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Bonus payment being added to B.C. benefit for thousands of families: premier

B.C. Premier David Eby waits to speak during a news conference at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns B.C. Premier David Eby waits to speak during a news conference at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns
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Thousands of B.C. families who receive a benefit from the province will get a little more money this year, Premier David Eby announced Monday.

Recipients of the B.C. Family Benefit – which is distributed to eligible parents with children under the age of 18 – will get an average of about $445 more as the province adds a one-year bonus to payments to help with rising expenses.

"With global inflation and high interest rates driving up daily costs, we know families are being hit hard right now," Eby said in a statement. "Getting a little extra money to families for the basics is one of the ways we're helping people who are feeling squeezed right now."

About 340,000 families receive the benefit, the province said, which is an increase of 66,000 compared to last year. On average, families receive about $2,000 from the benefit per year, with amounts scaled based on net income and the number of children in the family. Single-parent families typically qualify for higher payments, and middle-income families receive partial benefits.

Katie Bartel, a parent living in Chilliwack, welcomed the benefit, saying it "often takes an entire community" to raise a family.

"Life's expensive, especially for those of us who have a child with a disability and raising any family right now has its own unique challenges. I always thought my life would get cheaper as my kids got older, and I was very wrong," she said Monday. "I see how hard it is for families right now, with rising costs of food, clothes, gas, child care, housing, parents are struggling to get by."

Payments of the B.C. Family Benefit are delivered by direct deposit or cheque and come as a combined payment with the federal Canada Child Benefit. The province estimates 70 per cent of families in B.C. will receive the benefit in 2024, with the increased payments starting in mid-July.

"We know people are feeling the effects of high prices and stretched budgets," Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy said in a statement. "That's why we're increasing this year's BC Family Benefit payments to help lighten the burden." 

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