B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

B.C. has paid out the election-promised pandemic recovery benefit to an estimated 1.6 million British Columbians, with roughly 429,000 applicants held up in a manual review process.

In a statement to Black Press Media, the finance ministry said that roughly 70 per cent of applications received since mid-December have been automatically approved.

Meanwhile, 150 ministry staff have been reassigned to assist in manually reviewing flagged applications. So far, 82,000 filled-out forms have been pushed through.

“We understand the frustration some people are feeling about their application status or having to submit additional documentation,” the ministry said.

Launched on Dec. 18, individuals with a net income of up to $62,500 are eligible for $500, while couples, single parents and families with a net income of up to $125,000 are eligible for $1,000. Reduced amounts are available for those who made up to a net income $87,500 and $175,000, respectively.

A person will face a manual review when the online system cannot automatically verify a person’s identity, income and residency with the data currently available to the ministry from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

That information may not match for a number of reasons: errors in an application, transposed numbers, numbers provided do not match up with information that the government has on file, residency changes or if the individual filed their taxes in another jurisdiction.

It can take up to 30 days for a review to be completed, the province said in an earlier statement.

Up to 3.7 million British Columbians are eligible to receive the B.C. recovery benefit, which will be available until later this year. Those who don’t have online access can phone 1-833-882-0020.


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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