The Provincial Government has opened applications for the BC Recovery Benefit, but high traffic on the website has caused connectivity issues for residents.

British Columbians were promised up to $500 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families earning less than a certain threshold to help out amid the holiday season, while B.C. is in the midst of its second wave of COVID-19.

The Province said families earning less than $125,000 will be eligible for $1,000, with a reduced amount going to families making up to $175,000. Single-parent families are also eligible for the benefit.

Individuals making less than $62,500 will be able to receive $500 from the provincial government, with a reduced benefit going to those earning up to $87,500.

The benefit amount is calculated based on the applicant’s 2019 income.

Applications opened on Friday, December 18th, but the website crashed shortly after, seeing high demand for the benefit.

Applications will be accepted until June of 2021.

The Province has said, however, that it expected the increased traffic after the benefit launched.

“I’d like to thank the B.C. public service for getting this program up and running so quickly and to the hundreds of Service BC call centre staff who will be helping British Columbians apply for their BC Recovery Benefit,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “Please be patient and respectful to staff over the holidays as call volumes may result in longer wait times.”

According to the B.C. Government, about 3.7 million British Columbians, or 90% of all adults in the province, are eligible for the benefit.

Applications can be done online or by phone at 1-833-882-0020 starting December 21st. The province said phone lines will be open from Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pacific time.

“Up to 350 call centre agents will be available for the first week of applications to help answer questions or complete applications over the phone. Call volumes, web traffic and delays with banking institutions may result in longer wait times during the first few weeks of the benefit,” said the Provincial Government.

In the New year, the Province said it will introduce a modified application process for people receiving disability and income assistance who do not have banking services or who have barriers to filing income taxes

More: BC Recovery Benefit information (B.C. Government)

More: BC Recovery Benefit application (B.C. Government)

In order to qualify, B.C. residents must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been a resident of British Columbia on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.
  • Be at least 19 years old on Dec. 18, 2020, unless they are the primary caregiver of a child or cohabitating with a spouse.
  • Have filed a 2019 income tax return.
  • Have their 2019 income tax notice of assessment, and their spouse’s 2019 income tax notice of assessment, if applicable.
  • Have their Social Insurance Number, and if applicable, their spouse’s.
  • Have their direct deposit information, including branch, institution and account numbers.
  • Have their B.C. driver’s licence or confirm they do not have one.