Access Income Security

Last modified: 
05/14/2021 - 13:40

Important Information on Income Security Programs

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) has modified Income Security Programs processes and increased benefits to the NWT’s most vulnerable residents and their families.

These programs include Income Assistance (IA), the Seniors Home Heating Subsidy (SHHS), and Student Financial Assistance (SFA). Other programs include the NWT Child Benefit (NWTCB) and the NWT Senior Citizen Supplementary Benefit (SCSB), which are included through and combined with federal payments.

For more information on IA or Seniors' benefits, contact one of our ECE Regional or Community Service Centres.

Frequently Asked Questions

Income Assistance

As a response to the global pandemic in March 2020, ECE modified the delivery of the NWT IA program to meet the needs of vulnerable residents concerned with supporting and protecting themselves and their families. These short-term measures were put in place from April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020. All decisions were based on the information available at the time, while being responsive to the orders made by the Chief Public Health Officer.

All IA relief measures introduced in March 2020 were extended until October 31, 2020.

Beginning November 1, 2020, the IA program transitioned applicants back to regular reporting requirements, to include:

  • Clients are only participating in the Wellness: Self-Care Productive Choice.
  • Payrolling applicants who do not have fluctuating income for periods of 3, 6 or 12 months. Typically, these applicants fall under the following categories:
    • Disabled;
    • Seniors/Elders;
    • Do not receive other earned and/or unearned income.
  • Applicants not payrolled will need to apply monthly and complete a Form A – Reporting Form (PDF).
  • For residents who may have applied, not received, or have delayed benefit payments, we are continuing to exempt Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan benefits as follows:
    • Canada Emergency Response Benefit;
    • Canada Emergency Student Benefit;
    • One-time Special Goods and Services Tax credit;
    • One-time Special Old Age Security;
    • One-time Special Guaranteed Income Supplement;
    • One-time Special payment for certified holders of the Disability Tax Credit;
    • Continue to exempt COVID-19 financial supports from Indigenous Governments and Benevolent Organizations.
  • Unearned income from family and friends will be counted in client assessments and no longer exempted.
  • Unearned income received from the new Canada Recovery Benefits for workers will be counted in client assessments, which include:
    • Canada Recovery Benefit
    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The following measures, introduced in March 2020, were in place until October 31, 2020:

  • Payrolling applicants for a period of three-month intervals (April – June and July – September 2020). This has removed the requirement to report in person on a monthly basis and will provide some sense of financial stability.
  • Introduced a new Productive Choice called “Wellness: Self-Care” that all IA applicants were placed into during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure residents were taking care of themselves and their families while participating in physical distancing and when needed to be able to self-isolate. Applicants are not required to report on progress.
  • Exempting financial assistance provided by Indigenous Governments, benevolent organizations, family and friends, where these funds are intended to help residents with unexpected expenses as a result of COVID-19.
  • Exempting the one-time Special Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit.
  • Exempting the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).
  • Exempting the one-time Special Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments.
  • Exempting the one-time Special Payment for certified holders of the Disability Tax Credit.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of our ECE Regional or Community Service Centres

Seniors Home Heating Subsidy

SHHS provides financial assistance to low-to-modest income seniors to help with the cost of heating their homes.

This program is intended for NWT residents who are 60 years of age or older; own and occupy their own home, or if renting, be the leasee of a unit with heating costs outside of the rent; meet a household income test; and are not receiving IA.

ECE is ensuring seniors remain protected in their homes while still receiving their subsidy consistently.

Ongoing benefits include:

  1. All clients who were approved for SHHS during 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 will automatically be approved in 2021-2022. This has been done to ensure seniors do not have to leave their homes unnecessarily.
  2. New applications can be taken over the phone for seniors registering for the first time.
  3. Modest increase in subsidy amount, as of April 1, 2020.
  4. Continued support available by phone.

ECE Service Centres and Building Closures

Our ECE Regional and Community Service Centres across the NWT have all reopened as of August, with measures in place to protect both our staff and clients.

When clients are having a face to face meeting, there will be at least 6 feet between both the client and the staff member so that proper physical distancing is maintained. Sanitization and masks are required.

For more information on IA or Seniors' benefits, contact one of our ECE Regional or Community Service Centres.

For questions about SFA, please visit Student Financial Assistance, email or call toll free 1-800-661-0793 or (867) 767-9355 in Yellowknife.