British Columbia

Hardship Assistance

Easy application

Need you to file taxes and apply separately

This benefit leads to others

Getting this benefit makes you able to get other related benefits, including

    Hardship assistance is intended to meet the essential needs of persons or families who are not eligible for income assistance or disability assistance.

    Hardship assistance is provided on a temporary basis, for only one month at a time. Eligibility for hardship assistance must be re-established each month.

    You are responsible for meeting the conditions under which hardship assistance is provided, including signing and complying with an Employment Plan, and agreeing to repay hardship assistance, when required.

    The amount of hardship assistance you receive depends on your age and your family composition. The Hardship Assistance Rate Table provides information on how much applicants may receive if they are eligible for the hardship assistance.

    Hardship assistance may only be provided in situations where the family unit has first been determined ineligible for income assistance or disability assistance for reasons specified by regulation.

    Individuals receiving income assistance or disability assistance are not eligible for hardship assistance.

    Hardship assistance may be provided in the following circumstances:

    • Awaiting EI – for applicants who are awaiting Employment Insurance (EI) through Service Canada
    • Awaiting Other Income – for applicants who are awaiting income from another source
    • Assets in Excess – for specified family units who have assets in excess of specified exemption levels, and the assets are not immediately available
    • Strike or Lockout – for applicants who are on strike or locked out, if the union is unable to meet their needs
    • Income in Excess – for families with dependent children, who have received income in excess of the maximum rate for their family unit and the excess income could not have been reasonably expected to meet basic needs
    • Immediate Need – Work Search Required – for applicants with an immediate need for food, shelter or medical attention who have not satisfied the 3-week work search requirement
    • Sponsorship Undertaking Default – for applicants who are awaiting verification of default of a Sponsorship Undertaking
    • Identity Not Established – for persons who have insufficient identification
    • SIN Required – for family units where the applicant or adult dependent is unable to provide a Social Insurance Number (SIN). SIN Required hardship assistance is provided on a temporary basis, for up to six months. After the six-month period, the eligibility of a client for hardship assistance under this category will be reviewed monthly by supervisors.

    To be eligible for hardship assistance, an employable applicant or recipient must commit to an Employment Plan (EP), or have an active Employment Plan, when requested by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

    Applicants for hardship assistance must demonstrate that all alternatives for meeting basic needs have been exhausted. If income or assets have been used for purposes other than meeting basic needs, there is no eligibility for hardship assistance.

    Once the hardship reason no longer exists, cases must be re-assessed to determine if the family unit meets the eligibility criteria for income assistance or disability assistance.

    Proof of primary responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child

    For example:

    • a letter from the day care or school authorities indicating the child’s home address and contact information on file
    • a letter from a social worker, physician, a band council, or a resettlement officer stating that they have personal knowledge that the child lived with you for the period you indicated
    • a registration form or a receipt from an activity or club the child was enrolled in for the period you indicated
    • a court order, decree, or separation agreement that explains the type of custody arrangement you have (for example, shared custody) and clearly shows the living arrangements for the child
    • any other document showing that the child lived with you for the period you indicated

    Proof of  residency in Province

    For example:

    • lease agreement
    • rent receipt
    • household bill
      • gas
      • electricity
      • cable television
      • telephone
    • driver's license
    • vehicle registration or car insurance
    • membership in social or professional organization
    • Other:
      • bank information
      • employment information

    Proof of housing situation

    For example:

    • letter from landlord about your housing situation
    • eviction notice
    • disconnection notice
    • police report about an incident involving your housing
    • moving company quote or invoice
    • list of repairs needed in home
    • list of expenses for renovations needed for independence in the home
    • proof of home ownership (mortgage, property ownership)

    You can apply for hardship assistance services in a few ways:

    Last updated: March 20, 2021