Government of New Brunswick

Special benefits refer to assistance above and beyond the entitlement of clients to social assistance. For open cases, special benefits may be issued:

  • on a one-issue basis or
  • on an ongoing basis to the monthly assistance cheque. This would be for benefits issued to meet the clients' predetermined needs which will occur for a period of two or more consecutive months at fixed monthly rates. Ongoing benefits may be for a period of up to and including 12 months.

Special benefits are available when need is determined and the specific criteria for the particular benefit are met.

All requests for special benefits must be assessed to determine whether:

  • the services or items requested are intended to meet critical emergency needs which, if not satisfied, would cause severe hardship.
  • the client(s) have the means or alternative ways of obtaining the services or items requested.

Emergency benefits of special need may not be appealed.


Basic Needs

Special benefits to meet basic needs may be issued only to clients in Priority Groups who are in an emergency situation; and is based on individual need.

Basic needs (other than shelter) and their portion of the Basic Household Rate are:


Household & Personal
Routine Transportation
Utilities and Fuel

The maximum amount of special benefits for basic needs which may be issued is based on:

  • the percentage of client's the basic household rate determines the amount provided for that need each month.
  • this amount must be divided by the number of days remaining in the present month - this total represents the maximum amount which may be issued.


Confirmation of Need

For most special benefits, there is a requirement for confirmation of the need for the benefit. 



An emergency situation is:

  • A situation where failure to do so may result in:
    - a client being left without means of food, shelter or warmth.
    - the withholding of medical services/supplies which are required within two days.
  • Any unavoidable and unforeseen occurrence, situation or set of circumstances which is occurring at the present time, and requires immediate response, and the nature of the response is seen as crisis intervention.

Managers have the authority to approve special benefits for clients who are not in a Priority Group, when in the manager's opinion, a refusal would place the client in a critical emergency situation.

Requests which meet departmental guidelines shall not be refused if it is determined that:

  • the benefits requested are essential, and
  • a critical emergency exists; and
  • the client does not have the means to obtain them including other family or community help available.


Household Setup

These special benefits should only be provided to:

  • victims of non-declared disasters with no insurance or other resources or
  • those leaving abusive situations

Priority groups may be granted these benefits if hardship is determined to exist.

Benefits issued to set up a household include the cost of bedding, towels, dishes, pots/pans, cutlery, refrigerator, stove, washer, kitchen table and chairs, bed and cribs. The total amount for items covered to set-up a household is not to exceed $2,000. 

Priority Groups

These clients are considered priority groups when considering requests for special benefits.

  • Blind, Deaf or Disabled: Clients who are certified by the Medical Advisory Board or who are in receipt of a federal disability pension.
  • Deinstitutionalized Project: Clients identified through this project
  • Disaster Victims: Clients identified in the Disaster policy
  • Families with dependents aged less than 19 years and with high shelter costs:
    - This includes Households paying 40% or more of the Household's total income, (including Child Tax Benefit, Wage Exemption, Income Supplement etc.) for shelter costs - not including utilities and heat.
  • Pre and post-natal women and infants: Women while six or more months pregnant and up to six months after birth; and their infants.
  • Women in Transition: Women who are leaving an abusive situation.



All available income must be considered before any Special Benefits are granted. This includes Child Tax Credit and the wage exemption.

For benefits to be issued on a continuing basis, the Child Tax Credit is not considered an available resource.

Criteria regarding Blind, Deaf or Disabled clients for whom a Trust Fund has been established:

  • These assets shall, at the death of a recipient, be considered available for funeral and burial expenses.



In some situations, it may be to the client's advantage to purchase a benefit (i.e. furniture) directly from an individual. Items are never to be purchased from staff or relatives of staff, nor are staff to recommend or direct clients to a specific vendor.


Specific Special Benefits / Supplements


3.9.1 - Basic Assistance

3.9.2 - Emergency

3.9.3 - Fuel Supplement

3.9.4 - Funerals

3.9.5 - Household Furnishing

3.9.6 - Medically Related Expenses

3.9.7 - Medical Transportation

3.9.8 - Treatment Program Transportation

3.9.9 - Other Supplements

3.9.10 - CDO Regular Employment

3.9.11 - CDO Subsidized Employment

3.9.12 - CDO Training

3.9.13 - Utilities

3.9.14 - Other