Family Benefits in British Columbia

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If you have to take care of your family on a low income, you’ll understand how difficult it can be. Numerous expenses come up when you have a family. While you can plan for the recurring financial needs, the unprecedented ones can throw you off balance. Consequently, it becomes crucial to look for options to meet these financial demands.

Parents in British Columbia have already complained of the financial strain of managing their homes. More than 60% of BC parents believe that financial burden might cause their children to change where they live. Similarly, about 58% complain about the difficulty of saving money in the bank. This accounts for why many families tend to seek the available benefit programs in British Columbia.

British Columbia provides a wide range of programs tailored to meet the needs of resident families. These programs offer financial assistance that you can leverage to meet your needs. However, you cannot take advantage of these programs unless you know about them adequately. Therefore, we have researched and provided the necessary details of the benefits in this guide.

Qualifying for Family Benefits in British Columbia

As you can imagine, the benefit programs available in BC come with certain requirements that you have to fulfill. If you do not meet these requirements, you might find it challenging to apply for the programs. As such, you must learn about them before shooting an application.

Generally, the programs will want to know some details about income to determine if you qualify for financial assistance. Also, you’ll have to show whether your child or children live with you or whether they live with someone else. So, ultimately, prepare to share some personal details during the process.

Below are the programs you can consider applying for if you stay in BC and are eligible.

British Columbian Government Family Benefits

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Affordable Child Care Benefit

B.C Government created the Affordable Child Care Benefit to provide financial assistance to families with children. The program provides monthly income to help offset the cost of child care. Whether you’re eligible for this benefit will be determined by factors such as family size, income, and nature of care.

Of course, you must meet specific requirements to be eligible for the benefit program. These include:

  • The parent or primary caregiver must be a resident of BC
  • The parent or primary caregiver must also be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen.
  • You must provide a tangible reason for requiring child care support. These reasons have been listed accordingly.
  • Concerning income, families earning up to $111,000 may qualify to receive the funding. Additionally, families with an income above that amount may qualify if their income deductions are substantial.
  • Nevertheless, the income of each family applying will be subjected to a formula known as income testing. This is to determine the funding you will receive.
  • The childcare facility must also be authorized.

Once you’re eligible for the program, you can proceed to apply. Since your income and family size matter, whether you receive full or partial funding will depend on those factors accordingly. For instance, if you have more than a child and one of them has special needs, you can qualify for receiving an added $150 monthly. If your household’s income falls between $0 and $45,000, you might be eligible for full funding.

Additionally, the nature of child care also matters, whether it’s group child care or in-home child care. Other notable factors include the number of days you require child care. All these go into calculating the amount you can expect to receive. Since this can be daunting, you should consider using an online calculator to determine your benefit.

Using the calculator makes the entire process seamless, as all you have to input are some basic details. Once you know the amount of your potential benefit coverage and have chosen a child care provider, the next thing is to shoot an application. You can conveniently do this online and wait for about 10 business days.

Basic Dental, Eyeglasses, and Hearing Care

It’s calming when parents learn that there is a program that can help them cover the cost of basic dental, eyeglasses, and hearing care for their children. The Healthy Kids Program is an initiative of the BC government, designed to provide kids from low-income families with certain essential things to keep them healthy.

Eligibility for the program is based on whether your child is eligible for the Medical Services Plan (MSP) and is under age 19. Additionally, the annual adjusted net income has to be less than $42,000. You’ll receive $2,000 every two years for this benefit program. Once you reach that limit, your child can only receive emergency payments.

To gain access to this benefit, you must ensure you file your taxes yearly. Additionally, you have to apply for the MSP supplementary benefits with Health Insurance BC.

BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit

If you have a child under the age of 6 years, the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit (BCECTB) is one of the programs you can consider. The benefit program was designed to provide tax-free payments monthly to eligible families. If your application is successful, you’ll receive the payment alongside the federal Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

Some of the factors that matter in determining the benefit you receive include the household’s net income and the number of children. Generally, the benefit pays up to $55 per child (monthly). As you can expect, the higher the household’s net income, the lower the benefit you receive. If the income exceeds $100,000, your benefit reduces, and once the income goes above $150,000, you’re no longer eligible.

As earlier mentioned, this benefit program is tied to the CCB. As such, you don’t need a separate application to get started. Once you apply for the federal CCB, the information you submit will be used to determine whether you qualify for the BCECTB. Using your income, the number of children you have, and some other details, you can estimate the total monthly payment you’ll receive using the dedicated online calculator by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Family Justice Counsellors

Another form of support you can use is that of Family Justice Counsellors (FJCs). These counsellors help people through divorce and separation. You might find yourself in need of these services. In that case, you can simply reach out to any of the centres available through BC.

The scope of FJC’s operation is wide and includes child support, guardianship, parenting arrangements, and more. Additionally, these services come at no charge, helping you cut costs while addressing key issues.

