an annual maximum per person or family unit, as shown in Rate Table: General Supplements – Crisis Supplement.

The 12-month maximum is calculated on a "rolling" basis, using the 12-month period preceding the date the crisis supplement is requested.

Effective: October 1, 2018

A crisis supplement for emergency home repairs may be provided if recipients:

  • meet the requirements for a crisis supplement [see Policy – Requirements], and
    • require emergency repairs for their place of residence, and
    • their place of residence is owned by a person in their family unit, and
    • the repairs are the least costly, appropriate option, and
    • the cost of the repairs has been pre-approved by ministry

Emergency home repairs may include essential items for the protection, replacement, and repair that are part of the physical structure of the recipient’s home and the repair or replacement of home heating and cooking appliances when no other means are available for home heating and cooking, and all other eligibility requirements are met.

The crisis supplement limitations policy, including the 12-month maximum, applies for this supplement [see Policy – Limitations].

Effective: October 1, 2018

A crisis supplement for essential utilities may be provided if recipients meet the requirements for a crisis supplement [see Policy – Requirements], and

  • where utility is provided by an essential utility provider (e.g., BC Hydro, FortisBC):
  • are behind in their payments (in arrears); and
  • are facing the risk of disconnection or have been disconnected; or
  • where utility is not provided by an essential utility provider:
  • are facing the risk of having no fuel for heating or for cooking meals.

Where utility is provided by an essential utility provider, the supplement can be provided prior to a disconnection notice being issued. Confirmation of arrears, in the form of documentation, is required.

Essential utilities are:

  • fuel for heating
  • fuel for cooking meals
  • water
  • hydro

Fuel for heating and fuel for cooking meals may include natural gas, heating oil, firewood and propane.

The crisis supplement limitations policy, including the 12-month maximum, does not apply for this supplement [see Policy – Limitations].

 

Effective: September 19, 2008

When a pattern of reliance on crisis supplements develops (six or more in 12 months), administration of assistance may be required. 

Effective: June 6, 2007

Emergency/Disaster supplement is only to be used as directed by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Service Delivery Division through a Management designate.  Field staff will be advised when use of this supplement is required due to an emergency/disaster.

The emergency/disaster supplement is not a standard crisis supplement therefore payments under this supplement are not included in the annual crisis supplement limit.

In the event of a local, regional or provincial emergency/disaster, the ministry will provide assistance to eligible affected individuals.  Depending upon the nature of the emergency or disaster, Emergency Social Services (ESS) Provincial Emergency Program may be involved and will provide immediate assistance generally for up to72 hours or longer depending on the circumstances [see Contacts]. If required, the ministry may be assisting recipients and applicants in the preparation/evacuation stage and in the recovery stage.

The ministry may provide an emergency/disaster supplement to or for a family unit that is eligible for income assistance, disability assistance, medical services only, CIHR or hardship assistance when an emergency/disaster has been identified and if the following apply:
 

  • the family unit or a person in the family unit requires the supplement to meet an unexpected expense or obtain an item unexpectedly needed due to the identified emergency/disaster (e.g. moving or storage costs due to evacuation notice);
  • the family unit or person in the family is unable to meet the expense or obtain the item because resources are not available to the family unit due to the identified emergency/disaster, and
  • failure to meet the expense or obtain the item will result in imminent financial loss or danger to the physical health of any person in the family unit due to the identified emergency/disaster.

An emergency/disaster supplement is intended to aid the client in an emergency/disaster when all other resources have been exhausted.

When eligibility is determined, the least costly way to meet the need will be authorized.

Applicants who meet the above criteria may be assessed for emergency need and, if necessary, be provided an expedited application.    If eligible for income assistance, disability assistance or hardship assistance, applicants may also be eligible for an emergency/disaster supplement.

For information on eligibility criteria, see Procedures - Eligibility for an Emergency/Disaster Supplement for Recipients and Applicants of BCEA

Procedures

Effective: October 1, 2018

To determine if eligible for a crisis supplement, follow these steps:

  1. Review request with recipient.
  2. Determine if the situation meets the requirements for crisis assistance, as set out in policy.
  3. Determine what actions the recipient has taken to meet the need prior to making the request.
  4. If the amount is above your authority level, discuss your recommendation with a Supervisor and request approval via the approval process.
  5. If the request does not meet the requirements, ensure the recipient clearly understands the reasons why, refer the recipient to other resources and provide information on the reconsideration process.
  6. Make notes on the case.

Note: Check for crisis amounts that have been issued this month and within the past 12 months to confirm the cumulative amount received is not over the 12-month maximum that may be provided to or for the family unit.  There are two exceptions to the 12-month maximum [see Policy – Limitations].

