Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Interactions between income and social support programs in B.C.

Petit, Gillian and Tedds, Lindsay M. (2020): Interactions between income and social support programs in B.C.

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This paper examines the system of income and social supports available to B.C. residents and how programs interact with each other. We observe that programs can interact through “eligibility interactions” and “benefit interactions”; that is, one program can affect eligibility for another program and benefits from one program can affect benefits from another program. We look in depth at both the disability tax credit and provincial social assistance and how these programs act as “gateway programs” for other programs: access issues to these gateway programs can limit access to other programs. We also examine the interaction between provincial social assistance and the Rental Assistance Program, both which provide a housing supplement to low-income B.C. residents; however, receipt of one precludes the receipt of the other. For a person deciding between these programs, knowing which program makes a person better off is complicated. Finally, we look at how receipt of the Seniors Bus Pass affects the level of other tax-delivered benefits, and how receiving provincial social assistance benefits affects receipt of the Canada Workers Benefit: for both, the receipt of one benefit reduces the other benefit level raising the question of whether this was intentional. These interaction effects have implications for how reforms should be approached. Reforms to programs are often approached as reforms to individual programs; however, they should be approached with the entire system in mind.

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