Learn Single Parent Benefits British Columbia

Benefits Available for Single Parents in BC

If you're a single parent in BC, you are quite familiar with what it means to cover all the expenses related to taking care of a child with only one salary. While the recurring costs are easy to plan, unexpected expenses don't always fit into your budget.

Unanticipated events happen a lot when you are a parent, usually at inconvenient moments. But if you live in British Columbia, many programs can offer the financial assistance you need to cover everything your child needs. To help you get all the information you need, below, we will list all the benefits available for single parents in BC to know which you can qualify for.

Affordable Child Care Benefit

The Affordable Child Care Benefit is designed to provide support for the expenses related to child care. This benefit comes in the form of monthly payments. There are particular requirements that your family must meet, and if you qualify, you still have to apply again every year.

These are the conditions you need to meet to qualify for the Affordable Child Care Benefit program:

• You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have a current address in British Columbia
• The childcare facility you are using must be authorized
• You can apply for one of the following reasons: you are working, even self-employed, attending school, are enrolled in an employment program, are currently trying to find a job, you have a permanent medical condition that prevents you from providing for your child, or a social worker has issued a referral for you.
• The income-related requirements are as follows: households that earn up to $45,000 a year may qualify for full funding, and beyond that, families may be eligible for partial benefit funding.

With funds from various resources, this program is an excellent option for single parents who need help paying to keep their kids in childcare, usually while they are at work.

If all the requirements are met, the next step is to find out how much funding is available for your family. Depending on your family income, you may receive full or partial funding. But there are more factors involved in the process of calculating the Affordable Child Care Benefit.

Your family's size is one of the main factors, meaning the number of children, how many live with you, and if any of your children have special needs. If one of them has special needs and requires support in the daily activity, you can qualify for an extra $150 every month to get closer to the total cost of childcare, but without exceeding it.

The type of childcare you use is also a factor, as well as your child's age. To get an idea of what to expect, here are the maximum amounts, depending on the type of childcare you use:

Licensed Child Care Providers
Group child care/ multi-age child care Maximum funding per month

Children under 19 months


Children between 19 and 37 months


Children over 37 months but under school age


Children of school age


Family child care/in-home multi-age child care

Children under 19 months


Children between 19 and 37 months


Children over 37 months but under school age


Children of school age



Preschool (over 30 months but under school-age)


Care surrounding school day (school-age children)


Unlicensed Care Providers

Child care within an unlicensed location

Maximum funding per month

Children under 19 months


Children between 19 and 37 months


Children over 37 months but under school age


Children of school age


You can also be eligible for in-child's-own-home care if you decide to opt for a babysitter or a nanny. In this case, the monthly amount can go from $210 to $394, depending on the child's age.

The funding available also depends on how many days a week your child needs to be in childcare; you will get less if you use childcare facilities for less than 20 days each month. The final and essential factor is the net income of your household. Full funding is available for families with an income between $0 and $45,000, and if your household income is between $45,000 and $111,000, you will be eligible for partial funding.

If you want to know what funds to expect, you can use the Affordable Child Care Benefit Estimator. This useful calculator can give you a fair estimation of the benefit you qualify for. All you have to do is enter your marital status, how many children you have, whether any of them has special needs, and your family's gross annual income.

Once you have chosen a suitable childcare provider and have all the necessary information on your family members, you can apply for the Affordable Child Care Benefit. The easiest way to apply is online, with My Family Services, and it will take about ten business days for your application to be processed. If you don't want to apply online, you can also send your application by fax or by mail, but in this case, the processing period can be three weeks or even longer. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you should expect to get a benefit plan containing the amount you will receive each month, and the payments start and end date.

Autism Funding Program

Children living with autism need extra measures to develop the necessary skills in their manner and at their own pace. That requires not only time but also money, which can be incredibly hard for a single parent. That's where the Autism Funding Program can offer a helping hand.

Significant funding is available, but the exact amount you can receive depends on a few factors, the first of which is your child's age. These are the amounts you can expect and what you can use the money for:

The child's age Amount The funds can only be used for:

Under 6 years

Up to $22,000

- Professionals from the Registry of Autism Service Providers

- Behavior interventionists

- Up to $100 per month can be used for managing service providers (like hiring a bookkeeper)

- Employing a service provider

Children from 6 to 18 years

Up to $6,000

- Behavior consultants, speech specialists, physical therapists

- Behavior interventionists

- Life and social skills programs

- Out-of-school learning support

- Dietary counseling

- Therapeutic activities in specialized environments

- Employing and managing service providers

Funding is also available through the school system, $20,200 for the 2019/2020 school year. The main purpose of these funds is to facilitate the child's inclusion and are used by school authorities the way they consider fit. As for the benefits parents receive, up to 20% can be used to pay for equipment or supplies, training, as well as traveling costs connected to support services and training.