You can also access these services virtually. For example, FJCs work with families conference and telephone calls.

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Funding for Children with Autism

Parents raising children with Autism have to go the extra mile for their children’s development. The “extra mile” here is simply another word for time and money. Even if you have the time, it can be challenging to cough out the money required. If you reside in BC and have a child with autism, you can consider this Autism Funding Program.

This is one of the programs with substantial funding. For children under age 6, up to $22,000 is available in funding. If your child is between age 6 and 18, you can get up to $6,000 in funding. The program has created a list of the specific things that the funding is expected to cover. This includes:

  • Getting professionals from the Registry of Autism Service Providers
  • Behaviour consultants and interventionists
  • Costs associated with employing a service provider
  • Getting a family counsellor/therapist

Furthermore, the available funding extends to the child’s education. Therefore, once a child with autism starts school, they can also receive the support services provided through the school system. For this purpose, the school will be in charge of deploying the funding and services in the way they find most practical to serve the needs of these children.

Additionally, up to 20% of the funding is available for parents to deploy for the child’s education based on discretion. Some of the developmental activities this funding can be used for include:

  • Registration for training
  • Buying necessary equipment
  • Travelling for essential purposes such as training or support services

To begin the application process, you’ll have to meet with a worker at the Children & Youth with Support Needs (CYSN) department. You can do this by reaching out via the contact channel. The worker will request some important documents that you have to bring along. After reviewing your documents, you’ll know the status of your application.

Income Assistance for Single Parents

When you have to cater for your family’s needs as a single parent, expenses can shoot up really quickly. The Single Parent Employment Initiative is designed to provide single parents who receive income with different forms of support until they find a long-term job.

Eligibility for the program involves specific requirements such as:

  • You must have been receiving assistance for three months
  • You should hold a post-secondary degree

Once you’re eligible, forms of training you can engage in include:

  • Medical services
  • Early childhood education
  • Administration

Some of the benefits you get to enjoy from this program are as follows:

  • You’ll receive funded training that can last up to 12 months
  • You’ll continue to receive disability assistance during this period
  • You don’t pay the cost of child care for the first employment year
  • You’ll get a full year of health coverage once you transit from income assistance to employment

Overall, the program provides a great opportunity for single parents to receive considerable assistance. You can get started by visiting the WorkBC Employment Services Centre.

Natal Supplement

Whether you’re pregnant or have a child under age seven months, the Natal Supplement program is up for consideration. The program was created to assist families who need to meet the extra costs of childbirth. The benefit is available to persons of income, disability, or hardship assistance.

Eligibility from this program begins with the confirmation of pregnancy and ends after six months of birth. Therefore, you can expect to receive $45 every month for a single pregnancy or birth. On the other hand, multiple pregnancy or birth attracts $90 every month.

Youth & Family Services

Sometimes, the most important form of support isn’t monetary. Instead, there are moments you require emotional support or someone to lean on. Support groups of this nature keep many families going. Having a safe space where you can share your burden, receive specialized advice, and collaborate, go a long way in building a solid community.

In British Columbia, there are numerous specialized groups that you can join to bridge this gap, especially if you have a family for which you’re responsible. Some of these include the following.

Help for Youth & Their Families: This support group is dedicated to helping youth and their families to develop a strong connection. If you’ve been having some problems in your household, you can seek out this group to stay together and find common grounds for your relationship to work.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: This support group offer services to help families with children who fall under this category. To help these children plan for their future and develop better ways to network and navigate life, you can learn more about the services offered here.

Other support groups available include Support Needs for Families and Working & Engaging with Youth.

Sales Tax Credit

The Sales Tax Credit is another helpful avenue to access some extra funds that you can use to meet some of your financial demands. To claim this tax credit, you must have been a resident of B.C on 31 December of the tax year. Additionally, you must have been over age 19, had a common-law partner, or been a parent.

Essentially, as a parent, you can claim this sales tax credit for yourself and your partner. As a family, you’ll enjoy a 2% credit reduction of your family net income if it’s above $18,000.

Notably, however, you won’t enjoy this credit if, as of 31 December. But, concerning those who are eligible, you can claim the credit by filing your tax. For this purpose, you have to use the T1 Income Tax Return. You also have to ensure you claim the credit within 3 years of the tax year.

Use BC Benefit Programs to Your Advantage

Benefit programs and other forms of support structures were created in British Columbia to help people meet their needs. There are several programs tailored to the realities of families, whether in terms of financial or emotional support. As a family in BC, you should seek out these programs and consider the ones for which you’re eligible, and if your expenses are just a bit too much to cover you can get a loan in British Columbia from us for anywhere between $50 and $1500.

You can get started with any of the programs discussed in this guide by simply starting the application process. The British Columbia website has all the further details you require to be a beneficiary.