Good news, Prince George!
The B.C. government has officially launched its campaign that'll provide roughly 3.7 million provincial residents with a form of payment to relieve some financial stress the COVID-19 pandemic has invoked.
Today (Dec. 18), applications are available online for the tax-free B.C. Recovery Benefit.
If they are processed smoothly, up to $1,000, depending on qualifications, could be deposited as early as Christmas Eve (Dec. 24).
“I’d like to thank the B.C. public service for getting this program up and running so quickly and to the hundreds of Service BC call centre staff who will be helping British Columbians apply for their BC Recovery Benefit,” said Finance Minister Selina Robinson in a new srelease this morning.
“Please be patient and respectful to staff over the holidays as call volumes may result in longer wait times.”
Here's what we know about the recovery benefit:
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I GET?
A $1,000 benefit applies to families with a combined household income of less than $125,000 per year.
Payments to families making more than that will be granted on a sliding scale up to $170,000.
Individuals making less than $62,000 a year will be eligible for a one-time $500 payment, with those earning up to $87,000 also eligible for a payment along a sliding scale.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
In order to apply, you’ll need to satisfy the following conditions:
- Be a resident of B.C. on Dec. 18, 2020
- Be at least 19-years-old as on Dec. 18, 2020
- Have filed a 2019 income tax return
- Have your 2019 income tax notice of assessment, and if applicable, your spouse’s as well
- Have your social insurance number
- Have your direct deposit information at a preferred bank account
- Have your B.C. driver’s licence
HOW DO I APPLY?
Applying online is the best way to ensure you get the money as soon as possible, according to a Government of BC press release.
Online applications can be accessed at gov.bc.ca/recoverybenefit starting today.
Agents will also be available to assist applicants by phone starting Monday (Dec. 21).
Within North America, call toll free at 1-833-882-0020. Lines will be open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT?
Most eligible applicants are expected to receive their benefit within five business days, though the government warns that any application requiring manual review to determine eligibility will take longer based on the volume of applications, a government spokesperson noted.
Telephone wait times are also expected to be long in the first few weeks the applications are open.
Apply online to avoid that wait, recommends the ministry spokesperson.
HOW LONG CAN I WAIT BEFORE APPLYING?
Eligible British Columbians have until June 30, 2021, to apply to the B.C. Recovery Benefit.
- with files from Stefan Labbe, Tri-City News