Social Assistance Program
Financial assistance is given to people who have no other income to meet their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. By law social assistance is the payer of last resort. This means that all other income must be considered when determining how many dollars will be provided.
Eligibility for social assistance is determined for each household by identifying all the income from all sources of all people who live in the household. If this total household income is less than the rate which applies to that household, the household is able to receive social assistance. The amount of assistance depends on the amount of household income. The rate which applies to the household is based on the number of people in the household and whether or not they can work. For example, a single mother with one child may receive $861 each month. If she has no income at all, she would receive the full $861. If she has income of $300 a month, then she would receive $561 in social assistance.
A person or household is simply assessed to find out whether or not they need help based on all income of all members living in the household. This means that there is no discrimination with regard to gender, marital status, or sexual orientation. Also, there is no need to ask about the relationships of the people in the household. This policy has exceptions for people with disabilities, single parents, boarders and some people who live with their parents.
Social assistance benefits are not reduced by the amount of child tax benefits that families receive. But they are reduced by child support payments. This policy recognizes that parents have the main responsibility for the financial support of their children. Parents who do not have custody should have to support their children if they can. Taxpayers should not be required to take on this financial duty. Family support payments are deducted dollar for dollar from social assistance cheques. Clients are encouraged to work with departmental staff to register all child support payments with the Court and set them up payable to the Minister. In these situations the clients will continue to receive their full income assistance cheque. This ensures clients do not go through hardship if the non-custodial parent does not make the monthly payment.
A person or household who gets social assistance may be able to receive other benefits. All social assistance clients get a health card. This helps pay for things like prescriptions drugs, dental and vision care, and some other health needs. Some clients may be able to get help to pay for their winter fuel. Some disabled clients receive a disability supplement in the amount of $100.00 monthly.
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