Who Can Receive Income Assistance?

Income Assistance gives you a basic amount of money to pay for food, rent, utilities like heat and electricity, and clothing. You have the right to apply for Income Assistance  if you live in Nova Scotia and you are 19 or over.

What makes me eligible?

  • You need financial support to pay for your basic needs.
  • You have tried everything reasonable to find another source of income.
  • You are willing to take part in an employability assessment and develop an action plan for becoming self-sufficient. You and your worker decide when you are ready to take part in an employability assessment. This assessment looks at all your skills and experience to see what kind of work you can do and what training you need at this time.
  • You keep trying to find work or some other source of income unless that is not possible for you at this time.

I have an emergency. Can I get help?

Yes. The worker may be able to start you on Income Assistance right away. They will give you extra time to bring in the rest of the information they need. Here are some examples of emergencies:

  • You have no food.
  • You are in danger of losing your home.
  • You and your spouse or dependent child are experiencing ‘pain and suffering’.
  • You need help to protect your health and safety or that of your spouse or dependent child.

I am an Aboriginal person. Am I eligible?

  • You can apply if you live off Reserve. You apply the same as a non-Aboriginal person.
  • You are not eligible if you live on Reserve. You must contact your band for assistance.

I have a disability. Am I eligible?

Maybe. You must show the worker that you can not pay for your basic needs.

You should tell the worker that you have a disability. There are other supports and programs that you may be eligible for. Your worker may ask you to have your doctor confirm your disability.

I am under 19. Can I be eligible for Income Assistance?

You may be eligible if you are 16 to 18

  • if your home is not safe for you to live in
  • if you and your parents or guardians have conflicts that mean you can not come back to live in your home
  • if you have no parent or guardian

You must go to school or take training for work, and live in a supervised home or apartment while you are on Income Assistance.

Ongoing Eligibility

Your worker is responsible to look at your situation regularly.

They need to know what has changed for you and if you are still eligible for Income Assistance.

What do you do about my savings and things that I own?

The worker will talk to you about what you own. There are rules about what you must count as assets. A house and a car do not usually count as assets. It may take longer to get Income Assistance if you have some types of assets.

I get money from other places. Will I still be eligible?

You must always report it to your worker.

Money from some sources does not change your Income Assistance:

  • GST rebate
  • money you receive through the National Child Benefit
  • money your dependant children earn doing part-time work while they go to school full time
  • money from a Child Disability Benefit
  • income tax refunds

Money from sources like these does change your Income Assistance:

  • child maintenance
  • pension plans including Canada Pension Plan
  • employment insurance

You will continue to get money from Income Assistance if your budget shows that you still need help.

What if I work?

The money you earn will go to pay for your basic expenses.

You will continue to get help from Income Assistance until the amount you earn pays for all your basic expenses. There is an Incentive Program to help you make this transition. Talk to your worker.