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If you live in PEI and are having financial trouble paying your rent, covering groceries, or paying your bills, there are government-based programs available to help you out.

In Prince Edward Island (PEI), specifically, residents who meet certain criteria may be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Social Assistance Program in the province.

Let’s examine this program more closely and help you figure out if you’re eligible for the benefits it offers.

Key Points

What is the program?Social Assistance in PEI is available to residents of the province who need support to meet the cost of basic living essentials.
Payment amountThe amount you’re eligible for depends on your income, living situation, and household size.
Program EligibilityTo be eligible, you must be a resident of PEI who is at least 18 years old. You must also demonstrate a bona fide financial need. 
Payment DatesPayments are issued monthly, typically at the end of each month.
Payment ApplicationCall 1-877-569-0546

What Social Assistance Is Available In PEI?

Residents of PEI who are struggling financially for any reason may qualify for help through the province’s Social Assistance Program. 

The purpose of this program is to help people pay for basic needs, such as food, clothing, or shelter when they are financially unable to. The program is also available to help cover the cost of certain emergency situations such as medicine or childcare.

The service offers a cash payment to those who qualify, though it may also be supplemented by other services that can help troubleshoot issues that are causing financial problems. Referrals may also be made to other agencies as applicable. 

What Does Social Assistance In PEI Cover?

The Social Assistance Program will help participants cover any of the following:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Medications
  • Basic dental needs
  • Eyeglasses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Utilities
  • Household items
  • Telephone or internet costs
  • Clothing

If you receive Social Assistance, you will also be automatically enrolled in the Financial Assistance Drug Program and the Provincial Dental Care Program.

How Much Social Assistance Will I Get?

The amount of money you receive through the Social Assistance Program in PEI depends on the following factors:

  • Your income
  • Your living situation
  • The size of your family

Your payment amounts are assessed every month and may change if your living situation or income changes. You are obligated to report any relevant changes in your situation to your social support coordinator. 

For example, if you get a new job, get a raise, get married, or have another child, these factors will impact your social assistance payment amounts and may even affect your eligibility for the program altogether.

Social Assistance PEI Payment Dates

To get your Social Assistance payments deposited directly into your bank account, you’ll need to sign up for direct deposit.  

The 2024 payment dates for social programs like PEI Social Assistance are as follows:

Benefit MonthPayment Date
February 2024January 31, 2024
March 2024February 29, 2024
April 2024March 29, 2024
May 2024April 30, 2024
June 2024May 31, 2024
July 2024June 28, 2024
August 2024July 31, 2024
September 2024August 30, 2024
October 2024September 30, 2024
November 2024October 31, 2024
December 2024November 29, 2024
January 2025December 31, 2024

Who Is Eligible For Social Assistance In PEI?

To be eligible for Social Assistance in PEI, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Reside in PEI
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be present in PEI to receive financial assistance
  • Be a person in financial need
  • Have pursued and exhausted all other income possibilities

Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have looked into all possibilities of self-support before applying for social assistance benefits. Each applicant will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to those who meet the eligibility requirements. 

How To Apply For Social Assistance In PEI?

To apply for Social Assistance in PEI, follow these steps:

Step 1: Call The Screening Line

To start, you’ll have to call the social assistance screening line at 1-877-569-0546.

Step 2: Schedule An Intake Appointment

If you’re eligible, you’ll be booked an initial intake appointment. You will need to bring documents to this appointment that provide information about yourself, your family, and your current financial situation.

Step 3: Your Information Will Be Assessed

During your initial meeting with a social support coordinator, your situation and documents will be reviewed to verify that you’re eligible for the program.

Step 4: Receive Notification Of Approval

If you are approved for social assistance benefits, you’ll receive written notification of the amount of the assistance you’ll receive, the method of payment, the benefit period, and your right to appeal. If you’re not approved, you’ll be provided with written documentation outlining the reasons why, as well as your right to appeal. 

What Documents Do You Need To Apply?

Certain information will be required to support your eligibility for the program, such as basic identification and citizenship proof if you or a family member was born outside of Canada. In addition, other materials required include

Financial Resources And Income Verification

All income information must be confirmed with written documentation, such as:

Proof Of Living Conditions And Documents Of Living Expenses

If you rent, you’ll need to verify your rental payment and include the following:

  • Rental amount paid within the last 45 days
  • Address of the unit
  • Your landlord’s name and contact information

If you own, you’ll need to verify your mortgage payment and include a copy of your mortgage statement document in your name. 

Documentation For Proof Of Cost Of Utilities

This can include information on payments made for electricity, water, gas, fuel, telephone, property taxes, and fire insurance, which must be in your name.

Other documentation may also be required, such as:

What If I Am Refused Social Assistance In PEI?

If you were turned down for Social Assistance and disagree with the decision, you can request an appeal. You can get help with this process from a Social Supports Coordinator.

Once you file an appeal, an appeal hearing will be scheduled by the Social Programs Appeal Board within 15 days of receiving your request. 

The Appeal Board will notify you of their decision in writing within 15 days. If you still are not satisfied with the Appeal Board’s decision, you can request another review within 10 days of receiving the decision. 

Can I Work And Still Receive Social Assistance In PEI?

Yes, you can still receive benefits even while you’re working thanks to the Earned Income Exemption. You can also earn more money every month without risking a reduction in your benefits. Monthly income exemptions are as follows:

  • Single person: $250/month plus 30% of any additional income
  • Couples: $400/month plus 30% of additional income
  • Person or couple with a disability: $500/month plus 30% of additional income

To illustrate, let’s say you are married and have one child, and your earned income for a specific month is $675. Since you are married, the earned income exemption amount  that you qualify for is $400 per month, plus 30% of any income over and above $400. 

Based on these figures, you would have $275 left over ($675 – $400), and 30% of that amount comes to $82.50. That means your total exemption would be $482.50 ($400 + $82.50).

Keep in mind sources such as Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Employment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, gifts, or gambling winnings are categorized as unearned income and may affect your eligibility.

What Scenarios Would Cause Social Assistance Payments To Stop?

Your Social Assistance payments may stop in any one of the following situations:

  • You’re not actively looking to work
  • You refuse to work or quit/got fired without just cause
  • You start earning a high enough income that does not justify being on Social Assistance
  • You lied on your application
  • You omitted pertinent information about your income or marital status
  • You didn’t comply with your case plan

Final Thoughts

It can be very difficult to be unable to cover the cost of life’s basic necessities, including food, shelter, and utilities. Thankfully, there are programs available through the government to help bridge these financial gaps. If you live in PEI and fall below a certain income threshold, you may qualify for the Social Assistance Program in the province.

Social Assistance PEI FAQs

How much can I get through the PEI Social Assistance Program?

Your approved benefit amount will be based on how much money you make, how many children you have, and whether you own your home or rent.

What happens if I get a divorce while I’m receiving social assistance benefits?

Any changes to your circumstances must be reported to the Department, after which any necessary adjustments may be made to the amount of assistance you’re getting.

Can my social assistance benefits be taxed?

The benefits you receive through the Social Assistance Program are not taxable, but you must include them when completing your income tax return. Tax slip T5007 will display the amount of social assistance benefits you are being paid during a calendar year.

Can I qualify for other supports along with Social Assistance?

Once you qualify for Social Assistance in PEI, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the Financial Assistance Drug Program and the Provincial Dental Care Program. The Drug program helps cover the cost of approved medications, and the Dental Care program helps covers the cost of basic dental services, such as cleaning and exams.

Will my CCB payments affect my ability to get social assistance in PEI?

Certain income income is excluded and therefore not counted when assessing your eligibility, including: 
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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