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Earning enough money to support yourself and your family isn’t always easy. A job loss, medical emergency, or other unforeseen crisis can abruptly wreak havoc on your finances, leaving you with little money to pay for essential living expenses. 

Though charities and non-profit organizations offer generous support and intervention programs to help those struggling financially, it’s clear that sometimes more is needed. Thankfully, Canada offers a wide range of financial assistance programs to help those unable to pay for basic needs. All three levels of government maintain income support programs, and New Brunswick is no exception.

Key Points

  • Low-income New Brunswick residents may qualify for the province’s Social Assistance program to receive financial support.
  • The benefit amount you may receive will be determined by the rate category you fall into but can be as high as $1,260.
  • Several other financial support programs are available to eligible NB residents, including the Emergency Fuel Benefit, coverage for medical transportation, and the Rent Supplement Assistance Program, among others.

What is the New Brunswick Social Assistance Plan? 

The province of New Brunswick provides a comprehensive social assistance program for residents who require financial support. The program is administered by the Department of Social Development.

Those eligible for Income Assistance receive monthly payments to help cover the cost of basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and utilities. Additional financial resources are available to help pay for other expenses, including transportation, childcare, and medical care, provided eligibility requirements are satisfied.

The Income Assistance program ensures individuals receive adequate financial support while they manage their training, employment, and transitional plans.

How Much Can You Get Through The Income Assistance In NB?

The amount you can expect to receive through Income Assistance depends on the number of members in your household and which rate category you fall into.

Category 1. Transitional Assistance

Geared toward employable individuals and those who require some level of support and intervention to become employable.

Category 2. Transitional Assistance Single Employable

Geared toward single-person households and single residents who do not have a specific designation or are not considered deaf, blind, or disabled. Single persons who fall under this category include those who: 

  • Are living in their parents’ home
  • Have a Medical Report completed by a medical professional stating that they cannot work for at least 6 months or are 7 months pregnant
  • Are 55 years of age and older

Transitional Assistance Program Rates 

Rate TypeRate (Effective April 2023)
1 person$637
1 person- Designated$683
2 people (at least 1 is less than 19)$999
2 adults$1017
3 people$1057*

*Add $66 for each additional person

Category 3. Extended Benefits Program

Designed for individuals who are certified by the Medical Advisory Board as blind, deaf, or disabled or have a Special Designation. 

Extended Benefits Program Rates

Rate TypeRate (Effective December 2023)
1 person$886
2 people (at least 1 is less than 19)$1,197
2 adults$1,219
3 people$1,260*

*Add $71 for each additional person

Eligibility Requirements For Income Assistance In NB

Eligibility for Income Assistance is based on your total household income. If the total income is less than the prescribed rate for your family type, your household likely qualifies to receive financial benefits under the program. In general, all sources of income are considered when assessing your eligibility, including:

How To Apply For Income Assistance In New Brunswick

The application process for Income Assistance consists of three steps:

Step 1

Gather the necessary information required for submission with your applications. This includes your:

  • Mailing address
  • Residence address (if applicable)
  • Rental or mortgage costs

Also, ensure you have the following documents and details from each member of your household:

Step 2

Call 1-833-733-7835 for screening by the Department of Social Development. A representative from the department will ask you a series of questions to determine your eligibility.

Step 3

If you qualify for Income Assistance, an appointment will be scheduled for you to enroll in the program and submit the required documents to the department.

Additional Benefits To Apply For Along With Income Assistance In New Brunswick

In addition to basic needs coverage, you may also qualify for additional benefits and financial assistance programs to help offset the cost of other common expenses. A few of these benefits are explained below.

