Improvements to a range of programs began July 1

“This year’s budget includes some of the most significant improvements in over a decade to help families make ends meet.”

About 240,000 Nova Scotia families will have more money to make ends meet thanks to a range of new supports that took effect July 1, 2011.

The new investments include:

  • A 22 per cent increase per child, per month to the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Benefit, the first increase in a decade. This increase will help more than 23,000 families provide healthier food and other support for their children.
  • A $15 per month increase in the Income Assistance personal allowance to help more than 31,000 adults better provide for themselves and their families.
  • Indexing the Affordable Living Tax Credit and the Poverty Reduction Credit to keep up with inflation, which will help almost 240,000 Nova Scotia families pay for necessities like food and clothing.
  • Increasing foster care rates by more than 10 per cent, or about $50 per child, per month to help about 800 foster families provide homes for children in need.
  • Allowing working Income Assistance clients to keep more money each month. They currently keep 30 per cent of earnings. They will now keep the first $150 earned each month, plus 30 per cent of the remaining amount. Disabled Income Assistance recipients in supportive employment will keep the first $300, double the current rate, plus 30 per cent of the remaining earnings.

For a single parent with two kids receiving Income Assistance, the changes could add up to more than $420 extra per year for those not working and almost $1,700 more a year for those on Income Assistance with a job.

These new initiatives are on top of improvements made to the Employment Support and Income Assistance program introduced in January that fully fund eye exams, change the definition of common-law partner, double asset levels, and made sure benefits are not reduced when adult children living at home are pursuing post-secondary education.

Additionally, the government recently announced a new pilot project to help HRM's homeless people make the move from shelters to long-term housing.

Since 2009, government has made other, significant efforts to help families, including increasing minimum wage, building more affordable housing and removing the provincial portion of the HST from children's shoes, clothing and diapers.

See the social media release for the event where Premier Darrell Dexter and Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse first announced these improvements: Province Announces New Support for Nova Scotia Families.