If you are a single mother, you’ll have a lot on your plate wherever you live in the world. You have all the responsibility of raising the children right, it’s you that has to get them out of bed in the mornings and ready for school however little sleep the baby let you have last night. Then you have to go to work…because, if you don’t, there’s no one around to earn the money to pay all the bills. And the bills just keep on coming when you’ve got kids. It seems like life is a never ending round of work, worry and demands for money.
Sometimes, single moms can feel very isolated. If only there were some help and support! What a difference it could make, if there were someone you could turn to to help out with the expenses and to offer a little practical help and advice. Well, there is help! If you live in Manitoba province, you can find a whole load of programs, some federal, some provincial, that can help you financially and give you the guidance you need to improve your and your children’s lives.
Most of what follows is directly aimed at the type of concerns you will have if you are a mother, but there are other more general grants and programs that may be applicable. So take a look at the Benefits Canada site:
And also at this link is to the website of Service Canada:
FAMILY ASSISTANCE IN MANITOBA, CANADA
It can be a difficult thing to think about, but there remains the fact that adoption is sometimes an issue that has to be considered. Maybe you are pregnant and alone and know that you just don’t have the circumstances to bring up a child. No one wants to force you into the decision to have your child adopted. But, having a proper understanding of all the issues and having access to expert counselling can really help if you think you might be facing this decision.
Birth Parent Counselling (Provincial)
If you live in Manitoba and are in the situation where you are considring having your child adopted, here’s where to turn for help.
The counselling will explain what’s involved if you do decide to choose adoption for your child, and will tell you about all your rights. They won’t pressure you into a choice you aren’t ready to make, and they will also tell you your other options and help you to choose the best for you and your unborn baby.
You can obtain more information by contacting your local adoption services or a reputable licensed agency and ask for the counselling.
Adoption Financial Assistance (Provincial)
This program is in place to cope with the ‘special needs’ of adoptive children. The special needs are not necessarily physical or mental disabilities, but can even be cultural or familial. (For example, a group of children from the same family have the special need of being adopted together, Aboriginal or Inuit children will have the special need of being educated about their own culture and background, while others may indeed have physical disabilities or emotional needs.)
So, this program aims to provide financial assistance to the families who adopt these children. It may cover:
- Once only costs such as modifications to the home or car to accomodate children with physical disabilities
- Repeated ongoing costs of day to day care
- The costs assosciated with any special services required
An adoptive family may be able to receive all or some of the above, depending on individual circumstances. If you are thinking of adopting or feel you may be eligible (each case is assessed on its individual merits so there is no one standard for eligibility) you should contact the Child and Family Services for your locality. You can find how to do that here:
Employment and Income Assistance (Provincial)
This is a great program that helps families to become self sufficient and gives them the information, guidance and financial assistance to do that. Financial assistance can be given for all families who are struggling to pay for their basic needs such as food, housing, utility bills, medical bills and transportation costs. If you are disabled, or another member of your family suffers from disabilities, there is financial help available for you too through this program.
It’s about more then just giving you extra cash, though. The program enables you to get access to training schemes to enhance your skills and thus your future employability, and helps you to find suitable work and even gives you wage subsidies to help get you on your feet.
To prove eligibility you will need to complete a needs assessment. You can apply through a local Family Services and Labor office. The first link takes you to the website covering Winnipeg:
The second takes you to the right site if you live outside the city in a more rural part of Manitoba.
Help for children with hearing impairments (Provincial)
Children who are hearing impaired or profoundly deaf can get help through the Children’s Hearing Aid program.
This program comes through the Manitoba Health authority, and offers financial assistance in the form of reimbursements for hearing aids and other necessary services. It covers up to 80% of the costs of an analog hearing device (with a limit of 500$ per ear), up to 80% of a programmable device (either analog or digital, max payment 1,800$) and up to 80% to cover additonal services required by a hearing impaired child.
As long as the child’s hearing condition remains the same, the program allows for the renewal of devices for each ear once every four years. Note that there is a deductible amount of 75$ on claims. Things like batteries and losses and repairs are not covered in this plan.
The Children’s Hearing Aid Program is for all Manitoba residents who are under 18 years of age, have an established need for a hearing device, and are not eligible to get their costs paid under other schemes such as the Employment Assistance Scheme. To apply, you need to ask your specialist to contact the Manitoba Health office and request the program for you.
