If your pockets are feeling a little empty lately, you're not alone. Thankfully, both provincial and federal governments have set up programs to help out Canadian workers affected by COVID-19. On Thursday, April 23, the provincial government of B.C. announced that workers will be able to apply for the B.C. emergency benefit as early as May 1, 2020.

The benefit is a one-time payment of $1,000 to all workers "whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19," read the announcement by the B.C. Government

Those who are receiving the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are also eligible to receive this payment.

In fact, being approved for CERB is a requirement. You can't go through the application unless you've applied and been approved for the CERB, even if you haven't started receiving the payments yet.  

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said that the $1,000 payment is meant to supplement the federal payment of $2,000 per month for four months. 

Also, people who've run out of EI (Employment Insurance) benefits and have since become eligible for the CERB can also apply for the B.C. payment. 

Note that it's not just workers who've been laid off or have tested positive for COVID-19 that can request it.

If you're unable to work because you're taking care of someone who's sick or your workplace has shut down or you're self-employed, you can sign up for this just as well. 

At the time of application, you'll need to declare that you have filed or you will file a 2019 B.C. income tax return. 

Luckily for B.C. residents, we don't have to worry about this payment being taxable, unlike the ones coming from the CERB

The announcement clearly mentions it's tax-free, so you won't have to crunch these numbers during tax season next year. 

There are only a few requirements that determine your eligibility, as per the B.C. government. 

On top of filing your taxes and the CERB approval, you need to have been a resident of B.C. as of March 15, 2020. 

You also have to be older than 15 and you can't be collecting other provincial income assistance or disability checks at the same time. 

If you meet the above criteria, there's nothing stopping you from applying on May 1. 

Altogether, the provincial government has set aside a $5 billion relief package for its residents.

This amount will also address social services and vulnerable populations, health care pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, housing and shelter programs, and the First Nations Health Authority. 

The government has also taken action on rent challenges, student loans, and BC Hydro rates so that residents aren't completely drowning in bills during this period.