Ottawa launches one-stop benefits tool
The federal government has launched a one-stop benefits search tool to help seniors and other Canadians find federal pandemic benefit programs.
The site is a simple one pager.
“Answer some questions to find financial help. We cannot guarantee your eligibility, but we can point you to the program details.”
You will be asked what province you live in, whether you have any income, to further define your income, the kind of aid you need and the kind of aid you are currently receiving.
The tool suggests the programs you may be eligible for with links and identifies provincial programs (by province) with links.
The page notes more benefits are being added and advises checking back for updates.
The Prime Minister has also announced funding and support for provinces to ramp up testing and contact tracing to help identify outbreaks of COVID-19 and isolate them.
He stressed the need for contact tracing using compatible data and tools will grow as more Canadians begin to travel within our borders.
So far only Ontario has signed on for the federal program. BC will be following the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Ottawa is working on an app for contact tracing. Google and Apple are set to announce a joint contact tracing app in June. The federal government will be recommending an app in the future; the PM is not saying whether it will be a government app or a third-party app.
Trying to navigate the flood of information and programs announced and reconfigured daily is not an easy task. We have put the information most likely to affect seniors together based on information available at this writing.
The links provided in the text are government sites. There are existing programs, both federal and provincial, that provide supplements for eligible low-income seniors.
Eligible low-income seniors can apply for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) with the federal government to supplement their existing pensions. Those who have applied before and were ineligible should review the pending changes under “How much you would receive.”
Beginning in July, earnings exemptions will be expanded to include employment and self-employment income. The full exemption will be increased from $3,500 to $5,000 and an additional 50 per cent exemption up to $10,000 for both recipients and their spouse or common-law partner
The BC seniors supplement tops up the OAS/GIS or the onetime Spouse’s Allowance.
The sites provide information that will assist you in determining if you are eligible for the supplements.
The BC Government is providing temporary rental supplements for April through June. If you apply before the end of April you can receive up to $300 towards April’s rent if you have no dependents. Those with dependents can receive up to $500. You only need to apply once. Successful applicants will be paid out based on the month they applied.
BC Hydro is providing three months of credit for eligible residential users. This program is for people who qualified for EI or the CERB.
The BC Emergency Preparedness Centre is a good one-stop shop for links to programs available to British Columbians.
WellandTrulyGrey.com will be updating this information when new programs become available. In the meantime, the links included in this article are updated by the respective government agencies as the pandemic response evolves.