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In Canada, many residents need access to social and financial assistance programs to live comfortably. This is particularly true in Manitoba, where about 13 – 16% of the population falls within the “low income” bracket.
While the federal government offers a number of social and financial assistance programs, you may discover more options by applying with the provincial government as well. For instance, Manitoba has the Social Assistance Program, otherwise known as EIA. Keep reading to find out how this program works.
What Is The Social Assistance/EIA Program In Manitoba?
The Employment and Income Assistance Program (EIA) was introduced to help Manitoba residents and their families get by when they have insufficient household incomes. Manitobans who are capable of working can also use the program to access different types of employment support and find new jobs.
Additionally, EIA offers benefits for people who can’t afford essential health costs, like medical supplies and prescription medications. It even features benefits from Manitoba’s Rent-Assist Program, which helps receivers pay for housing costs and provides financial coverage for single parents and people with disabilities.
What Is Covered Under The Employment And Income Assistance Program (EIA) In Manitoba?
Manitoba’s EIA Program offers two benefit categories (Employment & Income), along with several types of social and financial support, including:
Manitobans who aren’t making a sufficient income can become eligible for a mix of federal and provincial benefits to cover various living costs, such as housing and utilities (through Rent-Assist), medical fees and childcare (through the Canada Child Benefit).
Since these costs are higher in certain areas, residents of Northern Manitoba may receive extra coverage with the Northern Allowance benefit. As of July 1, 2020, residents who are eligible for EIA Income Support can receive up to:
- $796 as one adult with no children ($771 provincial + $25 federal)
- $1,104 as two adults with no children ($1,055 provincial + $49 federal)
- $948 as a non-disabled single parent ($923 provincial + $25 federal)
- $1,093 as a disabled adult with no children ($1,068 provincial +$25 federal)
- $1,418 as two disabled adults with no children ($1,369 provincial + $49 federal)
The amount of general income support that a candidate can qualify for under the EIA Program fluctuates based on:
- Their household income
- Their marital status
- The expenses they need covered
- Their health conditions & disabilities (mental or physical)
- The number of children they have between ages 0 and 17
For example, single and married/common-law parents will receive more coverage if they have more children. The same principle applies if the applicant is a disabled person (or a disabled couple) with children. Keep in mind that married couples and common-law partners must apply together to qualify for EIA.
The EIA Program also provides beneficiaries with different kinds of job support, like training programs for employment or self-employment, as well as coverage for childcare and work-related costs (clothing, tools, etc.). If a candidate works hard enough, they may even become eligible for a Rewarding Work Allowance of $100 per month.
Applicants who can work must be consistently looking for a job to qualify for employment support through EIA, especially if they need financial coverage. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, like parents with children under the age of 2 or people with disabilities that stop them from working.
Other Manitoba EIA Benefits
In addition to income and employment support, eligible Manitobans can access other benefits and programs once they qualify for EIA, including:
Manitoba Social Assistance Programs (Through the Department of Families)
- Manitoba Child Care Subsidy – This program covers a portion of the fees a family is charged when their children are enrolled in a certified learning or childcare facility. Coverage depends on their household income, number of children and children’s ages (they must be 12-weeks to 17 years old to qualify).
- Manitoba Rent-Assist & Social Housing Rental Programs – Thanks to Manitoba Housing, low-income earners can get help covering their rent. Alternatively, they can enter a subsidy program that covers the difference between their rent payments and the market rate of their unit.
- 55 PLUS Program – Senior Manitobans with low incomes can use EIA to qualify for a quarterly payment plan that offers $161.80 for single people and $173.90 per person in a qualified marriage or common-law partnership. To be eligible, candidates must be at least 55 years old.
- Dental & Optical Care Services – If an applicant stays on EIA for at least 6 months, they can get coverage for part of their dental costs (cleanings, etc.). Similar rules apply to vision care, like eye exams (every 2 years), glasses (every 3 years) and new lenses. Wait times can be moved up during emergencies.
- Chiropractic Treatments – Back and spine treatments can be expensive but EIA can help pay for chiropractic appointments that are covered by Manitoba Health. To qualify, candidates must have their request and payment amount approved by the Chiropractic Review Panel prior to their appointment.
- Medical Equipment/Supplies & Prescription Drugs – EIA also provides partial payment for medical equipment and supplies that aren’t covered by the other health plans, like Home Care. Some prescriptions can qualify too. Beneficiaries will receive the same coverage as Pharmacare offers, minus the deductible.
- Additional Costs For Newborns – If the applicant has a newborn baby, they can receive extra assistance through EIA to pay for related costs, like cribs and other essential items (on top of their other payments). Beneficiaries can qualify for up to $250 for their first child, plus $75 per child after their first.
- Start-Up Allowance – Renters can use EIA to receive a single payment of $500 to cover necessary furnishings for their unit. Unfortunately, this allowance is only available to residents who can’t access their own furnishings due to a separation/divorce or have lost them to a disaster (fire, flood, etc.).
