Common Questions

I have to go on welfare. What do I need to know before I apply?

Before you apply for welfare, it is important for you to prepare. You will have to explain your situation and prove why you need benefits. One key preparation step is to gather together all documents and information that may help support your application. It is also important to know your welfare rights and what to expect.

Good starting points include:

  • Apply for Income Assistance, from BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, is the online application for income assistance from BC Employment and Assistance. It begins with an assessment tool to see if you are eligible.
  • Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance, from the Legal Services Society, has a chapter on “How to Apply for Welfare".
  • BC Employment and Assistance Factsheets, from the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, includes factsheets on topics such as the Community Volunteer Supplement, Hardship Assistance, and Sanctions for Fraud.
  • Welfare Resources, from PovNet, is a web page that has news, online resources, government information, applications and forms and links related to welfare including research on welfare rates, news on changes to welfare and information on how to apply for welfare.
  • Find an Advocate, from PovNet, provides a list of community advocates who may be able to provide information or assistance regarding the welfare application process.
  • Legal Help Guide for British Columbians - Welfare and Disability Problems, from Nicola Valley Advocacy Centre and Courthouse Libraries BC, provides a simple overview of the welfare application process.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed November 2016

applying for welfare, welfare, income assistance, BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA)