If you are under 19 years old and not living with your parents or guardians, you can apply for income assistance. If you apply, you will probably be sent to see a Family Maintenance Worker. Before you can get income assistance, the government will have to be convinced that your parents will not or cannot support you.
You will be sent to see a Family Maintenance Worker, who will look into that. If your parents are willing to support you at home and there are no concerns about your safety at home, you will not be able to get income assistance.
If you would like to apply for income assistance, there are advocates in most communities across BC who can help you. Go to the Find an Advocate page on the PovNet website.
If you are under 19 and you live with a relative or other adult who isn’t your guardian, that person might be able to get government benefits.
For more information see the Extended Family Program page on Ministry of Children and Family Development website.
If you do apply for income assistance you have to follow the same rules as an adult who is applying. That means you have to have an “employment plan”. But usually the plan for a youth applicant will focus on finishing high school.
If you are an 18 year old with a youth agreement, you are eligible for financial support from MCFD. Speak to your social worker.
Persons with Disability Assistance
If you are a person with a disability you may qualify for provincial government Persons with Disability assistance when you turn 18. To get these benefits you must have a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for at least two years.
- You must be significantly restricted in your ability to perform daily living activities and
- You must require assistance with daily living activities from another person, an assistive device or an assistance animal.
If you are considered to be a person with disabilities for this program, you could get:
- Monthly support and shelter assistance
- Medical coverage that includes Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare coverage with no deductible, as well as other health supplements such as dental and optical coverage
- A low-cost annual bus pass
Applying for income assistance or PWD assistance
You can apply for PWD benefits six months before you turn 18. To apply for other income assistance, you must be 19. Application forms are only available at Employment and Income Assistance offices. You can also apply online. Or you can find an advocate in your community by clicking on the interactive map on the PovNet website.
If you need help with an application for Persons with Disabilities assistance, contact the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities: 604-872-1278 in the Lower Mainland | Toll-Free: 1-800-663-1278
Appealing an income assistance decision
If you are refused income assistance or your income assistance is reduced or ended, you can ask for a reconsideration or appeal of the decision. If the ministry tells you that you are not eligible for income assistance, they must give you information about how to appeal that decision.
If you would like to appeal a decision about income assistance, talk to an advocate. There are welfare advocates in most communities across BC who can help you. Go to the Find and Advocate page on the PovNet website.
If you think you have been treated unfairly in the process you can contact the BC Ombudsperson. If you have been in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, you may be able to get help from the Representative for Children and Youth.