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Employment and Income Assistance Programs – Frequently Asked Questions

Questions:

Why have I received a collection notice?
What should I do when I receive a notice?
What should I do if I disagree with the debt?
If I can't pay right away, can I have more time?
What will happen if I don't pay my bill?
I did not receive a notice. Do I have to pay interest?
Why are you taking my income tax refund or GST/HST credit?
How do I contact you?

Answers:


Why have I received a collection notice?

When you stopped receiving Employment (Income) Assistance, money was owed on your account. The most common reasons why this may have happened are:

You received a repayable benefit (examples below)

  • You received a 'hardship grant'.  Although your income and/or assets were higher than the limit, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation determined that with your dependent children, it was not enough to meet your family's basic needs.
  • You were waiting for retroactive benefits.  For example, you expected payments from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security Program (OAS), the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA), or the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB).
  • You were waiting for employment insurance (EI) benefits.
  • You were involved in a labour dispute such as a strike or lockout.
  • You received a security ('damage') deposit.
  • You received money to pay for your co-op housing membership share

You were overpaid on your benefit

  • You received higher benefits than you were entitled (you were 'overpaid').  This could have happened if, for example, you did not report a change in your personal/financial circumstances.

You were ordered to repay an amount

  • A court ordered you to make a repayment because it determined that you had committed fraud.

What should I do when I receive a notice?

Please pay the amount due by the due date indicated on the notice. There are several ways in which you can pay. Please see How to Pay for details.


What should I do if I disagree with the debt?

If you disagree or do not understand it and would like more information, please call the number indicated on your notice or call 1-800-361-5050


If I can't pay right away, can I have more time?

We do consider alternative payment arrangements. First, we will need to determine your ability to pay.

You may need to make a full financial disclosure and provide evidence of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities by completing a Financial Report Form. We may verify this information, and advise you if your proposal can be accepted. Consideration will be given for possible remission for qualified debts.

Please contact us directly to discuss a payment arrangement by phoning the number provided on your notice/bill or phone 1-866-361-5050.

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What will happen if I don't pay my bill?

We may initiate the following actions:

  • place a notice of Crown Debt on your property
  • issue a demand on your wages, bank account or other accounts
  • set off funds owed to you by the provincial or federal government
I did not receive a notice. Do I have to pay interest?

If you have recently moved residences, we may have your old address on file and the notice may have been sent to that address. However, if you did not receive a notice, or received a late notice, interest continues to be charged on certain debts (court-ordered judgement only).

Please notify us with your new mailing address. When Canada Post returns mail as undeliverable, we do our best to locate your correct address and send another notice.


Why are you taking my income tax refund or GST/HST credit?

If you owe a debt to the Province of British Columbia, we can offset monies owing to you from the Canada Revenue Agency.


How do I contact you?

Please call the phone number provided on the letters and notices you receive, or you can call 1-866-361-5050.


 
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