Financial Assistance in New Brunswick

Single mothers can find life a little harder than their married friends. You don’t have anyone to share the workload of raising kids or keeping house, and you have to hold down a job as well.  What’s more, you don’t have anyone to share all your worries with either, so all of life’s difficult decisions are down to you. It can seem as though the work…and the worries…are never ending, especially if, like many single moms, you only receive a low income and you never have enough cash to pay the bills and meet the costs of family life.

So, if you found that there are lots of programs in New Brunswick that could help to lift that financial burden from your shoulders, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to grab that help? The good news is that these programs do exist. Some are just for residents of the province, others are federal packages that any Canadian resident is entitled to.

Below are the family related programs that could provide you with the financial assistance and support that can make all the difference to your life. If you want to know about other grants and programs that may help, use the following links to Benefits Canada and Service Canada where more information is available.

  • BENEFITS CANADA :

http://www.canadabenefits.gc.ca/[email protected]?lang=eng

  • SERVICE CANADA

http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/home.shtml

 

FAMILY ASSISTANCE

 

Community Based Services for Children with Special Needs (Provincial)

This program is designed to provide vital support for parents of severely disabled children. Disabled kids need things like special equipment in the home, modified vehicles for transport and medical supplies. And their parents have special needs too…parents who are full time carers for severely disabled kids really need a break sometimes so that they can relax and be themselves for a while. So, respite care is another essential.

If your family meets the criteria that makes you eligible for the CBSCSN program, you can be assigned a skilled social worker who will help assess your family’s needs, guide you through all the services and support that’s on offer and help you write a personalized plan. The plan is reviewed every 12 months to take into account any changes in your child’s condition and needs. It’s very much a co operative program, so parents should work alongside the health and social professionals at all times, and will be asked to make financial contributions as assessed according to their ability to pay. Also note, you have to use any private health insurance that you may have first, then the program will top up if applicable.

This is the eligibility criteria:

  • Your child must be under 19 years of age
  • The child must be assessed by a doctor and diagnosed as as having a severe and permanent developmental disability that requires help and care on a daily basis for everyday activities such as washing, feeding etc.
  • The child must have been rseident in New Brunswick for a minimum period of three months.
  • The child must have a New Brunswick medical card.
  • You as a parent (or both parents if applicable), must also be resident in the province as above, have a New Brunswick medical card and be unable to pay the costs of the child’s necessary care by other means.

To apply you should contact your nearest social services office. Here’s how to find it:

(Links to the regional offices are at the bottom of the webpage)

 

Day Care Assistance Program (Provincial)

The Day Care Assistance program is there to help subsidize the costs of child care. You need to use an agreed/approved child care centre or provider, and you’ll need to show that you do have a requirement for child care (ie. You attend college, go to work or have to undergo prolonged medical treatment outside the home). Your income will be assessed against the child care costs to decide if you qualify for this help. If you are eligible, you will have to pay the amount of the total costs that is deemed possible for you and the program will make up the rest.

To find out more and to apply you should get in touch with your nearest Social Development Office as detailed on the link below:

 

New Brunswick Medicare (Provincial)

This is a medical insurance plan to cover all medical treatments, hospitalization and all associated costs that are administered on site in a hospital or clinic rather than in the home. As a general rule the plan will pay for things like  hospital meals, surgery, surgical supplies, nursing care, any drugs given in the hospital or clinic, X rays and lab analyses, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and also radiotherapy treatments.

It’s important to check with your doctor or health practitioner before commencing treatment to be sure that the plan covers the treatment you are to be given. Also, ask your doctor the total price of the treatments as you need to be sure your plan will offer full cover. If it doesn’t, you are liable to pay the full cost. If you happen to fall ill or need treatment when visiting another Canadian province, your New Brunswick Medicare card will provide the same cover as it would if you were at home.

To qualify for a New Brunswick Medicare card you have to be a resident of the province, and a legal citizen of Canada. You should have been resident in the province for a minimum of thee months.

To get the forms you can go along to your nearest Service New Brunswick office, or follow the link below to download.

 

Canada Child Tax Benefit (Federal)

This benefit is paid monthly, and comes to you completely tax free. It’s there to help  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 will only be applicable if you have a disabled child.

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 complex 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 an application on paper, then 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. You can download the form from the following link:

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.And, they’re tax free.

 

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. If you are married or living with the other parent, the benefit will be paid to whichever of you earns the least.  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

 

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 money 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 actually disbursed from the fund, 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 in the section on the RESP, 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.

 

Nobody’s Perfect (Federal)

‘Nobody’s Perfect’ is a program that aims to help single parents get together and understand the help that’s available to them.

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. It’s a great way of building up a support network of other parents and also professionals that can be there for you throughout your child rearing years and even throughout life.

Find out more about ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ and how to apply here at the appropriate office for your locality:

 

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.

 

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:

So, even if things get tough, you can see there are plenty of places to turn for help in the Northwest Territories. Make sure you get the benefits you’re entitled to…so if you aren’t sure if you qualify or not, ask anyway! If you are unsure about how to fill in the application forms, ask for help too.