The process is relatively straightforward. Once you have done a diagnosis assessment, you can submit your application. You will then meet with a special worker who will go over the documents with you and explain all the eligibility aspects and other details of the process. You will have to present the following documents:

• The Autism Funding Application
• The documentation supporting the diagnosis
• The child's birth certificate to show that they are minor
• Proof of BC residency, like a current driver's license

After that, you will sign the funding agreement, and then you can start using the money for therapy, supplies, equipment, travel, and other expenses connected to caring for your child.

Only specific treatments can be paid using these funds, so it's best to check the list first.

Basic Dental, Eyeglasses, and Hearing Benefit

The Healthy Kids Program is part of the single-parent benefits in BC and was created to help families with low-income cover the expenses related to basic dental care, prescription glasses, and hearing aids. To qualify, your child must be under the age of 19, and you must be eligible for Medical Services Plan supplementary benefits.

To qualify for these benefits, you must have an income of less than $42,000, and you will be able to cover the following items:

• For dental care – exams, X-rays, extractions, fillings, and cleanings
• For eye care – exams and prescription glasses every year if necessary, but not contact lenses
• For hearing care – different types of hearing aids, including cochlear implants, repairs, and items related to these aids

The maximum amount of the dental benefit is $2,000 every two years, which is meant to cover the basic dental services we mentioned above. However, even if you have already reached the $2,000 limit, your child can still receive emergency treatment, if necessary.

To access the Dental, Eyeglasses, and Hearing Benefit, you need to apply for MSP supplementary benefits with Health Insurance BC. You must also make sure to file your taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency every year.

If there are changes in your family, like the addition of a child or the removal of a spouse, you need to update the information in your MSP account. Your income will be verified each year, but as long as your annual net income isn't over $42,000, you will continue to be eligible.

British Columbia Youth and Family Services

Many families can use a bit of help at a certain point, primarily if a single parent raises the children. And challenges don't stop when children are older; quite the opposite. These services provide support for youth and families going through a rough period.

Depending on the type of struggle you are facing, you can get psychological support to keep the family together or deal with your child's disability; help is also available for teens in foster care.

Another interesting and useful goal of the BC Youth and Family Services is to include youth in activities and collaborations in the community. The goal is to help them maximize their potential and increase their self-confidence.

British Columbia Single Parent Employment Initiative

When you're a single parent, having a dependable job that can provide you with the necessary income and financial stability to care for your children is crucial. But getting such a job often means having to go through extensive training. That is time-consuming, and you can't afford to stay unemployed that long. That is where these British Columbia Single Parent Employment Initiative can be of help.

The goal is to help you get a long-term job to help you deal with the financial burden. This is what the program can help you with:

• Paid training or work experience up to 12 months
• You can receive income or disability assistance while you complete your training
• The costs of child care while you are in training and during the first year on the new job
• The costs related to the kids' transport to and from school
• Support meant to help you develop useful skills like resume writing or handling a job interview
• During the first year on the new job, you will receive Health Supplement Coverage

You can prepare for many careers by going through job training while benefiting from the Single Parent Employment Initiative. Here are a few examples to get inspired and start planning your future career:

• Early childhood education
• Administration
• Medical services
• Trades and construction

The list is actually much longer, and you can look online using the BC 2025 Labor Market Outlook or the Labor Market Navigator to see what jobs are available. However, you must only consider those where the training doesn't take longer than 12 months.

If you are a single parent in British Columbia and have been receiving income or disability assistance for the previous three months, you can qualify for the program. To apply and get started with the program, you need to contact your local WorkBC Employment Services Centre. There, you will get more information, see what services are available for you, and you will get a case manager to look into your situation and assist you in finding employment.

Disability Assistance

If you are identified as a Person with Disabilities, the Disability Assistance program can get you financial and health support to help you with the monthly challenges. To find out if you can qualify, these are the requirements you must meet:

• You must be at least 18 years old
• You must be suffering from a severe physical or mental disability that is diagnosed to continue for at least two years
• You must have serious problems handling the daily activities
• You must depend on another person or have an assisting animal or device to help you in your everyday life
• You must be financially eligible for assistance

If you meet the requirements, you must complete the Persons with Disabilities Designation Application. And if you have already been part of a similar program, you may benefit from a simplified application process.

