Income Support

Last modified: 
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 13:30

Updated Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Important Information on Income Security Programs

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, 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 Senior Citizen Supplementary Benefit (SCSB), which are included through and combined with federal payments.  

For more information on Income Assistance or Seniors benefits, contact one of our regional service centres

Income Assistance

Income Assistance (IA) provides a set amount for food, shelter, and utilities, and enhanced needs such as incidentals, clothing, child care, furniture, educational assistance as well as allowances for seniors and persons with disabilities. The program is designed for Northerners 19 or older; that have a need greater than their income; and to encourage IA clients to participate in one productive choice, to take care of themselves and their families, unless they are exempt. 

To support residents, families and seniors, we are:

  • Providing a one-time emergency allowance for IA clients registered in March to help them with a 14-day supply of food and cleaning products as the stores have them available. Individuals receive $500 and families receive $1,000. 
  • Directing that all clients will engage in only one Productive Choice: taking care of themselves and their families. They will not be required to report on this productive choice.
  • Requesting that all current IA clients update their statements and authorizations. This will help streamline administrative processes so Client Services Officers (CSOs) can focus on working with clients.
  • Exempting monetary donations from being counted as income, beginning in April. These may be in the form of gifts from friends, family, benevolent organizations or Indigenous governments.
  • “Payrolling” all clients so that they do not have to report each month. This will ensure they receive their payments consistently, and will avoid in-person reporting.
  • Modifying the intake approach for new clients. Over the coming months, new clients will work with CSOs over the phone or by appointment as necessary, requiring minimal verification to ensure they are registered as quickly as possible. They will be automatically assessed for both basic needs and enhanced benefits.

Seniors Home Heating Subsidy

The 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 Northerners who are NWT residents and must apply for the subsidy each year; 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. 

Planned approaches include:

  1. All 2019-2020 subsidy applications will be carried over for two years rather than one, to ensure Seniors do not have to leave their homes unnecessarily.
  2. Assistance by phone for seniors registering for the first time.
  3. Modest increase in subsidy amount, beginning April 1, 2020.
  4. Continued support available by phone.

ECE Service Centres and Building Closures

Our Service Centres and Headquarters have closed all of the buildings with information posted at each door letting the public know how to contact both the Client Services Officers and Student Case Officers and arrange for appointments if required.

When clients are having a face to face meeting, ECE has put processes in place to ensure that there will be at least 6 feet between both the client and the staff member so that proper physical distancing is maintained.

For more information on Income Assistance or Seniors benefits, contact one of our regional service centres. 

For any questions about Student Financial Assistance, please visit this information page, email nwtsfa@gov.nt.ca or call toll free 1-800-661-0793 or (867) 767-9355 in Yellowknife.