Earning enough money to support yourself and your family financially 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.
Does New Brunswick Have A Social Assistance Program?
The province of New Brunswick provides a comprehensive social assistance program for residents in need of financial support. The program is called Income Assistance and 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 goal of the Income Assistance program is to ensure individuals receive adequate financial support while they manage their training, employment, and transitional plans.
How Much Can You Get Through The New Brunswick Income Assistance Program?
The Income Assistance program is divided into three rate categories. Your benefit amount will vary based on which type you fall into.
Geared toward employable individuals and those who require some level of support and intervention to become employable.
Transitional Assistance Single Employable
Geared toward single-person households and single residents living with their parents who can’t work due to a medical condition and are 55 years of age or older. This category assumes the underlying medical condition only temporarily impairs individuals’ ability to work, with future employment anticipated. Those seven months pregnant also qualify under the medical condition criteria if their circumstances prevent them from working.
Extended Benefits Program
Designed for individuals who are certified by the Medical Advisory Board as blind, deaf, or disabled.
New Brunswick Income Assistance Rate Schedule
The amount you can expect to receive through Income Assistance also depends on the number of members in your household.
Listed below are the minimum and maximum amounts available for individuals based on the rate category and household size:
Extended Benefits Program Rates
|Rate Type||Rate (Effective May 2020)|
|2 people (at least 1 is less than 19)||$984|
Transitional Assistance Program Rates
|Rate Type||Rate (Effective May 2020)|
|1 person||$571 *|
|1 person- Designated||$612 *|
|2 people (at least 1 is less than 19)||$896|
Eligibility Requirements For Income Assistance In New Brunswick
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:
- Wages and salaries
- Employment Insurance (EI)
- Rental income
- GST payments
- Pension payments
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits
- Old Age Security (OAS) benefits
- Worker’s compensation payments
- Various lump sum payments
How To Apply For Income Assistance In New Brunswick
The application process for Income Assistance consists of three steps:
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 in your household:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Medicare number
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Income sources
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.
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 to help offset the cost of other common expenses. A few of these benefits are explained below.
Health cards issued by the Department of Social Development will provide you with coverage for various medical services and products. If you’re the recipient of Income Assistance benefits, you’re eligible for the health card as long as your health care costs aren’t covered under another plan. The health card covers the following:
- Loans for mobility and adaptive aids
- Basic dental services – includes exams, x-rays, dentures and repairs, and certain types of fillings.
- Comprehensive dental services – includes complete oral exams, cleaning, scaling/root planing, and root canals on anterior teeth.
- Hearing aids
- Medical supplies – includes blood pressure monitors, crutches, burn garments, walkers, and more
- Feeding supplies and formulas
- Orthopedic items – includes custom-fitted braces, supports, shoes, and insoles, therapeutic footwear, modifications, and repairs.
- Respiratory equipment purchases, rentals, and supplies – includes aerosol machines, humidifiers, suction machines, CPAP machines, oxygen conserving devices, and more
- Ostomy and incontinence supplies
- Prosthetics – includes prostheses, repairs, and modifications.
- Vision care – includes general exams, visual fields tests, frames, lenses, and cases
- Prescription drugs
- Ambulance services
This benefit is meant to cover various heating costs in the event of an emergency. You may only utilize this benefit once per year, and payments received must be applied toward current bills.
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.
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.
Income Assistance can provide you with much-needed support as you work toward improving your financial situation. The peace of mind of regular payments will enable you to focus on your personal and financial goals instead of dreading upcoming bill payments.
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