Family Justice Counsellors

Single parents in British Columbia may need different types of counseling. In that case, you can benefit from the Family Justice Counsellors program to help you with issues related to custody, guardianship, parenting, and handle family conflicts.

If you need counseling services, you must find one of the many Family Justice Centers spread through most communities. There, you will find a specially trained counselor to help you through difficult times like agreements with former spouses, custody issues, child support, and services you can turn to for help.

Due to their qualifications and accreditations, these counselors can help you with:

• Psychological support
• They can refer you to community services
• They can offer legal advice if you don't have a lawyer
• They can offer support and information to help you with post-separation parenting
• They can perform family assessments when the court orders it

If you find yourself in need of such services, it's time to set up a meeting at the Family Justice Centre in your area. You can do that by calling EnquiryBC, any working day, from 7:30 am to 5 pm, asking to be transferred, or placing a call directly to the nearest Family Justice Centre location.

Income Assistance

Income Assistance is designed to help you when you need to cover the basic expenses for everyday living when you don't have other resources.

There are specific responsibilities that you have when you want to apply for income assistance, and while you receive it:

• You must make efforts to find a job
• Prove that at least one member of your family unit had financial independence for at least two years
• Try to find alternative income sources
• When you are referred to a training program, make sure to take it
• Be open to any job you can perform
• Make a personal goal out of becoming financially independent as soon as possible
• You need to have a social insurance number; if you don't apply for one
• Give authorities complete and accurate identification information on yourself and your family
• If your situation has changed in a way that no longer makes you eligible for income assistance, make sure to communicate that aspect

If you are eligible, this is what you can benefit from: an income assistance rate calculated according to your particular situation, medical services, PharmaCare prescription coverage, as well as other expenses.

If you have no other resources and are in urgent need of food, shelter, or medical assistance, and you meet the requirements, you can turn to Income Assistance for help. And if you don't qualify but are in a critical situation and need help, it is possible to receive hardship assistance.

To apply for Income Assistance, you can call or visit the local office or apply online, using My Self-Serve. You will have to enter the following information:

• Identifying information for you and your family members
• Your Social Insurance Number
• The amount you pay for rent and utilities
• The balance of your bank account
• If you have a car, how much you owe for it
• Whether you receive or are waiting for Employment Insurance or Worker's Compensation Benefits
• If there are any outstanding warrants on your name
• Whether a family member sponsored you into Canada

Once your application is approved, you will receive Income Assistance payments every month. You can opt for direct deposit and get it straight into your bank account. As for the payment dates, this is the schedule for 2021:

BC Income Assistance Payment Dates - 2021

January 20, 2021

February 17, 2021

March 24, 2021

April 21, 2021

May 19, 2021

June 23, 2021

July 21, 2021

August 25, 2021

September 22, 2021

October 20, 2021

November 17, 2021

December 15, 2021

Natal Supplement

Being a single parent is challenging in general, but if you are a single mom and pregnant, the situation is even more difficult. The Natal Supplement is one of the benefits in BC that can help you cover prenatal and postnatal costs to make sure your new baby is well cared for.

To qualify for the natal supplement, the expecting mom must be receiving one of the following: income assistance, disability assistance, hardship assistance. You are eligible from the moment your pregnancy is confirmed until six months after your baby is born.

To apply for the Natal Supplement, you must provide official written confirmation of the pregnancy and the estimated delivery date so that you can benefit from the monthly payments. The confirmation is official as long as it's issued on a letterhead or a prescription pad by a licensed medic, nurse, or midwife.

The amount you can expect to receive is as follows:

Natal Supplement

Single pregnancy or birth

$45 for every calendar month

Multiple pregnancy or birth

$90 for every calendar month

All these single parent benefits in BC help families cover the basic monthly expenses and overcome challenging periods. The assistance you receive can help you make sure your child is in a safe place while you are at work, that you can cover their necessary medical expenses, including eye care and dental care, which can be a significant burden on your budget.

If your child is living with a disability, you can also count on specialized assistance and financial support, so you can pay for any special equipment or supplies you may need.

Apart from paying for the essential things your child needs, these programs are of great help for the parent. If you need to find better employment but cannot afford to quit working for a while to complete your training, other programs can help you.

As long as you intend to work and find a better job to provide for your family, you will receive support. Each of these programs has particular requirements, but the general rule is that you need to prove you are making genuine efforts to find employment or any income source or suffering from a condition that doesn't allow you to work.

If you feel you need extra help to cover expenses, you can turn to a money lender like iCASH. We offer loans in British Columbia for up to $1,500, even if your main income source comes from government benefits.