Government of New Brunswick

An Economic Household is defined as two or more persons residing together who share the responsibilities of the household and benefit economically from the sharing of food, shelter and/or facilities. When an Economic Household is determined to exist, Social Development will consider it one household, and therefore determine eligibility for only one assistance cheque.

Social Development determines economic households to exist even though there is no marital, familial, or conjugal relationship among the members of the household. This policy was developed in order to ensure people are not discriminated on the basis of gender, marital status or sexual orientation. The determination of an economic household will often result in assistance being refused, cancelled or decreased, depending on the particular circumstances.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE ECONOMIC HOUSEHOLD POLICY INCLUDE:

  • Adult Child With Income
  • Blind, Deaf or Disabled
  • Boarding Accommodations
  • Deinstitutionalized Project
  • Designated Needs
  • Elderly Parent(s) Living with Their Adult Child (Children)
  • Grandfathered
  • Persons who are leaving abusive relationships
  • Special Designation
  • Long-Term Needs
  • Rental Accommodations
  • Single Parents
  • Student Roommates
  • Transitional Assistance Clients (including Single Employable) In Their Parental Home
  • Youth

 

Adult Child With Income

It is the parent's choice as to whether they take advantage of this economic household exemption.  In some circumstances it may be more beneficial to have the adult child on the case and report the income.

The adult child may have a legal or self-declared common-law spouse but their income will be combined as if they were one person.

An adult child who has gross income of less than $20,000 per year may be excluded from the parental case when the following conditions are met:

  • The adult child must either be greater than 18 years of age or be 16 to 18 years of age and completed high school or be in training.
  • A child/parent relationship must exist which includes a legal guardian.
  • The adult child must either be returning to the parental home or be on a case with the parent(s) and start earning income.

Cases coming through Intake will not be eligible for the Household Income exemption, however once eligibility has been established the parent(s) have the option to use the exemption.

  • The adult child cannot be on a case of their own which includes 4(2)(b) and 4(4) cases.

The income may be in the form of wages, EI or CPP benefits, training allowances etc.

This does not include a child who does not have any income whatsoever.

The Household Income Exemption may be given to as many children as meet the eligibility criteria.

The adult child's income is considered an income source on the parent's case. If the adult child's income is between $0 and $534 per month then $0 will be added to the case's monthly income. If the adult child's income is between $535 and $1.667 per month then $125 will be added automatically to the case's monthly income. If the adult child's income is greater than $1,667 per month the total amount will be added to the case's monthly income.

 

Blind, Deaf or Disabled

A Blind , Deaf or Disabled client may be considered a separate case from all other individuals except a legal or common-law spouse or child.

If the legal or common-law spouse or child is also certified Blind, Deaf or Disabled then they may be considered as separate cases.

 

Boarding Accommodations

The final decision as to whether to accept that a room and board (meaning that food is included in the cost of the accommodation) situation exists, may include but will not be limited to, the following criteria:  

  • whether the person with whom the applicant/client resides, owns the residence (with or without a mortgage)
  • whether they have rented to others in the past
  • verification that the income from rent was declared in their previous tax year (T4s) or to us in the past
  • the existence of a separate room or rooms which the applicant/client can rent
  • the residence in question is recognized as a boarding house in the community
  • indication that the applicant/client and the person with whom the applicant/client resides, are not sharing bank accounts, hydro and telephone bills etc
  • no one living in subsidized rental housing may be considered to be in a room and board situation since subsidized housing does not permit boarders in rental units

(The case manager has the power to make that decision in these cases)

 

Deinstitutionalized Project

Individuals identified by the Department of Health as participants of the Deinstitutionalized Project should generally be set up as a separate household. The exception would be if the individual is living with a spouse or in a conjugal relationship.

 

Designated Needs

A Designated Needs client may be considered a separate case from all other individuals except a legal or common-law spouse or child.

A child may be considered a separate case of the Adult Child Contribution section if the Household Income Policy is being used.

Clients who have received the Designated Needs status are guaranteed the Transitional Assistance rate and are not required to submit a medical report. Youth will remain at the Youth rate of assistance under the Youth Policy even if they have Designated Needs status. 

 

Elderly Parent(s) Living with Their Adult Child (Children)

Elderly parents 65 years of age and older, whose annual income does not exceed the maximum prevailing Old Age Security (OAS) pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) rates, and who live with their adult child/ren who are in receipt of social assistance benefits; in a residence occupied or owned by the adult child/ren, are exempted from the Household Income Policy.

At the same time, a contribution to the overall costs of the household, set at 25%, will be deducted from the Basic Household Rate to which the adult child's household is entitled to receive.

The adult child/ren will be set up as a separate unit, when the following conditions are met:

  • The adult child must be 19 years of age and older.
  • A child/parent relationship must exist which includes a legal guardian (for example, the adult child is a daughter or a son, a stepson or stepdaughter, a daughter-in-law or son-in-law).
  • The elderly parents must either be moving in with the adult child, already on a case with the adult child (i.e. a parent under 65 years of age now turning 65 years of age) or be a member of a the unit at Intake.
  • All elderly parents must be 65 years of age and older to be exempted from the Household Income policy. Married or common-law couples where one of the spouses is not yet 65 years of age are only exempted if the younger spouse has no income.

