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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 take a closer look at this program and help you determine if you qualify for the benefits paid out through the service.

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. This program is designed specifically for individuals and families who are unable to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves. The program is also available to help cover the cost of certain emergency situations.

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. 

While the Social Assistance Program is meant to provide financial assistance to those who need it, there is still an expectation that program participants take certain measures to improve their situation and eventually become self-sufficient.

What Does The Social Assistance Program Cover In PEI?

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

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Medications
  • Basic dental needs
  • Eyeglasses
  • Funeral expenses

PEI Social Assistance Payment Dates

To get your Social Assistance payments deposited directly into your bank account, you’ll need to sign up for direct deposit. Generally speaking, you’ll have until the last day of the month in order to receive payment for the following month. 

For instance, for payments to be received in July, you’ll need to sign up by June 30. For payments to be received in August, you’ll need to sign up by July 31.

Who Is Eligible For Social Assistance In PEI?

Your eligibility for the Social Assistance Program will be determined either at the time that you apply, at the time of a review, at the time of an annual review, or when there is a change in circumstances. 

In general, the Social Assistance Program is meant to help anyone who does not have the following: 

  • Adequate income to cover the cost of basic needs 
  • Help from family
  • Short-term credit
  • Adequate assets
  • Adequate employment or training opportunity

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. 

Documents Required

Certain information will be required to support your eligibility for the program, such as:

Financial Resources And Income Verification

All income information must be confirmed with written documentation, such as pay stubs, agency statements, or terms of agreement.

Proof Of Living Conditions And Documents Of Living Expenses

If you rent, you’ll need to verify your rental payment and include the rental amount paid within the last 45 days, the address of the unit, and 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 to confirm expenses and income, such as expense bills, receipts, or medical reports.

How Can You Apply For Social Assistance In PEI?

Before you apply for the Social Assistance Program, all the documents and reasons for completion will be explained to you. The client declaration form will be reviewed with you to make sure that you fully understand the importance of honest and accurate information and the need to report any changes in circumstances that may arise in the future.

Certain information will need to be verified regarding your income, assets, and expenses. It is your responsibility to provide all the necessary documentation to support your income or expense claims.

Your case will then be assigned to a worker, and a review date will be established for a home visit to be made. 

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. 

You can get in touch with a representative with the Social Assistance Program in PEI by calling 1-877-569-0546. 

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 work and still receive social assistance at the same time?

Yes, you can still receive benefits even while you’re working. 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

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. 

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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