Decision Maker Response

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction’s response

Aug 24, 2021 — We appreciate you sharing your feedback about spousal income being included in the calculation of a client’s eligibility for assistance.

Earlier this year, Minister Simons had an opportunity to meet with Spencer van Vloten and learn more about’s campaign.

As couples who are married or in a marriage-like relationship share certain expenses, such as rent and bills, their assistance rate is less than it is for two individuals. This sharing of resources is the reason why income and assets of a spouse are included in determining eligibility for assistance.

As part of TogetherBC, the province’s first poverty reduction strategy, government changed the definition of spouse on January 1, 2020, to treat people more fairly and ensure alignment to other benefit programs. This change allows people in relationships to live together for one year, instead of three months, before being considered spouses. This policy change also includes providing the singles’ assistance rate to married clients who have separated but not yet divorced and are living in the same residence independently.

As part of the annual budget process, our Ministry reviews programs and services and your feedback will be taken into consideration at that time.