Income Assistance (IA)

The Income Assistance (IA) program provides people in financial need with assistance with basic needs such as food, rent, utilities like heat and electricity, and clothing. The program may also help you with other needs such as child care, transportation, prescription drugs, emergency dental care, and eye glasses.

(In some places, programs that help people with basic requirements are called "social assistance", "income support" or "welfare".)

Once you receive Income Assistance, you may be able to take part in one of our many Employment Support Services (ESS) programs, which help people become more self-sufficient.


You may be eligible for income assistance if you

  • live in Nova Scotia
  • are 19 years of age or older
    (You also may be eligible under special circumstances if you are 16 to 18 years of age.)
  • are in financial need
    (Your monthly income is less than the amount the ESIA Program allows for basic expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, clothing, taxes and utilities like heat and electricity.)

Read more about who can receive Income Assistance.

Next steps

Read our detailed steps about how to apply for Income Assistance, including information on who to contact, what information you need to apply, and how you will receive your money.

Income Assistance programs and other information