Social Development Health Cards

Health cards issued by the Department of Social Development provide coverage for various medical services and products. If you receive Income Assistance benefits, you’re eligible for the health card as long as your health care costs aren’t covered under another plan. Here are some of the services the health card covers:

PrescriptionsPrescription drugs 
Mobility and adaptive aidsOffers loans for mobility and adaptive aids.
Basic dental servicesIncludes exams, x-rays, dentures and repairs, and certain types of fillings.
Comprehensive dental servicesIncludes complete oral exams, cleaning, scaling/root planing, and root canals on anterior teeth.
Medical suppliesIncludes blood pressure monitors, crutches, burn garments, walkers, and more.
Orthopedic itemsIncludes custom-fitted braces, supports, shoes, insoles, therapeutic footwear, modifications, and repairs.
Respiratory equipment purchases, rentals, and suppliesIncludes aerosol machines, humidifiers, suction machines, CPAP machines, oxygen-conserving devices, and more.
Vision careincludes general exams, visual field tests, frames, lenses, and cases.

Emergency Benefits

You may be eligible to receive an emergency fuel benefit of up to $550 per year to cover various heating costs in the event of an emergency. 

To be eligible for this emergency fuel benefit, you must be in an emergency and unable to afford your heating bills. You don’t need to be receiving social assistance to qualify, and any type of heating used may be covered. Eligibility for this benefit is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Medical Transportation

This benefit is meant to provide coverage for transportation costs incurred due to medical reasons. Various forms of transport are covered:

  • Community transportation – for residents who use the services of a Community Transportation Agency. Payment is reimbursed based on the mileage required to complete the trip.
  • Private vehicle – for residents who use their own vehicles or that of a family member or friend. Payment is reimbursed based on the mileage required to complete the trip.
  • Public transportation – for residents who rely on public transportation. Payment is reimbursed based on the cost of the fare.
  • Taxi – for residents who use a taxi. Payment is reimbursed based on the mileage required to complete the trip.
  • Food and shelter – for residents who incur food and shelter costs while travelling outside the province for medical reasons. 

Other New Brunswick Programs To Help With Cost Of Living

New Brunswick offers several other programs to residents to help with various costs including rent and property taxes. 

Rent Supplement Assistance Program In NB

New Brunswick’s Social Development Department offers a Rent Supplement Assistance Program, which provides subsidized rents to low-income households in need of affordable and suitable rental units.

New Brunswick Workers Benefit

The New Brunswick Workers Benefit provides eligible recipients with a one-time payment of $300 to support working residents of New Brunswick and offset financial struggles. Only one benefit is allowed per family.

Property Tax Deferral Program For Seniors

Seniors struggling to cover the cost of their property taxes may be eligible for the Property Tax Deferral Program. This program provides property tax relief to qualifying seniors in New Brunswick who want to defer the yearly increase in property taxes on their principal home. 

The maximum you can defer is 75% of your home’s assessed value.

Bottom Line

The financial benefits provided by New Brunswick’s Income Assistance program can help you immensely if you’re struggling to make ends meet. The program is extensive, covering a wide range of expenses that a typical household would have to pay for. You may not qualify for every benefit offered under the program, as eligibility criteria vary for each component. Still, you’ll likely receive enough financial aid to be able to comfortably pay for your most critical living costs, like food and shelter. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Did social assistance go up in New Brunswick?

A new permanent supplement of $200 per month took effect in February 2024 to help with the increasing costs of food and shelter.

Can I receive both social assistance payments and EI at the same time?

If you receive payments from a Social Services office while you’re waiting for your EI benefits to kick in, you might have to reimburse those funds from your EI benefits.

Can I work while on social assistance in New Brunswick?

A wage exemption is available to income assistance recipients who work either part- or full-time, or who are self-employed. The wage exemption allows income assistance recipients to keep part of their benefits while employed. Social assistance recipients can keep up to $500 of income per month, plus 50¢ of each additional dollar earned over $500.
Mark Gregorski avatar on Loans Canada
Mark Gregorski

Mark is a writer who specializes in writing content for companies in the financial services industry. He has written articles about personal finance, mortgages, and real estate and is passionate about educating people on how to make smart financial decisions. Mark graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with a degree in finance and has more than ten years' experience as an accountant. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing poker, going to the gym, composing music, and learning about digital marketing.

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