Who can receive Income Assistance

Income Assistance (IA) helps you when you are not able to support yourself or your family. Depending on your situation, you may get money for your basic needs or help with other special needs

View information on how to apply for Income Assistance.

Who can apply

You can apply if:

  • You are a resident of Nova Scotia.
  • You are 19 years old or over, or you are 16 to 18 in certain situations.
  • You need financial support to pay for your basic needs.
  • You have tried to find work or another source of income, unless it is not possible for you at this time.

Getting help in an emergency

If you are in need of financial assistance because of an emergency, let a caseworker know. They may help you get assistance faster. Here are some examples of emergencies:

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

If you’re an Aboriginal person

  • 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.

If you have a disability

You may be eligible for Income Assistance if you need financial support to pay for your basic needs.

You should tell the caseworker that you have a disability. There are other supports and programs that may help you. Your caseworker may ask you to have your doctor confirm your disability.

If you’re under 19

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

Child, Youth & Family Supports must confirm you are in need of protective services.

You must agree to 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 caseworker is responsible for looking at your situation regularly. They need to know what has changed for you, if you are still eligible for Income Assistance, and if you have any new needs they can support.

Employability assessment

Employment Support Services (ESS) staff will help you explore the many programs and services that can help you access new opportunities in employment. You must be willing to take part in an employability assessment and develop an action plan to build the skills and experience you need for work. You and your caseworker 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,  what training you may need, and if there are any barriers that make it hard for you to work.

Getting money from other sources

You must always report any money you receive to your caseworker. Depending on the source of your money, you may still receive Income Assistance if your eligibility amount shows that you still need help. Visit Money from other sources to learn more.

If you work

Income Assistance may still be able to help you. Learn about how your work affects your assistance.

Learn about the supports available to help you with employment.