To be eligible for Income Assistance, you must be 19 years of age or older.
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.
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
- Gifts and gambling winnings.
Exemptions for Indigenous Persons
If you receive money from an Impact Benefit Agreement, Treaty, or Land Claim agreement, up to $500 will be exempt from your Income Assistance. This will not be included as part of your Unearned Income. If you have children who receive these benefits, it will not be included as part of your financial assessment for Income Assistance.
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
- Caring for an adult family member
- Wellness activities
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