B.C. changing orphan benefit policy

Government stopped deducting child support and CPP orphan benefits last year, but WorkSafeBC benefits were overlooked

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell

The B.C. government is ending its practice of deducting WorkSafeBC death benefits from income assistance collected by the survivors.

The regulatory change is being made after Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog questioned the government about a constituent who has had her four-year-old son’s benefit deducted since she began receiving income assistance.

The father disappeared and was presumed drowned while working on a log boom at Port Mellon in 2011, before the child was born. The boy was eligible for $286.72 per month in a WorkSafeBC benefit because his father was killed on the job, but under the province’s income assistance policy, that amount was deducted, leaving the mother with $658 a month.

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell said Tuesday she has instructed ministry staff to change the regulation, similar to a change that was made last September to exempt Canada Pension Plan orphan benefits.

Stilwell said there appear to be only a few cases involving WorkSafeBC, and she was not aware of them when regulations were changed to stop deducting CPP and parental child support payments.

“As with many government benefits, when it comes to staff members, they follow it word for word,” Stilwell said.

As of last September, single parents on income assistance are allowed to keep child support payments made by the other parent. That affected about 3,200 families and 5,400 children.

NDP social development critic Michelle Mungall said that since the Nanaimo case came to light, MLAs have heard of similar cases involving WorkSafeBC child benefits. She urged the government to make the change as quickly as possible.

“New Democrats advocated for more than a year to end the child support clawback, and we saw success on that, and at the same time, the government made the right decision to end the clawback of CPP orphan benefits,” Mungall said. “Somehow they ignored this one and the minister needs to account for why they ignored it.”

Income assistance payments in B.C. were last increased in 2007. For an employable adult, the rate is $235 per month plus a maximum shelter allowance of $375 a month. For an employable single parent with one child, the rate is $375.58 plus $570 for shelter.

 

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read