News release

Changes Mean Seniors Keep More of Their Income

Starting Nov. 1, hundreds of Nova Scotians with a spouse or partner in long-term care will keep more of their shared income after policy changes announced today, Sept. 25 by Premier Darrell Dexter.

The changes will make life more affordable for the partner still living at home.

"Many seniors struggled to make ends meet because their spouse was in long-term care," said Premier Dexter. "Women and men who worked hard all their lives deserve a better deal, and this change makes life more affordable for these seniors. It means less worry and more money for anyone whose spouse is in long-term care.

"Nova Scotia's seniors deserve to live comfortably and independently in their communities for as long as possible."

The cost for accommodation in long-term care is now based on 50 per cent of a couple's combined income. The province is investing $3 million to change that amount to 40 per cent, allowing the partner at home to keep 60 per cent of their shared income.

This means if a couple has a combined annual income of $45,000, the partner remaining at home will keep $27,000 under the new policy instead of $22,500.

Between 700 and 1,000 couples may benefit from this change over the next year. About 11 per cent of long-term care residents have a partner living at home in the community.

The province is also increasing the amount a couple can earn before they have to personally pay for their accommodation.

The spousal income threshold will increase from $18,064 to $20,000. Couples who have a combined income of $20,000 or less will have the entire cost of accommodation covered by the province.

Joan Legge, chairperson of the Ivany Place Family Council, said they are pleased with the changes and that they will ease seniors' minds.

"Health care is a major concern to most people, especially as they age, and financial concerns are a close second," said Ms. Legge. "Seniors want to know that they will have enough money to care for themselves and their loved ones. Today's announcement will help them make the right decisions when it comes to care."

About 8,000 Nova Scotians live in long-term care. The cost of health care for residents is covered by the province and residents pay for accommodation.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Starting November 1st, hundreds of Nova Scotians who have a spouse or partner in long-term care will keep more of their shared income after policy changes Premier Darrell Dexter announced today (September 25th).

Premier Dexter says many seniors struggled to make ends meet because their spouse was in long-term care and this change makeslife more affordable for these seniors.

The cost for accommodation in long term care is based on 50 per cent of a couple's combined income. The province is investing 3-million-dollars to change that amount to 40 per cent, allowing the partner at home to keep 60 per cent of their shared income.

The province is also increasing the amount a couple can earn before they have to personally pay for their accommodation.

The spousal income threshold will increase from about 18-thousand dollars to 20-thousand.

-30-

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Stewart
Premier's Office Cell: 902-497-7198 E-mail:
Nicole Brooks
Health and Wellness 902-424-2608 E-mail: