Reconsideration and Appeals
People who apply for or receive assistance under the BC Employment and Assistance Program have a right to quality service, fair access to programs and transparent decision-making.
Your Right to Reconsideration and Appeal
The Ministry of Social Development recognizes that differences of opinion may arise between you and your Employment and Assistance Worker (EAW). If you disagree with a ministry decision, you are encouraged to first discuss your concerns with your EAW. If you and your EAW still disagree, you may request a reconsideration of the decision. A Reconsideration Officer will conduct a reconsideration of the original decision and make a new ministry decision. The reconsideration decision is the final ministry decision. If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you may appeal that decision to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunal is an independent agency that will hold a hearing to consider your appeal.
What is a Reconsideration or Appeal Supplement?
You may be eligible to receive a supplement while you are awaiting the outcome of a reconsideration or appeal if you were already receiving income assistance, disability assistance, or a supplement. You will be required to sign a Promise to Repay form and pay back this supplement if the final appeal decision supports the ministry decision. If the final decision is in your favour, you will not be required to repay the supplement.
Overview of the Reconsideration and Appeal Process
When making decisions about what a person is eligible for, ministry staff are bound by the legislation and regulations that govern the BC Employment and Assistance Program.
Deadlines are important, so remember to keep a record of the dates you submit your paperwork and the Request for Reconsideration form.
How the Process Works
The reconsideration process provides clients with an opportunity to have the ministry’s original decision reconsidered. The reconsideration decision is a new and final ministry decision and is, therefore, the client’s final opportunity to submit new evidence to support their case.
Decisions that may be reconsidered include:
- Your application for assistance has been denied.
- The amount of assistance you are currently receiving has been reduced.
- Your assistance has been discontinued.
- You disagree with a decision that has been made about your employment plan.
There are some decisions that cannot be reconsidered. For example: quality of service issues or disagreements about administrative practices such as the method of cheque pick-up or a request for a different EAW. However, such concerns should be identified to the supervisor of your local Employment and Assistance Office and every effort will be made to resolve these issues at that office.
Step 1 – Reconsideration
- Let your EAW know that you wish to seek reconsideration of a ministry decision.
- Complete a Request for Reconsideration form. You can get a copy of the form at your local Employment and Assistance Office.
- Your worker will complete sections one and two of the form, stating the decision made by the ministry, providing all of the reasons for the decision and citing the legislation under which the decision was made.
- You must complete sections three and four of the form. You may include additional documentation or information that you feel may support your case. Please remember to sign and date the form. No new evidence can be submitted after a reconsideration decision has been made.
- Return your Request for Reconsideration to a local ministry office within 20 business days from the date you were notified of the ministry’s original decision.
- Keep a record of the date you were notified of the ministry’s original decision and the date you submitted your Request for Reconsideration form.
- If you need help filling out the Request for Reconsideration form, you may wish to ask an advocate to help you.
- Your submission will be reviewed and a decision made by a Reconsideration Officer.
- Generally a decision will be mailed to you within 10 business days of receiving your Request for Reconsideration form. At any time after your submission has been received and before a reconsideration decision is made, you can request an extension of 10 business days, if more time is needed to gather and submit information.
Step 2 – The Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal
If you disagree with a reconsideration decision, you have seven business days to appeal to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunal provides an independent, community-based appeal process. The Tribunal hears appeals of reconsideration decisions that:
- Refuse, reduce or discontinue income assistance, disability assistance or a supplement.
- Determine the amount of a supplement.
- Refuse hardship assistance under the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.
- If you have not sent a Notice of Appeal form to the Tribunal within seven business days of receiving the ministry’s reconsideration decision, you will be deemed to have accepted the ministry decision.
- You can request an oral or written hearing.
- If the Tribunal determines that your matter is appealable, the Tribunal will appoint a panel of up to three people and hold a hearing within 15 business days of receiving your completed Notice of Appeal form.
- If you request an oral hearing, you will be notified of the date and time – and whether it will be held in person or by teleconference – at least two business days in advance. Where possible, the Tribunal will hold your oral hearing in your community.
- If you request a written hearing, the ministry must agree to that format. The Tribunal will then provide you with instructions about written submissions to the panel.
- The panel can only admit as evidence the information and records that the ministry had at the time the reconsideration decision was made, including oral or written testimony that supports the information. Any new information to support your appeal should be submitted to the panel, who will then decide if it is admissible.
- You are responsible for presenting your side of the case at the hearing. You can also ask a friend, family member or an advocate to come with you or help you prepare written information for the panel.
- A representative of the ministry will attend your hearing and explain the ministry’s reconsideration decision but will not be there in a decision-making capacity.
- After your hearing, the panel will determine if the ministry’s reconsideration decision was:
- reasonably supported by the evidence
- a reasonable application of the legislation given your circumstances.
- The panel will then either agree with (confirm) the ministry’s reconsideration decision or overturn (rescind) it.
- Generally, you will receive a written decision from the Tribunal within 10 business days of your hearing.
For More Information
For more information about the reconsideration process, contact the Ministry of Social Development by calling: 1-866-866-0800
Or visit the ministry web site at: www.sd.gov.bc.ca
For more information about the Tribunal, please visit the Tribunal website at: www.gov.bc.ca/eaat, or call 1-866-557-0035.