The exemption for elderly parents living with their adult child/ren does not apply to 4(4) applicants.

The exemption does not apply to family members such as a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew or niece.

Old Age Security benefit rates are usually reviewed in January, April, July and October to reflect increases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The rates are posted on the Retirement Pensions and Benefits / HRSDC.

 

Persons who are leaving abusive relationships

All persons who have been victims of abuse, and who are “in transition” living in a safe place will be able to live in any household and receive the Transitional Assistance rate for a period of nine months.
 

Grandfathered relationships

Cases where the "Existing Clients in Non-Spousal Relationships" exemption reason was being applied on September 30th, 2013 will continue to maintain an exemption under the Grandfathered reason until such time as there is a change in their situation.

A change in situation would include:

  • Case Termination
  • Change in Unit composition (not including addition/removal of dependents)
  • Change in address

This item will also be used to capture any Ministerial Exemptions granted by the Minister. Exceptions will be provided to clients in accordance to approval conditions.  If the client changes their address, unit structure or fails to meet any conditions in place as part of the exception, the exception will be terminated.
 

Special Designation

Extended Benefits Grandfathered clients are effectively eliminated by the introduction of the Special Designation status. The Special Designation status is permanent regardless of how long the individual has been off income assistance and guarantees the client the Extended Benefits rate of assistance.

The exemption does not apply to a spouse within a married or self-declared common law relationship or to children.

The main difference between an Extended Benefits Special Designation client and an Extended Benefits Blind or Certified Disabled client is in the area of allowable assets where the Blind or Certified Disabled client maintains the higher limit when determining eligibility.

There will be no new clients eligible for the Special Designation after November 1, 1997.

 

Long-Term Needs

A Long-Term Needs client may be considered a separate case from all other individuals except a legal or common-law spouse or child.

A child may be considered as a separate case of the Adult Child Contribution section if the Household Income Policy is being used.

Clients who have received the long-term needs designation are guaranteed the Transitional Assistance rate and are not required to submit a medical report. Youth will remain at the Youth rate of assistance under Youth Policy even if they are designated Long-Term Needs.

 

Rental Accommodations

Rent is a situation where there is a self-contained apartment or house. Self-contained would imply that there is a separate entrance, and separate utilities OR a room could be rented in a genuine rooming house (i.e. an established business) where only the room itself is rented. Most persons people sharing rental accommodations would be considered an economic household.

SD have entered into arrangements with several non-profit community agencies (i.e. AIDS NB, Mental Health, Canadian Paraplegic Assn.) to provide shared low cost housing. Individuals part of such an arrangement with confirmation of a separate lease agreement will not be considered an economic household.

 

Single Parents

Single parent families may be exempt from the Household Income Policy (HIP) if the following conditions are met:

  • Each of the single parent families that are considered under this policy must be in receipt of income assistance.
  • Each single parent must have at least one child under the age of 19.
  • An Undertaking by Single Parents Sharing Accommodations must be signed by each household when the Household Income Exemption is initiated.

When a single parent exits assistance the remaining single parent has three months to explore alternative Household Income Policy exemptions or accommodation options. 

Shelter costs should be divided evenly between the two single parent households when they are sharing a rental unit. When one of the single parents owns the residence then it should be assumed the other single parent is paying rent which would be a form of income for the owner of the residence. Given these accommodation costs there may be more than one Income or Fuel Supplement being issued to the household.

 

Student Roommates

Students who are not clients are not to be included in the economic household of their room-mates, unless Student Aid will grant funding at the married rate for the non-client student and the applicant/client. If Student Aid funding is available at the married rate, eligibility is determined as such.

 

Transitional Assistance Clients (including Single Employable) In Their Parental Home

Clients receiving the Transitional Assistance Single Employable rate or the Transitional Assistance rate, who are living in their parental home, will be set up as a separate unit from their parents if they meet the following criteria, regardless of whether or not the parents are clients themselves:

● Eligible for the Transitional Assistance Single Employable Rate:

  • the member is 55 years of age or older, or
  • the member has a SD Medical Report completed by a physician stating that they are unable to work for six months or more or that they are seven months pregnant. (SD assesses the impact of the medical condition on the individual's ability to work),

● Eligible for the Transitional Assistance Rate and the units is comprised of two or more adult persons:

  • one member is 55 years of age or older, or
  • one member has a SD Medical Report completed by a physician stating that they are unable to work for 6 months or more or that they are 7 months pregnant. (SD assesses the impact of the medical condition on the individual's ability to work),

● Eligible for the Transitional Assistance Rate

  • Single Person Units
  • Parental Units

The 25% shelter component will be deducted from the Basic Unit Rate for those meeting the criteria identified above.

Units eligible for the Transitional Single Employable rate or units comprised of two or more adult persons who are eligible for the Transitional Assistance Rate who are not living in the parental home are subject to the Economic Unit policy

 

Youth

An individual may be considered as a separate case when they are living with a person 16 and 18 years of age who is:

  • not legally married to the individual or;
  • not a dependent of the individual