- School Supplies For Child Dependants – Along with learning centre fees, EIA provides limited coverage for a child’s school supplies, if they’re between the ages of 5 and 17. Coverage depends on the child’s age ($60 yearly for ages 5-11, $80 yearly for ages 12-13 and $100 yearly for ages 14-17).
What Are The Manitoba EIA Payment Dates For 2021 – 2022?
Here are the EIA payment dates in Manitoba for the current tax year:
|Benefit Receival Month||Payment Dates|
|April 2021||March 29, 2021|
|May 2021||April 28, 2021|
|June 2021||May 27, 2021|
|July 2021||June 28, 2021|
|August 2021||July 28, 2021|
|September 2021||August 27, 2021|
|October 2021||September 28, 2021|
|November 2021||October 27, 2021|
|December 2021||November 26, 2021|
|January 2022||December 29, 2021|
|February 2022||January 27, 2022|
|March 2022||February 24, 2022|
|April 2022||March 29, 2022|
Who Is Eligible For The Employment And Income Assistance Program (EIA) In Manitoba?
In Manitoba, EIA is separated into 3 main benefit categories:
General low-income adults can apply for the default EIA program, where they can qualify for coverage if they:
- Are a Manitoba resident
- Are between 18 and 64 years old
- Have no physical or mental disabilities
- Have serious financial needs
- A single person without children/dependents OR a married/common-law couple without children/dependents OR a family consisting of 2 parents
An adult who has no spouse or common-law partner must:
- Be a Manitoba resident
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be unmarried, divorced, separated, widowed or have a partner in prison
- Meet the Program’s financial/income requirements
- Be 7 to 9 months pregnant OR have custody over 1 or more dependent children
Persons With Disabilities
If the applicant has one or more disabilities, they can get partial coverage for essential and on-going medical expenses. To qualify, an applicant must:
- Be a Manitoba resident
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have serious financial needs
- Have a mental or physical impairment that makes it difficult to earn income and is predicted to last at least 90 days
Essentially, you must be in “financial need” to qualify for coverage under the Employment and Income Assistance Program. When you apply, your approval chances and potential benefit amount(s) are based on your:
Applicants are only eligible for EIA if their household income is lower than the total cost of their monthly essential/medical expenses. This applies to income from:
- Employment or Self-Employment
- Spousal or Child Supports
However, certain earnings may not qualify coverage, such as:
- Tax Refunds
- Canada Child Benefit
- Partial Employment Income
Approval can also depend on the total cost and value of the applicant’s assets. Properties and accounts that will be considered during the process include:
- Trust Funds
- Insurance Policies
- Bank Accounts
The following assets cannot qualify under EIA:
- Primary Residences
- Registered Education Savings Plan Accounts (RESP)
- Liquid Cash (Up to $4,000 Per Individual or $16,000 Per Family)
- Children’s Trust Funds (Up to $40,000)
Expenses & Family/Dependents
Applicants can qualify a basic EIA amount as a married/common-law couple or single adult with children/dependents. Payments are calculated according to:
- The size and number of people in a family
- The ages and relationships of the family members
- The applicant’s home, utility and fuel costs (based on family size)
- The cost of the applicant’s regular medical needs
How Do You Apply For Manitoba EIA Benefits?
Before you can apply, you and your spouse/partner (if any) have to attend a pre-intake orientation with an EIA representative. At this meeting, you will receive information about the program, including your rights, responsibilities and required documentation.
The representative will use the pre-intake orientation to ask about your:
- Income & assets
- Monthly expenses
- Personal & family situation
- Education & employment history
- Health & financial needs
- Plans to find employment
Application Process & Requirements
The pre-intake orientation is so EIA representatives can determine how eligible you are for social and financial support in Manitoba. Once it’s over, you will receive a new intake appointment date, during which you and any other applicants can complete your application(s). Here are the documents you may have to provide:
- 2 pieces of identification (plus 1 piece per child), such as a passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, SIN card, etc.
- Documents for health coverage: Manitoba Health Card, Personal Health Identification Number (PHIN).
- Rental housing information: copy of lease or rental agreement, latest utility bills.
- Homeowner Information: such as mortgage papers, home insurance papers, condo fee receipts, etc.
- Bank account information: bank statements and account numbers for direct deposit.
- Proof of income: Cheque stubs or notice of payment.
- Proof of assets: Ownership documents or deposit information from vehicles, properties, RRSPs, and other assets.
- Proof of self-owned business: Latest business bank statements and ownership/company asset information.
Test of Need
During the application process, your EIA representative will tally up your income and assets, along with those of your spouse/common-law partner. They’ll also factor in your essential expenses. This is called a “Test of Need” and it’s used to determine if your financial needs outweigh your total income and assets.
If all information and amounts respect the terms of The Employment and Income Assistance Act and Regulation, you should be eligible to receive the difference between your financial resources and the financial needs that EIA will cover.
How will I receive my EIA payment(s)?
What happens if I receive more than I am eligible for under the EIA program?
Are there any annual reviews for EIA?
If you’re a low-income Manitoban, you may be able to secure extra money every month through EIA. At the very least, you can use the program to receive employment, family or disability benefits. For more information about Employment and Income Assistance in Manitoba, contact the provincial government or your local EIA office.
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