Services for Pregnancy, Post Natal and Child Rearing
This section covers types of assistance for anyone who is pregnant, has rcently given birth or is raising children. Both federal and provincial programs exist in this section.
Canada Child Tax Benefit (Federal)
This benefit is paid monthly, and comes to you all tax free. It’s for anyone who has a child under the age of 18 living with them, and who is the main carer for that child. You also need to be a Canadian citizen or legal resident.
The actual amount of the benefit varies according to your situation, and consists of two parts: the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Child Disability Benefit. Of course, the second part may not be applicable.
So, how do you apply…and how do you know if you are eligible? The best advice seems to be not to worry about eligibility, just go ahead and make that application and let the authorities sort it out, as eligibility rules are comlex and can be confusing. Better to try and fail than not to try and lose out! The time to make the application is as soon as you give birth to a child, or when a child you are looking after moves into your home, or immediately you receive official Canadian residency.
You can apply in several ways…so choose the one that is applicable. In fact, if you signed up and agreed to the automatic benefits service, you can apply through that. Not sure about this service? Check out here:
Or, you can apply online:
If you prefer making a paper application, this is the link for you:
Child Disability Benefit (Federal)
If you’ve got a seriously disabled child, you can get more help through the Child Disability Benefit. The disability can be physical or mental, but it does need to be classed as serious (and likely to last for at least a year) to confer eligibility.
If your disabled child is under 18 and you are the main carer for that child, this will pay you up to 2,740$ a year. To apply, first you will need a certificate from your doctor. You need to complete a form, as does your doctor. This is the form you’ll need:
It’s best to make sure you have completed and filed your tax return before you apply for the disability benefit or you could find there is a delay in processing your application. This is then sent to the Canada Revenue Agency for approval. Once approved, your payments can begin, and these are paid monthly. They’re tax free too
Children’s Special Services (Provincial)
This provincial program is a more wide ranging program to help those who are bringing up kids with disabilities. It will assign a Family Services Worker to support and guide families in need of assistance. The support worker will work with the family to assess individual needs and to develop a Service Plan comprising elements as diverse as respite care for you, transportation needs, home modifications such as stairlifts and wheelchair ramps, hoists if required, therapies and medical supplies.
Disabled children who are less than 17 years of age and residents of Manitoba are eligible as long as their needs are categorized as:
- Developmental or delayed
- Physical disability including mobility impairment
- Strong potential of developing such disabilities due to pre existing conditions or circumstances.
To register for this assistance you should get in touch with your appropriate office of the Manitoba Family Services and Labor, as below:
- http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/misc/loc/ruralnorthern.html (rural or northern office)
Universal Child Care Benefit (Federal)
Universal Child Care Benefit is payable to all Canadian families resident in Canada with a child or children under the age of 6 (born after the 1st July 2006), irrespective of income levels or financial situation. You can use it for anything connected to the care of your child or children, so if you need child care or school equipment for your child, this is very useful. It is taxable, but single moms will be taxed as two parent families. It offers 100$ per month. You may not even need to apply, as if you already get Canada Tax Benefit your application for UCCB will be made automatically. If not, this is what to do:
Get online at the website of the Canada Revenue Agency:
Or, get along to your local Service Canada Centre:
Or, call 1-800-387-1193
Families First Program (Provincial)
You’ve got Community Public Health to thank for this one. It’s completely free, and covers all of Manitoba. If you are a pregnant mom, or one who has recently given birth or has a child of pre school age you can ask for this assistance. A qualified community nurse will come to your home to talk with you about your needs and circumstances. She or he can tell you about local services that may be of help for you, and agree a plan with you which may include regular visits from health professionals.
Other areas in which the nurse can provide advice and help include:
- Health and nutrition
- Safety in the home
- Educational play
- Solving problems
- Getting in touch with community resources
- Health, growth, development and learning
- Child development
To talk about how you can get this help, contact your nearest community public health office:
Healthy Baby/ Manitoba Pre Natal Benefit and Community Support Programs
This program has two separate sections. The first gives help during pregnancy in the form of financial assistance for good nutrition for moms to be. Then there is the second section that offers help and advice with nutrition and health matters after the birth has taken place.
