The perks of poverty

ID-100123804In one of my first posts, I touched briefly on the fact that there are advantages of being on income assistance. And while I wasn’t being sarcastic then, I most likely will be now.

There’s a difference between being low-income and being on income assistance; the former implies you have a job. Once you dip below the poverty line, you become eligible for all sorts of programs.

The crazy thing about the poverty line in BC is that each organization defines that line as something different financially. Let’s look at a breakdown on what your annual income needs to be to qualify for these programs/services:

Less than $46,500/year

  • Subsidized Housing
    • BC Housing has more than 13,000 people on their waitlist
    • Housing is given to those deemed most in need and based on availability
    • You would pay 30% of your income towards rent
    • $1162.50/month for rent

Less than $34,000/year*

  • Subsidized Housing
    • 30% of your income for $850/month rent
  • Rental Assistance
    • For single parents – only one parentcan be in the program
      • If you and your ex share custody, only one of you can apply
    • Based on the previous year’s income tax return
    • Must be working
    • Cannot be on Income Assistance or Disability
    • Based on where you live, # of children, cost of rent, if heat is included and your income

Less than $30,000/year*

  • Subsidized Housing
    • 30% of your income for $750/month for rent
  • Rental Assistance
  • MSP Assistance
    • Pay a percentage of your premiums based on your income
    • Once registered with MSP, you can apply for Fair Pharmacare, which pays for some or all of your prescriptions

Less than $29,706/year*

  • Subsidized Housing
  • Rental Assistance
  • MSP Assistance
  • Leisure Access Card
    • Provides access to swimming and skating at local community centres, including rentals
    • Classes offered at 50% off

Less than $22,000/year*

  • Subsidized Housing
    • 30% of your income for $550/month for rent
  • Rental Assistance
  • Leisure Access Card
  • Free MSP

Less than $21,600/year*

  • Subsidized Housing
  • Rental Assistance
  • Leisure Access Card
  • Free MSP
  • Child Care Subsidy
    • Based on # of children, type of care, amount of time in care and cost of care
      • As with Rental Assistance, only one parent can apply for this subsidy

Less than $5,000/year*

  • No longer eligible for the Leisure Access Pass

Annual income based on one adult and one child on assistance:

The people making $46,500 are on the same subsidized housing waitlist as those making $11,340. Does that make sense? Why are the amounts so different from program to program? Either the poverty line needs to be pushed up to $46,500 or we need to redefine poverty.

*Rates and requirements are approximate and are subject to change.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

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