April 2-Covid 19 Update

There have been some developments over the last few days in regards to supports for people who are impacted by the Covid-19 virus, as well as some general information about the numbers of ill, recovered, and dead.

Update on Financial Supports.

The Application portal for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefits opens April 6. In order to tamp down on chance of overwhelming and crashing the system, applicants are invited to apply on certain days based on birth month. The breakdown is as follows:

-January, February, and March: April 6 and then Mondays thereafter.

-April, May, June: April 7 and then Tuesdays thereafter

-July, August, September: April 8, and then Wednesdays thereafter

-October, November, December: April 9 and then Thursdays thereafter

-Undisclosed/Any month: April 10 and then every Friday, Saturday or Sunday, thereafter

The idea here is to prevent the system from getting overwhelmed and crashing. Canada saw over half a million applications to EI in the first week of quarantine alone and the CERB is meant to relieve some of the burden on the EI office as well as streamline income assistance for people who are out of work due to the Covid virus.

BC Hydro announced a three-month credit on power bills for people out of work due to the Covid virus. This credit does not have to be paid back and is meant to help ease the burden of bills for out of work applicants.

Other Supports

One of the big critiques of the CERB is that it really is geared for out of work applicants and does nothing for people who were already not working (such as students) or seniors. There are a few things that are rolling out to help address this.

-For students, the Emergency Financial Aid has been increased. We will have more details about this as it develops, including eligibility, amount, etc. The Emergency financial aid is generally available to students enrolled in full time studies, on student loans, and can show they are in emergency financial need and we doubt that this will be any different in terms of eligibility.

-For seniors, people with disabilities, and those on income assistance, there will be a top of $300 per month (for the next three months) automatically deposited to bank accounts on top of the usual benefits in BC

BC also has a renter’s assistance program whereby you may be able to apply to get $500 sent to your landlord or property management company to help pay your rent, starting May. (For May 1 rent).

News

Worldwide, the number of cases of COVID (confirmed) has crossed 1 million. This includes over 740,000 active cases, over 200,000 recovered cases and over 50,000 deaths.

In Canada, there have been over 10,000 confirmed cases with over 1,000 in BC. The death toll has passed 100, largely in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. This week has been critical in seeing how well the social isolation practices have been working and whether they need to be made stricter or remain the same. Experts seem to have come to the consensus that we can expect these practices to linger well into June before possibly easing off, but that assumes we keep up our current social isolation practices or do even more to distance ourselves.

It could get rough over the next few weeks as people settle into the new norm, but it’s important to maintain social distancing, take advantage of many online services for education and entertainment, and remember that this too shall pass.

Stay safe!

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