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According to statistics, approximately 14% of the population in Quebec is classified as low-income. Given the high cost of living, skyrocketing real estate prices, and wages not keeping up with inflation, it’s easy to see how some Canadians might find it difficult to cover all their expenses with the income they earn. 

Luckily, there are some financial assistance programs available to those who may find it challenging to meet their basic needs. If you live in Quebec and are experiencing financial woes, the Social Assistance Program may be able to help.

What Does The Quebec Social Assistance Program Cover?

The Social Assistance Program is administered by the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MTESS). This program is meant to help low-income Quebecers who meet specific criteria and offer a certain amount of benefits. The money paid out can be used to cover the cost of food, shelter, and other basic necessities.

What’s The Difference Between Quebec’s Social Assistance Program And Social Solidarity Program?

In addition to the Social Assistance Program, the Social Solidarity Program is also available. While both of these programs are similar, they differ in some ways. Further, they are not geared towards the same demographics and are often mistakenly referred to as welfare, which they are not. 

The Social Assistance Program is meant for single adults or families who are not necessarily experiencing a significantly limited capacity for employment. The program offers financial help while also encouraging people to participate in activities that can help with their employment

The amount that individuals receive under this program is based on the family composition, as well as other criteria, such as their income, type of accommodation, or assets.

On the other hand, the Social Solidarity Program is meant for single adults or families where at least one person has significantly limited capacity for employment. The program offers financial help to those who fall under this category and promotes employment integration and social participation. 

Like the Social Assistance Program, the amount that individuals receive under this program is based on the family composition, as well as other criteria, such as their income, type of accommodation, or assets.

How Much Can You Get Through Quebec’s Social Assistance Program?

The amount that you can get through the Social Assistance Program will depend on your classification:

Basic benefit Temporarily limited capacity allowanceAdjustmentTotal benefit
1 adult with no limited capacity for employment$681N/A$45$726
1 adult with a temporarily limited capacity for employment$681$144$45$870
Spouse of a student with no limited capacity for employment$188N/A$45$233
Spouse of a student with a temporarily limited capacity for employment$188$144$45$377
Amount for a person sheltered in a rehab facility, or residential/long-term care centre
Visit Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)
Amount for an independent adult going through social reintegration to reside in a halfway house. Visit Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)
Amount for an independent adult receiving help for addiction Visit Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)
Amount for a minor living with her dependent child in rehab centre or residential/long-term care centreVisit Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)
2 adults with no limited capacity for employment$1,054
2 adults with a temporarily limited capacity for employment$1,054$248$45$1,347
1 with no temporarily limited capacity for employment and 1 with a temporarily limited capacity for employment$1,054$144$45$1,243

Social Assistance Payment Dates

Payments are issued every month and can either be directly deposited into your bank account or mailed out as a cheque. The dates for Social Assistance Program benefit payments are as follows:

  • February 1
  • March 1
  • April 1
  • April 30
  • June 1
  • June 30
  • July 30
  • September 1
  • October 1
  • November 1
  • December 1
  • December 30

Can You Work And Receive Social Assistance In Quebec?

Yes, you can still work and continue to receive payments from the Social Assistance Program in Quebec. A portion of your income will be exempt when your benefit is calculated. For instance, if you are an adult receiving social assistance benefits, you are still allowed to earn as much as $200 a month without having your benefit reduced. 

However, amounts over $200 will be deducted from your benefit. For example, if you earn $275 in a month, your benefit will be reduced by $75.

Other exemptions will also apply, such as the following: 

  • Maternity benefits
  • Paternity benefits
  • Parental benefits 
  • Adoption benefits
  • Compassionate Care benefits paid under Employment Insurance (EI)

Process Of Applying For Social Assistance In Quebec

To apply for the Social Assistance Program in Quebec, you’ll need to follow these 4 steps:

1. Determine If You’re Eligible

You must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for benefits under the Social Assistance Program. 

If you are 18 years of age or older, you must:

  • Live in Quebec
  • Prove that all your resources (including money, income, property, and benefits) are equal to or less than what has been set by regulation

If you are 18 years old or younger, you must meet the criteria for adults as listed above, and:

  • Be married, were already married, or be the parent of a dependent child
1 Adult2 Adults
No childrenUp to $887Up to $1,319
1 childUp to $1,268Up to  $1,573
2 childrenUp to $1,502Up to  $1,807
3 childrenUp to $1,772, + $270 for each additional childUp to  $2,077, + $270 for each additional child

An additional amount of $198 is added for each dependent child who receives a supplement for handicapped children through Retraite Québec. 

2. Fill Out Your Application And Submit Forms

Find out which forms and documents you’ll need to apply for financial help by calling 1-877-767-8773. You can pick up your forms at an Employment Centre or Services Québec office, or you can request to have them mailed to you instead. When applying in person, you’ll need to provide a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or health card. 

You can apply by completing the following forms:

You may also use the Simplified application (3004A) for last-resort financial assistance if you hold a claim slip.

For asylum seekers and their family members, you can apply for financial assistance by first using the First application form for last-resort financial assistance – Refugee protection claimants (3002A)

You can also apply online by following this link.

3. Wait For Your Application To Be Processed

You may be contacted by a financial assistance officer if more information is needed while your application is being processed. Once all information is received, your application will be reviewed to determine if you’re eligible for benefits. If you are approved, your benefits will be calculated from the date your forms are received.

4. Receive A Decision

You should receive the decision about whether or not you are approved for financial assistance within 5 business days of receipt of your application and all the relevant documents. If you are approved, you’ll be notified of how much benefit you will receive. If you are denied, you’ll be notified of the reason why. 

You can submit an Application for Review (0023A) if you wish to argue your denied application. 

Social Assistance Quebec FAQs

How will I receive my social assistance benefit?

You can get your payment by mailed cheque or direct deposit into your bank account.

What’s the maximum amount I can get through social assistance?

The maximum you can receive on social assistance depends on your circumstances:
  • $1,500 for 1 adult
  • $1,500 for a minor living with a child
  • $1,500 for a student’s spouse
  • 2,500 for a family

Are there any other income assistance programs in Quebec?

Yes. You can look into the Social Solidarity Program to see if you qualify. 

Final Thoughts

Any individuals or families living in Quebec who are finding it hard to make ends meet have some program options available to them. Social Assistance Program is one such government-backed program available to those who are classified as low-income to help cover the costs of life’s basic necessities. 

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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