The first section can offer a payment for the expectant mom of up to 81.41$ every month from the second trimester of the pregnancy and continues to the birth. The Mom to be is also invited to take part in Healthy Baby Community Support sessions. Here you can enjoy friendly and informal group meetings where you’ll be given advice and information about pre natal care, healthy baby and child development, good nutrition and parenting skills. It’s a great opportnity to make friends with other moms and to build a support network for the future as all your children will be around the same ages and will be growing up together. Take up the opportunity if you possibly can.
Eligibility involves having an income of under 32,000$ a year, being pregnant and being a resident of the province of Manitoba.
To make contact and apply, if you live in Winnipeg this is your link:
Or if you live elsewhere in the province:
Manitoba Child Benefit (Provincial)
Low income families who live in the province and are bringing up ther children in Manitoba may be eligible for this non taxable benefit. Depending on your income (with a maximum payable to those on less than 15,000$ a year or higher if you have a large number of children), you could receive up to 35$ a month per child. However, if you are getting full Employment Assistance you won’t be able to claim this benefit. NB: Those on just the health benefits part of Emloyment Assistance can still claim Manitoba Child Benefit.
The criteria for eligibility include:
- Having children under the age of 18 who are listed on your health card
- Being resident in Manitoba province
- Having an income under an agreed level
- Receiving Canada Tax Benefits
Manitoba Child Care Program (Provincial)
Do you need financial aid with the costs of child care? If so, check out your eligibility and contact Child Care Online.
Manitoba Shelter Benefit (Provincial)
Need help to pay the rent? If so, this could be just what you’re looking for. So, if you are on a low income and struggling to pay the rent, youy need to find out about ths program. There’s a brochure you can read to get all the information:
It can be worth as much as 210$ a month, depending on individual circumstances. Sounds good? Ok, so here’s the lowdown on eligibility.
- You have to be resident in Manitoba
- You must receive Canada Child Tax Benefit
- You can’t apply if you already get Employment and Income Assistance
- You need to have at least one child under the age of 18
- You must have to spend more the 25% of your total income on your rent
- You need to meet criteria with regard to family size v income
To apply simply dowmload and print a form from the website here:
Or you can pop into the office in Winnipeg (102-114 Garry Street) if you live near enough.
Nobody’s Perfect (Federal)
There’s a program called ‘Nobody’s Perfect’:
It is aimed at you if you are a single mom, have a low income or you are experiencing other difficulties and feeling lost and alone. Group meetings help you not just to meet others in a similar situation as you, but also gives you access to expert advice on topics like health and parenting skills. You can go along if your child is under 5.
Find out more about ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ and how to apply here at the appropriate office for your locality:
Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communitites. (Federal)
If you are Inuit, First Nation or Métis in origin and you live off reserve, this is for you. It offers classes in aboriginal culture and language, education and preparation for school, health, nutrition, parenting and general support.
If you live on reserve, there’s a similar program for you.
To find out how to apply, follow the link below:
RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan (Federal)
If you’ve got an RESP set up for your child, he or she also becomes eligible to receive extra help and benefits. You, your family and friends can all contribute to the fund, which has a lifetime limit of 50,000$. And, it can run for up to 36 years, so your child doesn’t have to hurry his studies! The mony from this fund can be used to help finance any educational costs: Full or part time courses, apprenticeships, college courses or university degrees. And tax is only payable on the funds that are disbursed, not on contributions made or funds that remain held within the RESP. So, an RESP makes sound financial sense.
To find what you need to know about choosing the best promoter for your RESP, follow the link below. It’s really important to choose the right one for your needs or you and your child could lose out on cash in the future.
All you need to apply is a Social Insurance Number…both your child and the promoter need one of these.
You can find out more about an RESP and how to set one up on the link below:
Canada Education Savings Grant (Federal)
This is a great plan that pays out 20% on your RESP contributions to help you even further on the way to a good education for your child. If you’re a low to middle income family too, you can be paid an extra 10% or 20% on the first 500$ of contributions made every year added onto your CESG as described above. This can continue until your child is 17 years of age.
All youngsters of up to 17 are eligible for this, as long as they meet the basic criteria of being Canadian citizens and have a RESP already in place.
Don’t forget: choose your promoter with care. Check the link given above and be sure your promoter offers all the services you require.
