Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to reimburse funds wrongfully withheld from welfare recipients
Following a complaint to the BC Ombudsperson, Jay Chalke, an investigation determined that the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction had failed to follow the law in calculating entitlement to income assistance benefits.
The Ministry had improperly imposed a policy of a one-month suspension the earnings exemption, which allows income assistance recipients to retain a portion of their earnings in addition to their monthly income assistance payments. The intention of the earnings exemption is to encourage and support income assistance recipients to work. The investigation revealed that the Ministry continued the one-month suspension of the earnings exemption even though it was aware that the suspension was inconsistent with the law.
Special Report N. 41, Working Within the Rules: Supporting Employment for Income Assistance Recipients makes four recommendations to ensure that Ministry policy will be made consistent with the law, and that all those – an estimated 3700 people — affected by the inconsistent policy will be reimbursed by October 1, 2018. Chalke is pleased that the Ministry has accepted all the recommendations.
He has also committed to following progress on the recommendations and reporting publicly.
To read the full report, click this link.