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Common Questions

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

Last reviewed February 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors.

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 Poverty Reduction, is the online application for income assistance. It begins with an assessment tool to see if you are eligible, and lets you know what you need before you apply.
  • Chapter 21: Welfare (Income Assistance) Law, from the UBC LSLAP Manual, has an overview of eligibility, including the application process. This chapter also has a list of referrals to organizations that may be able to provide further help.

Need more help?

  • If you have a problem completing the application online, call the provincial government's Access Services at 1-866-866-0800 or visit your local office.
  • 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.
  • Advocacy Access Program, from Disability Alliance BC, has community advocates who can assist people with disabilities to apply for and appeal the denial of provincial disability benefits.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap

See our related common questions:

applying for welfare, welfare, income assistance, BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA), income assistance, hardship assistance, disability benefits, persons with disabilities (PWD) benefit, persistent and multiple barriers to employment (PPMB) benefit