Changes effective October 1, 2013
Social assistance provides financial support to people who have no other income to meet their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.
The basic rate of social assistance was increased by seven per cent. In October 2013, all social assistance clients, except for single clients who are able to work, saw their basic rates increase by four per cent. The rate will increase by another three per cent in April 2014.
In 2010, single employable clients who are able to work received an 82 per cent increase, $294 to $537, in their monthly benefits when the interim assistance rate was eliminated.
In addition to receiving monthly social assistance payments, support and guidance is available to clients in their pursuit of employment.
The chart below outlines the basic rate of social assistance provided to four specific household types:
|Household Type||Rate as of April 2014||Present rate|
|Single parent with one child||$887||$827*|
|Two parents with two children||$995||$927*|
|Single with Long term Needs designation or significant, multiple barriers to employment||$576||$537|
*Families with high shelter costs will see a larger difference in the rate that they are receiving today and that as of April 2014 due to the merging of the rate schedules.
For further details on social assistance rates, reference one of the rate tables listed below.
In addition to the basic social assistance payments, there are many other benefits to help social assistance clients and low-income families:
- Benefits for transportation to medical appointments, employment and training programs.
- Extended health care coverage for clients exiting social assistance to employment.
- Disability supplement
- Income supplement
- Day care assistance
- Heating and energy supplements
- Dental and vision coverage
- School supply supplements
The wage exemption policy exempts a portion of a client’s wages earned from either part-time, full-time or self-employment when calculating income for social assistance. This policy permits clients to earn a certain amount of income without affecting their social assistance benefits. As an example, a single client is able to earn a flat wage exemption of $150 with no deductions to their cheque. For every additional $1 in earnings their benefits are reduced by $1.
As of October 1, 2013, the fixed wage exemption was retained; however clients now keep 30 cents of every additional $1 earned
The below chart outlines the wage exemptions for specific household types:
|Household Type||Wage Exemption Amounts Before October 1, 2013||Wage Exemption Amounts After October 1, 2013|
|Single parent with one child||$200||$200 fixed portion amount + ( 30% of the balance of the earnings|
|Two parents with two children||$200||$200 fixed portion amount + ( 30% of the balance of the earnings|
|Single Disabled||$250||$250 fix portion amount + (30% of the balance of earnings)|
|Single Youth Participating||$150||$150 fixed amount + (30% of the balance of earnings)|
Prior to October 1, 2013, when a client with certified disabilities was living in their parents’ home, there could be a reduction in the client’s social assistance benefits of up to 25 per cent.
As of October 1, 2013, the shelter deduction was eliminated for clients with certified disabilities who are living in the parental home where the parental income is less than $50,000. In instances where the parental income is greater than $50,000, the shelter deduction was reduced to $100 for single clients and to $150 for two or more persons.
Social assistance benefits are based on the number of people living in each household and their available resources.
An Economic Unit is defined as two or more persons residing together in one household who share the responsibilities of the unit and benefit economically from the sharing of food, shelter and/or facilities.
When an Economic Unit is determined to exist, only one social assistance cheque is provided for that household.
It is recognized that there are often extenuating circumstances to be considered and that some people are more vulnerable than others. There are 14 exemptions to the Household Income Policy. They include
- Youth under the age of 19
- Single parents
- Elderly parent(s) living with their adult child(ren)
- 16-18 year old single parents living in their parental home
- Adult Child With Income
- Extended Benefits Clients
- Blind, Deaf or Disabled
- Rental accommodations
- Boarding accommodations
- Student roommates
- Transitional Assistance clients (including single employable) living in their parental home
- Long-Term Need Clients
- Victim of abuse
- Single clients with multiple education, health, housing and social challenges that present chronic, significant barriers to employment
As of October 1, 2013, a new exemption to the Household Income Policy was created for single clients with multiple education, health, housing and social challenges that present chronic, significant barriers to employment.
This new exemption provides these clients with more options and choices for their living arrangements and allows them to reduce their shelter costs.
The income supplement is an ongoing special benefit available to families with children who have high shelter costs.
In these situations, these families are paying more than 30 per cent of their basic social assistance to cover the cost of their rent.
Prior to October 1, 2013, the ongoing special benefit was $70 per month from May to October and $100 per month from November to April.
As of October 1, 2013, this special benefit was increased by 20 per cent to $84 per month from May to October and $120 per month from November to April