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Age requirement

To be eligible for Income Assistance, you must be 19 years of age or older.

Financial requirements

To be eligible to receive Income Assistance, you will need to show that you have financial need. Financial need is calculated by subtracting your current income from your total basic needs. Basic needs include food, shelter, and utilities. If your basic needs cost more than your current income, you have financial need.

Earned Income Exception

If you have a job and are approved for Income Assistance, you will be allowed to keep a certain amount of your income in addition to your Income Assistance. This is called the Earned Income Exception. For a single person with no dependents, the first $200 you earn and 15% of any amount above $200 is included in the Earned Income Exception.

Unearned Income

Income you receive that is not earned from sources such as employment is called Unearned Income. You can receive up to $1,200 in Unearned Income per year, which will be exempt from your Income Assistance. This means you can receive these types of income without it impacting the amount you receive through Income Assistance. Any amount of Unearned Income above $1,200 per year will be deducted from your Income Assistance.

Unearned Income can come from sources such as:

  • GST and Income Tax refunds
  • Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security
  • Employment Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Investments
  • Gifts and gambling winnings.

Exemptions for Indigenous Persons

If you receive money from an Impact Benefit Agreement, Treaty, Land Claim, Agricultural Benefits and Per Capita Distribution, the full amount of payments received are excluded from the calculation of benefits.

In addition, income received because of settlement for Residential Schools, Day School and Sixties Scoop will be excluded from the calculation of benefits.

Ability to work

Typically to receive Income Assistance, every adult in your household would need to participate in a program called Productive Choice. As a person with a disability, you will not be required to participate in Productive Choice, but you can choose to participate.

Productive Choice includes activities such as:

  • Wage employment
  • Career planning
  • Education and training
  • Volunteer community work
  • Traditional activities
  • Parenting
  • Caring for an adult family member
  • Wellness activities

What province are you from?

Knowing your province helps us make this tool the best experience for you.

Important information about benefits for Indigenous Peoples

If you are Indigenous there are many things that affect the benefits you can get and the dollar amounts you can get from them. These include the agreements your band or governing body has with provincial, territorial, and federal governments. Before applying to any benefits, you should speak with your governing body, if applicable.

AFOA Canada and Prosper Canada are currently seeking funding to develop an online tool that serves the needs of Indigenous people living in Canada.