KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – There is much hype about the changes in the Nova Scotia child benefits program announced in the provincial budget.
More people will qualify because of the new income thresholds, and that is a good thing, given the very high level of child poverty in this province.
But these changes will not really benefit income assistance recipients.
Standard household rates will not increase this fiscal year. That means that people who rely on income assistance alone will have less buying power than last year because of inflation, defined in the provincial budget as sitting at 2%.
For instance, because of inflation a single adult without disabilities stands to lose $12.98 per month this year, a single adult with disabilities will be $18.26 per month poorer than last year.
Meanwhile, as the above chart shows, the much touted increase in child benefits is negligible.
Parents of one or two children will receive an increase in their child benefits of $25 total per month.
For reasons that can only be due to a serious case of departmental penny pinching, that increase is only $19 per month altogether if you have three children or more. I’m not making it up, check the chart!
Applying inflation, that means that a single parent with one child will receive all of $6.58 per month more.
A couple with two children will actually be $1.35 per month in the red after we apply the inflation adjustment.
“Supporting healthy children, youth and families is key to building a stronger province,” states Kelly Regan, Minister of Community Services in a press release that describes the changes.
And in her budget address Karen Casey, the Minister of Finance said “No child should live in poverty.”
Nice words, but once again people on income assistance and their children are forgotten.
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