Government is making it easier for British Columbians to apply for income and disability assistance online, thanks to a new integrated tool being launched on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.
The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation is combining its online application tool (the Self Serve Assessment and Application or SSAA) and its online client services portal (My Self Serve or MySS) into a single, streamlined online tool for all income and disability assistance applicants and clients.
Currently, over 35,000 ministry clients are registered with My Self Serve. In addition to offering one simple point of access, the new My Self Serve tool will be more user-friendly and allow applicants to access the benefits of the client portal, such as uploading documents, checking the status of an application and receiving online help from ministry staff. Other changes include a website that is easier to navigate and use, and improved mobile device compatibility.
There will also be pre-application tools publicly available including a My Self Serve introduction video, document checklist and an eligibility estimator to provide a high-level estimate of how much financial assistance an individual may be eligible to receive.
The new application starts with a video that shows applicants how to use some of the online features including instructions on how to easily submit documents online, reducing the need for travel to ministry offices. Users will also be able to save and complete their applications at a later time – up to 30 days compared to five days with the outgoing application.
The new application has grouped the questions into 11 sections, with clear descriptions of the supporting documents applicants will need to complete that section and user-friendly progress indicators.
The application will ask “smarter” questions, including ones that are specific to the applicant’s unique situation and will skip questions that do not apply. For example, it will not ask job-search questions to a single parent with a child under three years of age. This will avoid confusion and save time.
To setup a My Self Serve account and apply for assistance or access other services online, users will need to have access to a mobile device or computer with Internet access and be able to provide three pieces of information:
- email address
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- basic BCeID (a username and password users set-up while applying for their new My Self Serve account)
For couples, both adults will need an email, SIN and a basic BCeID to create a joint My Self Serve account in order to apply.
The ministry recognizes that online services are not suitable for everyone. That’s why there are two ways to apply for assistance: online, or worker-assisted by phone. Applicant(s) unable to register for MySS or use the online service (i.e., no computer access or no SIN) can contact the ministry by phone or in person to initiate the application.
Existing My Self Serve users will be prompted to replace their passcode with a new four-digit PIN upon their next login after Monday, Feb. 27. The PIN will simplify the login process and allow users to do things like sign documents online.
In preparation for the website integration and upgrades, My Self Serve will be offline Friday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. until Monday, Feb. 27 at 8 a.m.
Access My Self Serve: www.myselfserve.gov.bc.ca