The Nova Scotia Income Assistance program is a financial assistance program provided by the Nova Scotia government to residents of the province who are in financial need.
The program was introduced in the 1990s as a means of providing financial assistance to citizens who were unable to support themselves through employment or other means.
The Nova Scotia Income Assistance program has undergone several changes over the years, with the most recent changes being implemented in 2020 to increase the amount of financial assistance provided to recipients and to make the application process more streamlined and efficient.
If you’re someone who needs financial assistance or you’re just curious about how the program works, this article covers the Nova Scotia Income Assistance for 2023 and everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
What is Nova Scotia Income Assistance?
Nova Scotia Income Assistance is a welfare program that is implemented by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.
The program aims to provide financial assistance to the citizens of Nova Scotia who are facing economic hardship or unemployment.
This income assistance program, like many others in Canada, is an integral aspect of the social welfare system that is intended to aid individuals in covering their basic living expenses, such as rent, food, and other necessities.
The Nova Scotia Income Assistance program disburses payments in three installments at the end of each month to eligible individuals, thereby providing the necessary financial support to cover their monthly living expenses.
One major category of the assistant program is Employment Support and Income Assistance.
Employment Support and Income Assistance is designed to help individuals and families become self-sufficient by providing financial assistance while they look for work, participate in education or training programs, or participate in community service activities.
The program also provides employment counselling and job search assistance. Furthermore, the income assistance program also offers supplements for medical care, drugs, and other essential amenities to those who qualify.
Who is Eligible For Nova Scotia Income Assistance?
The Nova Scotia Income Assistance program has certain financial and resource eligibility you must meet to qualify for the assistance. To qualify for the program, you must:
- Be a resident of Nova Scotia and lived in the province for at least three months
- Have a low income and demonstrate a need for financial assistance
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Looked for work and explored other income sources
Non-compliance with program rules or failure to meet certain conditions, such as not actively seeking employment or not participating in education or training programs, may result in penalties.
Note that there may be eligibility criteria for specific situations, such as individuals with disabilities or those unable to work due to medical reasons.
Nova Scotia Income Assistance Payment Dates For 2023
As noted earlier, the Nova Scotia Income Assistance is disbursed in three installments within the last three business days of the month.
Even though the Nova Scotia government has not yet released the full 2023 income assistance dates, we can follow the standard apart to arrive at the following dates.
|December 28th, 29th, and 31st (2022)
|January 27th, 30th, and 31st (2023)
|February 24th, 27th, and 28th (2023)
|March 29th, 30th, and 31st (2023)
|April 26th, 27th, and 28th (2023)
|May 29th, 30th, and 31st (2023)
|June 28th, 29th, and 30th (2023)
|July 26th, 27th, and 28th (2023)
|August 29th, 30th, and 31st (2023)
|September 27th, 28th, and 29th (2023)
|October 27th, 30th, and 31st (2023)
|November 28th, 29th, and 30th (2023)
From the above table, you will notice that the Nova Scotia Income Assistance for the current month is released in the previous month.
This explains why the January 2023 payment was released in December while the January 2024 payment will be released on December 27-29, 2023.
NOTE: The payment dates may be adjusted due to public holidays.
How are Nova Scotia Income Assistance Payments Issued?
There are two main methods for issuing income assistance payments to recipients in Nova Scotia: direct deposit to a bank account and mailing a cheque.
The direct deposit method is considered to be the most efficient and convenient way to receive payments.
With direct deposit, the payment is processed instantly and deposited directly into your bank account, eliminating the risk of lost or stolen cheques.
While mailing a cheque method is still an option, you will need to wait for the cheque to be delivered and then clear at their bank, which can take several days.
How Much is Nova Scotia Income Assistance in 2023?
Now that you know the payment dates for Nova Scotia Income Assistance, let’s delve into the benefits you may receive.
The two main forms of assistance offered by the program are basic need assistance and special need assistance.
Basic Needs Assistance
Basic Needs Assistance, also known as the standard household rate, is intended to cover the basic living expenses of individuals and families, such as rent, food, and clothing.
The basic need assistance is divided into three parts: essentials, rents and boards, and enhanced assistance.
Individuals who do not have a permanent home can receive $380 per month to help pay for essential expenses like food and clothing.
Individuals who qualify for this allowance include those who are in the hospital, participating in a rehabilitation program, or staying in a shelter.
- Rents and Boards
If you have standard housing arrangements like renting an apartment, paying for a home mortgage, or paying for room and board, you will be eligible for extra financial aid up to $1,393 monthly to help with paying for your living expenses.
The following table provides an overview of the estimated basic needs assistance rates for different household sizes and housing statuses in Nova Scotia:
|Number of Beneficiaries
|Number of Dependents
|Two and above
|One and above
- Enhanced Assistance
The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services offers enhanced assistance to eligible individuals in special circumstances. In addition to the standard rent and board support, you may qualify for a base rate of $950 per month.
Eligible beneficiaries include:
- People with mental or physical disabilities
- People fleeing an abusive home
- Teenagers between the ages of 16 -18 with difficulty transitioning into adulthood
Special Needs Assistance
Special needs assistance, on the other hand, is intended to cover additional expenses that may not be covered by Basic Needs Assistance.
These expenses include employment support, child care, dental care, and prescription drug coverage for medical equipment.
The amount of Special Needs Assistance received is determined on a case-by-case basis and is based on the specific needs of the individual or family.
Even if you are employed and earning a salary, you can still qualify for financial aid. The amount of aid you receive may decrease as your income increases, but ultimately, combining your earnings and assistance can result in a higher monthly income.
Check the full list of Nova Scotia special needs covered here.
How to Apply For Nova Scotia Income Assistance
As a resident of Nova Scotia with financial constraints, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Nova Scotia Income Assistance program.
The following are the step-by-step processes on how to apply for the Nova Scotia Income Assistance program:
Step 1: Contact the Nova Scotia Community Services Office
The first step in applying for the Nova Scotia benefit is to contact the Department of Community Services office.
Unlike some other provinces, Nova Scotia does not currently have an online portal for handling income assistance applications.
As a result, you will need to visit the department of community services in person or contact them via phone at 1-877-424-1177.
Step 2: Speak With a Caseworker
Once you’ve made contact with the community services office, you will be connected with a case worker.
Your caseworker will be responsible for determining your eligibility for income assistance.
In addition, your caseworker will interview you to gather information about your income, assets, and living situation.
To make the process as smooth as possible, it’s important to have all the necessary documents with you when you speak with your caseworker. These may include your:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN),
- Proof of income,
- Proof of residency,
- Means of identification such as a driver’s license or passport.
Step 3: Wait for a Decision
After your interview, you will have to wait for approval. This process may take a few weeks, but your caseworker will inform you of the outcome and explain how much you are eligible to receive and how to receive your income assistance.
If your application was not successful, your caseworker will inform you of the reasons and will direct you to other resources and benefits you may qualify to receive.
Step 4: Appeal the Decision if Necessary
If your application is denied, you can appeal. Your caseworker will provide you with the necessary information on how to appeal.
The appeal must be made within 30 days of receiving the denial letter. It’s important to note that the appeal process could be lengthy and may take up to several months.