featured Poverty

News brief: Community Services doubles liquid assets cut-off for people on income assistance

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On February 21 the province amended the amount of liquid assets that you can have in the bank (or under a mattress) and still be eligible for income assistance.

It used to be $1000 for individuals and $2000 for two or more people. That has now doubled to $2,000 and $4,000.

This is money for a rainy day, and for people on welfare the forecast contains lots of heavy rain warnings.

So doubling the allowed amount is progress, isn’t it?  Well, yes and no.

Things were better in the olden days. In 1981, as per the Family Benefits Act a single person was allowed to bring in $3000, and a married couple $5500.  

Corrected for inflation that is roughly $8,110 in 2017 dollars for a single person, and $14,869 for a couple.

The Family Benefits Act was the provincial social assistance scheme for people with disabilities (and their families) and single parents. It was in place from 1978 until the current Employment Support and Income Assistance program came in effect in August 2001.

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