Canada Learning Bond (Federal)
The Canada Learning Bond can also help you pay educational costs through savings schemes. It is a federal incentive program, aimed at making it simpler for hard up families to get involved with the RESP scheme. It will contribute 500$ into your child’s RESP, whatever your level of contributions. After that, up until he or she reaches 15 years of age, 100$ is deposited into the RESP. If the costs of setting up the RESP are a concern, an additional 25$ can be put forward to help with that too.
If you like the sound of all this extra help, then this is what you need to qualify:
- Your child must have been born after 31st of December 2003.
- You need to be receiving your National Child Benefit Supplement.
When you open your RESP, be sure to check that the promoter you choose offers this option or you won’ be able to take advantage of this bond.
The above are all available to you, if you qualify, to help with the future costs of educating your child or children. However, Canada has more help to offer in other areas of your life too. Let’s look at employment and pensions to see how you can obtain valuable assistance with these too.
Child Rearing Drop Out Provision (Federal)
You probably already know that on your retirement from work (or if you have to stop work due to disability) you will become entitled to your basic benefits from the Canada Pension Plan. And, when you’re gone, your kids can benefit from this. But did you also know that if you have to drop out of work (thus normally decreasing your pension entitlement) because you have children to raise, you can take advantage of the Child Rearing Drop Out Provision to offset these losses. You can apply for CRDP at the same time as you apply for your CPP, but be aware it takes about 6 months before you’ll start receiving your benefits.
Your CRDP is payable for any months when you either received your National Child Benefit payments or were eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. Your earnings have to have been less than normal during this time due to you having had to stop working or work fewer hours in order to care for your children. (Children need to have been seven years of age or less to count.) Finally, to qualify, your child has to have been born after the 31st of December 1958.
To find out more, here’s the link.
To make your application online, click here:
And, this link will take you to a site that details your nearest Service Canada Office where you can pop in to grab an application kit.
Canada Pension Plan Children’s Benefits (Federal)
If your parents are now deceased or have become disabled, you could be eligible for Children’s Benefits as long as your parents made sufficent contributions during their lifetimes/working lives. CPP Children’s Benefits give you an extra monthly pay out of an amount ascertained by the level of their previous contributions. You can have a look at the charts to see what those levels and pay out amounts could be here:
As long as your parents did make sufficient contributions, you’ll be eligible if you are between 18 and 25 and attending full time school or college at an approved educational institution, or if you’re under 18. Here’s how to apply:
Full information is available on the following link:
Employment Insurance (Federal)
Employment Insurance can cover you for the loss of your job for a number of reasons. It could be that you’ve been laid off due to job cuts, become sick or disabled, or just if you can’t find a job in spite of trying your best. As long as your unemployment isn’t your fault, you should be able to claim if you have this cover.
The insurance pays around 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum payout of 468$ a week. You can claim for 14 to 45 weeks, but it’s dependant on how many insurable working hours you accrued in the previous 52 week period. It’s also worth noting that if you manage to get back into work before you’ve used up all the benefit, you can keep the rest to use in the future should you meet with more employment problems. It is also important to keep a provable record of your attempts to find work during your period on the benefits.
So, are you eligible? You are if you have:
- Paid your Employment Insurance premiums
- Have become unemployed through circumstances not under your control and not your fault.
- Have received no pay for work nor been in work for seven consecutive days or more during the pervious year
- Have accrued enough insurance hours to qualify during the last year or since the beginning of your last EI claim.
You can apply online …see the link below:
Or you can go to a Service Canada Centre.
Employment Insurance Family Supplement (Federal)
This one’s an extra feature of the Employment Insurance as explained above. It offers you even more benefits if you are a carer who has a low income, and you lose your employment leaving you really struggling. It’s really worth having as it pays up to a massive 80% of your insurable earnings, so if you’re eligible ( you need to receive Canada Child Tax and have an income of below 25,921$ ), it can really help.And, you don’t even have to worry about filling in forms to apply for the supplement as it will simply be added to your existing EI if you meet the criteria.
So, residents of Manitoba province have a lot to thnk about. You won’t be able to claim every one of the benefits listed above, but chancces are there will be something there that you are entitled to and that will make your life a whole lot better. So, what are you waiting for?