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

Effective: October 1, 2018

 

  1. Advise the recipient to contact BC Hydro to provide verbal consent to discuss with ministry.
  2. Advise the recipient of BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund (CCF) grant [see Additional Resources – Customer Crisis Fund].
  3. Contact BC Hydro to arrange payment.  During the call ministry staff will:
    1. Issue the minimum amount required by BC Hydro to avoid disconnect or reconnect hydro (usually half of the overdue amount accrued while in receipt of assistance plus reconnect fee where applicable).
    2. Advise BC Hydro that we inform all crisis supplement recipients of the CCF. Note: BC Hydro staff will review the CCF application and determine eligibility.
  4. Set up automatic monthly payments for the total of:
    1. any remaining arrears after crisis supplement and the CCF grant have been applied (if BC Hydro has determined recipient is eligible), and
    2. Equal Payment Plan payment for upcoming bills.
  5. Issue a BC Hydro Payment Notification Letter (HR3680) to the recipient advising of the arrangements made with BC Hydro and that they are to monitor and contact the ministry regarding any changes to their BC Hydro bill amounts [see Forms and Letters].
  6. Make notes on the case.

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

Effective: June 6, 2007

Emergency/Disaster supplement is only to be used as directed by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Service Delivery Division through a Management designate.  Field staff will be advised when use of this supplement is required due to an emergency/disaster.

Depending upon the nature of the emergency or disaster, Emergency Social Services (ESS) may be involved and will provide immediate assistance generally for up to 72 hours or longer depending on the circumstances. If required, the ministry may be assisting recipients and applicants in the preparation/evacuation stage and in the recovery stage.

To determine if a client meets the criteria for an emergency/disaster supplement, follow these steps:
 

  1. Review request with the client/applicant.
  2. Determine if the situation meets the requirements for an emergency/disaster supplement, as set out in Policy.
  3. Determine what actions the client/applicant has taken to meet the need prior to making the request.
  4. If the request does not meet the requirements, ensure the client clearly understands the reasons why, refer the client to other resources and provide information on the reconsideration process.

If the request meets the requirements, see Procedures for Issuing Emergency/Disaster Supplement for Recipients of BCEA or Assessing Eligibility for Applicants of BCEA and Issuing Emergency/Disaster Supplement.

Effective: June 6, 2007

To issue an emergency/disaster supplement follow these steps:
 

  1. Access the client's case.
  2. Discuss the recommendation with the Supervisor or designate and request approval.

Effective: June 6, 2007

To assess eligibility of applicants affected by an emergency/disaster situation, follow these steps:
 

  1. Assess emergency need and provide expedited application.
  2. Complete BCEA Application Stage 2.  [For more information, see Related Links - BC Employment and Assistance Application - Stage 2 - Procedures].
  3. Waive requirements for the three-week work search and the two-year financial independence and record reasons. Advise the client that employment plan obligations are required once the immediate emergency/disaster circumstances end.  
  4. Assess eligibility for income assistance, disability assistance or hardship assistance by following policy and procedures.

    Example: A family affected by flooding may have employment to return to once their place of employment is operational again and may be eligible for Hardship – Income in Excess or Hardship – Assets in Excess. If your reasons for determining eligibility are due to an emergency/disaster situation, record the details of the circumstances and the asset or income.  Advise the client that if further hardship assistance is required, eligibility must be re-established each month.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective: May 1, 2018

Employment and Assistance Worker (EAW)

Authorizing crisis supplements:

  • up to $20 per person in the family unit (food)
  • up to $100 per individual per year or up to $400 per family per year (clothing)
  • up to $750 (furniture)
  • up to $500 (utilities)
  • up to $750 (home repair)
  • up to amount specified in Section 4 of Schedule A or Table 2 of Schedule D (shelter)
  • up to $100 (other)

Supervisor

Authorizing crisis supplements:

  • in excess of $750 and up to $1250 (furniture)
  • in excess of $500 (utilities)
  • in excess of $750 and up to $1250 (home repair)
  • up to $500 (essential utilities)
  • in excess of $100 and up to $250 (other)

Manager

Authorizing crisis supplements:

  • in excess of $1250 (furniture)
  • in excess of $1250 (home repair)
  • in excess of $500 (essential utilities)
  • in excess of $250 (other)

Emergency/Disaster Supplement Manager

Authorizing an emergency/disaster supplement:

  • staff will be advised to issue by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Service Delivery Division through a Management designate.  

A summarized Authority Level matrix is available in Additional Resources.