Welfare Caseloads in BC Continue to Rise

February 17th, 2010-->

According to December 2009 data from the provincial Ministry of Housing and Social Development, the number of those receiving income assistance in the Expected to Work category increased by 45.4% between 2008 and 2009.  Close to 12,000 more families and individuals were receiving assistance in December 2009 than in the previous year.  By family type, the biggest increase in income assistance recipients were two parent families (a 69% jump), followed by single men (a 59% increase from 2008 based on annual averages).

The National Council of Welfare has just released a comparison of welfare incomes in 2008 by family type. A lone parent with a child aged 2 received $11,347 from BC income assistance in 2008, and other benefits including the GST credit and Canada Child Tax Benefit bring that figure up to $16,808. This is $5553 less than the low income cut off for that year.  The peak year for welfare earnings for this family type was $18,183 in 1994.

A family with two parents and two children ages 10 and 15 would have received $13,213 from income assistance in 2008 in BC, for a total of $21,016 with other benefits, which is $13,722 below the low income cut off.  This is $2,751 less than the same family would have received in 1994.

A single person considered employable would have received $7,700 including other benefits, which is more than $10,000 less than the low income cut off.  A single person with a disability received $11,382 in 2008. A detailed analysis of the inadequacy of welfare rates is available from SPARC BC.

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