Improvements to Income Assistance and new Income Assistance for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities program come into effect

Public Service Announcement

Yellowknife — June 4, 2024

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is pleased to announce that improvements to the Income Assistance program and the new Income Assistance for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities program will come into effect July 1, 2024.

As previously announced, improvements made to Income Assistance and the creation of the Income Assistance for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities program will enhance supports for vulnerable residents, reduce barriers, and improve accessibility to the programs.

Changes to the Income Assistance program include:

  • Aligning benefit levels with the Northern Market Basket Measure, which considers cost differences throughout every region of the Northwest Territories;
  • Increasing income exemptions;
  • Removing the productive choice requirement. Previously, each adult in the household needed to take part in a ‘productive choice’ within two months of receiving Income Assistance, such as wage employment, parenting, career planning, volunteer community work, or caring for an adult family member;
  • Removing the attachment to the labour market, such as the requirement to seek and maintain employment; and
  • Reducing refusal periods to minimize financial hardship for clients.

Highlights of the new Income Assistance for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities program:

  • Intended for seniors (60+) or individuals with a permanent or long-term disability who are in financial need;
  • The program has moved from a monthly application to an annual application;
  • Annual income is based on the Canada Revenue Agency’s Notice of Assessment; and
  • Benefit levels are aligned with the Northern Market Basket Measure.

The various changes to these programs represent an investment of $5 million annually. These changes were guided by engagement with Indigenous governments and key stakeholders, including current and former clients, non-governmental organizations, various GNWT departments, and landlord and utility providers.

The public also had the opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey. The feedback received through this engagement is presented in the following What We Heard Report.

 

For media requests, please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

briony_grabke@gov.nt.ca

867-767-9352  Ext. 71073