The province’s BC Recovery Benefit web page asks for patience.

The province’s BC Recovery Benefit web page asks for patience.

Maple Ridge seniors says his recovery benefit in a ‘black hole’

Blames B.C. bureaucracy for delaying his cheque over ‘single’ error

A Maple Ridge senior is frustrated that his $1,000 pandemic recovery benefit is being held up.

John McKenzie, 66, said he spent an hour and a half at the Maple Ridge library trying to wade through government red tape and get the cheque promised him by NDP Leader John Horgan during the provincial election campaign. He asked people for help.

“It’s so complex – so complicated,” he said.

He is a volunteer driver for seniors through community services, and worries those who are less computer literate than he will not be able to claim their benefits.

McKenzie has been in touch with MLA Bob D’Eith’s office for help, and has learned he made a mistake in filing for the funds – he indicated his marital status as “single,” when he is in fact “separated” – albeit 20 years separated.

“So [the application] goes into this incredible black hole,” he lamented. “It looks like they’re looking for an excuse to dump your file, and not give you they money.”

B.C. has paid the pandemic recovery benefit to an estimated 1.6 million British Columbians. However, roughly 429,000 applications have been held up in a manual review process. McKenzie is one of those, and it could take a month for the review to be completed.

The finance ministry said roughly 70 per cent of applications received since mid-December have been automatically approved.

Meanwhile, 150 ministry staff have been reassigned to assist in manually reviewing flagged applications.

Launched on Dec. 18, individuals with a net income of up to $62,500 are eligible for $500, while couples, single parents and families with a net income of up to $125,000 are eligible for $1,000. Reduced amounts are available for those who made up to a net income of $87,500 and $175,000, respectively.

READ ALSO: Applications now open for B.C. Recovery Benefit, worth up to $1,000

A person will face a manual review when the online system cannot automatically verify a person’s identity, income and residency with the data currently available to the ministry from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

McKenzie noted the mistake of calling himself “single” did not prevent the CRA from deducting thousands of dollars in taxes every year for the past two decades.

He is reasonably confident he will get the funds eventually, “If I don’t die of a heart attack dealing with the B.C. government bureaucracy first.”

Up to 3.7 million British Columbians are eligible to receive the B.C. recovery benefit, which will be available until later this year. Those who don’t have online access can phone 1-833-882-0020.

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC governmentmaple ridgePitt Meadows

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayor Bill Dingwall said grant will go a long way to ensure the risks and hazards of wildfires are minimized in Pitt Meadows. (News files)
Pitt Meadows receives grant for wildfire resiliency planning

City awarded $50,000 as part of provincial program designed to reduce risk and impact of wildfire

School board chair Korleen Carreras, left, is looking forward to receiving input for the 2021/2022 preliminary budget. (The News files)
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school board expecting COVID will impact budget

Work being done now on 2021/2022 preliminary budget

Last month there was a COVID-19 variant at Maple Ridge’s Garibaldi secondary. (Neil Corbett/The News)
COVID-19 rapid response teams to assist school districts

Little in-school transmission in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows says Carreras

Police seized drugs and a makeshift garrote. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)
Police seized drugs and a makeshift garrote. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge police arrest man with drugs, strangling weapon

Ridge Meadows RCMP street team stopped suspect for driving while prohibited

Almost 400 new child care spaces for the Fraser Valley. (Thinkstock Image)
Child-care spaces boosted by provincial fund across the Fraser Valley

400 licensed child-care spaces coming for Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge families

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read