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Alberta’s economy has been marred in the last decade by rising deficits, low oil prices, and decreased investment in the fossil fuel industry.

During these turbulent periods, many people experience financial hardship and face difficulty paying for basic living expenses. Hit especially hard are those who have a disability, lack employable skills, or earn a low income

To prevent people from falling deep into poverty, the Alberta government has created numerous social assistance programs, one of which is Income Support.

Key Takeaways

  • The program provides financial support for various needs including food, shelter, clothing, childcare, emergencies, and more.
  • Eligibility for this program is based on your finances and ability to work. You must also be an Alberta resident who is 18 and over.
  • Payments for this program are made on the 1st of each month.
  • You can apply for this program online

What Does The Alberta Income Support Program Offer?

Alberta’s goal with the Income Support program is to provide financial aid to individuals and families struggling to pay for basic expenses, such as food and shelter.

The Income Support program also offers additional financial aid to help pay for childcare, special diets, emergencies, school expenses, work-related expenses, and more.

How Much Do You Get For Income Support In Alberta?

The amount of aid you can qualify for depends on your needs, your ability to secure and maintain employment, and the size of your family. 

When Are The Alberta Income Support Payment Dates?

Income Support payments are issued on the first of the month. Below are the expected payment dates for 2024

Month Of AssistanceBenefit Payment Dates
JanuaryDecember 31, 2023
FebruaryFebruary 1, 2024
MarchMarch 1, 2024
AprilApril 1, 2024
MayMay 1, 2024
JuneMay 31, 2024
JulyJuly 1, 2024
AugustAugust 1, 2024
SeptemberAugust 30, 2024
OctoberOctober 1, 2024
NovemberNovember 1, 2024
DecemberNovember 29, 2024

Who Is Eligible For The Alberta Social Assistance Program?

Eligibility for Income Support is based on criteria in the following three categories: age and residency, personal finances, and ability to work.

Age And Residency

  • To satisfy this requirement, you must be at least 18 years old, live in Alberta, and be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, refugee, or refugee claimant.

Personal Finances

To satisfy the personal finance requirement, you must:

  • Prove that you are unable to pay for your basic needs. 
  • Not have income or assets valued at more than $5,000 in RRSPs per adult and $10,000 equity in cars or other vehicles.
  • Not have income that exceeds what you would receive under the Income Support core benefits.
  • Not have cash or savings that total to more than the liquid assets limit (usually three times the Income Support core benefit you’d be entitled to).
  • Be willing to utilize and apply for other income support programs, such as Employment Insurance.

Ability To Work

Your circumstance with regard to employment must fall under one of the following:

  • You’re actively looking for work.
  • You’re working but not earning a sufficient income.
  • You’re unable to work for a short period.
  • You need help accessing sufficient training to secure a job.
  • You’re unable to work due to a chronic medical condition or other problem that renders you unable to work.

Check this out to learn more about the Alberta Seniors Benefit.

How To Apply For Income Support In Alberta

The Alberta Income Support application process consists of two steps:

Step 1: Fill Out The Income Support Application Form

This form can be completed and submitted online. Do note, that you’ll need to create an account before you start the application. 

If you already have an account, simply sign in to start the application.

Step 2: Submit Documents 

Depending on your situation, you may need to provide the following: 

  • Proof of Identification
  • Last 2 banking statements, plus your direct deposit information
  • Medical forms, if applicable

The Income Support application process generally takes around two weeks.

The Income Support application process generally takes around two weeks.

OnlineApply
In-Person/TelephoneIf you’re unable to apply online and require assistance, you may be able
to in person. Simply contact Alberta Supports Centre to make an
appointment: 1-877-644-9992

How Much Can You Get Through The Income Support Program In Alberta?

The amount you get under the income support program in Alberta depends on a variety of factors including your needs, ability to work, and family size. In general, you can get money for the following categories: 

  • Basic needs such as food (including costs for special diets), clothing and shelter. 
  • Child-related expenses such as childcare and school expenses. 
  • Emergencies including expenses related to leaving family violence. 
  • Utility connection fees
  • Work-related expenses

How Much Can You Get For Basic Needs Under The Income Support Program In Alberta? 

The bulk of financial assistance received under Income Support falls under a category called core benefits, which encompasses most basic living expenses. Core benefits are comprised of the following:

  • Core essential: Food, clothing, household needs, personal needs, telephone installation, laundry, transportation, and moves within Alberta.
  • Core shelter (varies with the type of shelter): Rent, mortgage, utilities (excluding electricity in social housing), heating fuel, municipal taxes, insurance, condo fees, lot rental, and damage deposit.
  • Actual electricity costs: For individuals living in social housing. Costs cannot exceed private housing rates.

