Number of People on Welfare
In June 2011, 183,814 people in BC lived on welfare. This is 1 in 25 people in BC. There were 90,227 people on Temporary Assistance Welfare and a further 93,587 people on Disability Assistance in June 2011. This is an increase of 48,000 since 2007.
(from Ministry of Social Development, BC Employment and Assistance http://www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/research/)
The welfare rate for a single person is $610 to cover everything including: housing, food, personal hygiene, clothing, household supplies and, as they are required to look for work, a phone or pay phone and transit.
That $610 a month includes $375 for housing and $235 for support, for a total annual income of $7320, compared to the poverty line of $19,342.
A one parent family with 2 children receives $1036 a month, including $660 for housing and $376 for support, for a total annual income of $12,432, compared to the poverty line of $29,314.
A single person with Persistent Multiple Barriers receives $658 a month, including $375 for housing and $283 for support, for a total annual income of $7896, compared to the poverty line of $19,342.
- Since 2002, lone parents are not allowed to keep any child support money they received from ex-partners.
- Until 2002, employable single parents were entitled to keep $200 in earnings a month, but now they are not allowed to keep any.
- A single person has every cent they earned clawed back.
- In 2003 the government closed 36 welfare offices making it harder for people, especially in smaller communities, to access welfare and the offices.
- To receive welfare a person has to be virtually destitute. A single person is allowed total assets of $1,500 and cash assets of less than $150. Couples and single parent families can only have assts of $2,500 and cash of $250.
- Once a person applies for welfare they have to wait 3 weeks before they receive any money.
- If a person owns a car worth more that $5000 they are not eligible for welfare.
- To receive welfare most people have to have been financially independent for at least two consecutive years before applying.
In February, 1986 Emery Barnes, MLA for Vancouver Centre, spent a month on welfare. At the end he said the welfare for a single person should be $700. Today that would be $1,300 a month.