FREDERICTON (GNB) – Basic social assistance rates in New Brunswick will increase by three per cent on Tuesday, April 1, for most clients except those who are single and able to work. This follows an increase of four per cent in October, 2013.
"Increasing social assistance rates by seven per cent benefits clients and ensures they have more money at their disposal," said Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé. "This increase will help about 20,000  households."

As part of the government's work to reform social assistance, the department will invest $1.3 million effective Oct. 1 in the following ways:

●    increase the flat wage exemption portion to $500 per month for persons with disabilities;
●    increase the allowable asset limits for life insurance asset, prepaid funeral asset and business assets for all clients and applicants;
●    increase the allowable asset limits for a registered retirement savings plan asset and liquid asset exemptions for clients and applicants with disabilities; and
●    implement a youth services program with a new rate and benefits structure for people 16 to 18.

Reforming social assistance was a key piece of the province's poverty reduction plan.

"Reducing poverty is important to our government," said Dubé. "The ongoing improvements to the program demonstrate our commitment to improving the quality of life for people in need."

The Department of Social Development invests more than $247 million in programs and services for social assistance clients, which can include health services, employment training and fuel assistance.