Below is a table that summarizes the total care benefits you could receive: 

Monthly Total Core Benefits

Household CompositionExpected to Work (ETW) Private HousingFor Barriers To Full Employment (BFE) Private Housing
Single Adult$824$959
Single Adult, 1 Child$1,298$1,433
2 Children$1,431$1,565
3 Children$1,563$1,698
Couple, No Children$1,236$1,436
Couple, 1 Child$1,614$1,814
2 Children$1,746$1,946
3 Children$1,868$2,068
For more info click here.
Note: Rates will vary for those Living With Relatives or living in Social Housing

Additional Supplementary Benefits Available Through Social Assitance In Alberta

In addition to the core benefits, you may be eligible for various supplementary benefits:

Childcare

This benefit intends to help cover the cost of childcare programs, such as babysitting, while you’re working, searching for work, or attending a training program. Here is how much you can get:

  • Private babysitting – Maximum of $7.00 per hour for the first child, plus $4.00 per hour for each additional child, up to a maximum of $13.00 per hour
  • Grandparents – Maximum of $171.00 per child per month
  • Kin-Care & Extended Hours Childcare programs – Private babysitting rates less any Child Care Subsidy received
  • Licensed and approved childcare programs – Your portion of the costs (the difference between fees charged and the amount covered by the Child Care Subsidy) plus any deposit and registration fees.

Special Diets

If you have special dietary requirements due to medical reasons, you can get an additional allowance under this benefit. You can get up to $228.00 depending on the type of dietary restriction you may have. 

Here are some of the amounts you can get depending on your dietary needs: 

Special DietsMonthly Pate Per Adult Or Child
Low sodium, Low cholesterol of low fat, High fibre, High calcium, High protein, Lactose-free, Low or high potassium$24.00
Baby’s needs – Breast feeding mother (of baby up to 12 months old)$35.00
Baby’s needs – infant formulaUp to $228.00
HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C$42.00
Diabetic of Heart Healthy$46.00
Milk free$59.00
Celiac/gluten-free$91.00

Utility Connection Fees

This benefit intends to assist households who’ve had their gas or power disconnected and cannot pay the past-due bills. You can obtain coverage of bills for multiple instances of disconnected service. However, you must repay the total amount of the benefit if you utilize it more than once for the same utility. You must repay any reconnection fees as well.

Work-Related Expenses

The purpose of this benefit is to reimburse individuals for costs associated with job searches, employment maintenance, employment preparation programs, and training. Some of the expenses covered are clothing, deposits, testing fees, tools, grooming, meals, and transportation.

If eligible, you and every working adult in your household can receive up to $566.00 per calendar year (January 1 – December 31).

School Expenses For Children

This benefit provides financial aid to parents who incur costs associated with their children’s school attendance. It covers various school-related expenses, including school fees, locker fees, school supplies, gym shoes, and field trips.

  • $59.00 per year per child aged 4 or 5 or in kindergarten.
  • $115.00 per year per child aged 6 – 11 or in elementary school.
  • $199.00 per year per child aged 12 or older, in junior high, or high school.

Final Thoughts

If you reside in Alberta and find yourself struggling to pay for basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, the government offers social assistance programs. Income Support, in particular, is a unique program because it helps cover a wide range of needs and can be tailored to your specific circumstances. The program’s extensive resources will allow you to focus on getting back on your feet instead of stressing over past-due bills.

Alberta Social Assistance FAQs

How will I receive my Income Support payments in Alberta?

If you’ve signed up for direct deposit, you’ll receive your benefits payment on the designated Income Support payment dates. Otherwise, you’ll receive a cheque in the mail either on the designated payment date or three days after.

What happens if I’m working and on Income Support in Alberta?

As an Income Support recipient, you won’t be disqualified from the program if you obtain work. Instead, a portion of your total net employment earnings will be factored in when your benefit amount is calculated – the rest will be exempt.
  • For single parents, the first $230 of net employment earnings are exempt, plus 25% of any amount over $230.
  • For couples, the first $115 of net employment earnings are exempt, plus 25% of any amount over $115 (for each adult).
  • For singles, the first $230 of net employment earnings are exempt, plus 25% of any amount over $230.

What happens if I’ve been overpaid? 

If you’ve been overpaid, you’ll receive a Notice of Overpayment that will provide you with the details. You then have 30 days to file an appeal or pay back the amount specified. The overpayment becomes a debt you owe to the Government of Alberta, which has a right to collect it from you. The Government of Alberta will initiate the collection process when:
  • You sign an agreement to repay the debt.
  • Thirty days have elapsed since you received the Notice of Overpayment, and you haven’t signed a repayment agreement, filed an appeal, or asked for a time extension to prepare your appeal.
  • You file an appeal, and 30 days have passed since you were asked to reschedule your appeal hearing but failed to do so OR since the Appeal Panel has informed you of their decision.
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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