Income Assistance

WHAT IS INCOME ASSISTANCE ON RESERVE?

Common Statement:  “The band gets money because I’m Treaty to the Reserve.  They better give me my welfare cheque!”

FACT: NO, YOU MUST BE ELIGIBLE!

There are many determining factors that the I.A administering authority must adhere to!  Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) enforces strict policies and procedures to determine your eligibility!

Income Assistant (Welfare) is NOT a TREATY RIGHT,  It is a program of LAST RESORT!

WHO SET THESE RULES?

Since 1964, The Government of Canada’s Treasury Board has enabled Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to adopt and follow provincial rates and eligibility criteria in the administration of I.A to First Nation people

Each region in Canada must incorporate into its policies comparable financial benefits to those available to non-reserve residents in similar circumstances

HOW THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SETS THE RULES?

Your First Nation signs a contract called a funding contribution agreement

Contribution funding is a conditional transfer payment for a specific purpose that is subject to being accounted for or audited for the purpose of determining adherence to terms and conditions of payment and for which unexpended balances or unallowable expenditures are to be reimbursed to the crown

If the First Nation does not follow policy and procedures, this can cause a huge outstanding debt to the community!

WHO CAN APPLY FOR INCOME ASSISTANCE

It is your right as a Canadian to be allowed to apply for Income Assistance

You have the right to appeal a decision by the administering authority

DETERMINING FACTORS FOR ELIGIBILITY

1. Residency & Citizenship
The Income Assistance program (IA) provides financial help to people who reside on reserve and have no other way to support themselves or their families.
You apply for IA in the First Nation you live in, it does not matter if your status is registered to another First Nation and if you are non status

2. Family Unit and dependency
People who are married or live as common law couples must apply for I.A together.  Both of your signatures are required for the application

You are a common-law couple if you:
live with someone and have lived together for at least 3 months
share money and living costs
share a family
a social life as a couple

3. Income assistance categories
There are 3 main categories for the I.A program, with 2 sub-catergories:
Health

Social
– single parent (with children under 7 years old)
– other (clients 55+)
Economic

4. Employment expectations
People who are categorized under the Economic Category have employment expectations

5. Financial need assessment

As I mentioned earlier, this is a program of last resort!

You may be eligible for assistance if the total cost of your (or your family’s) monthly basic needs is more that your total financial resources

For IA, the cost of basic needs is based on:
A set basic allowance amount (identical to Provincial EIA) for your family size, the number of people in the family, their ages and relationships to each other.

FINANCIAL NEED

  • The cost of some of your ongoing medical needs that are not covered under FNIHB
  • The cost of your shelter, utilities and user fees (based on your family size)
  • Other costs that are specific to your personal/family circumstances (and which IA may cover)

APPLICANT RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Apply for benefits when you believe you are in need
  • Disclose and bring in all necessary documentation that apply to your circumstance to make a proper application
  • Conduct yourself in a respectful manner
  • Exhaust all available resources and income to support yourself

SOURCES OF INCOME YOU MUST DECLARE

Your income may come from the money you get from:

  • Working
  • self-employment
  • business or farm profits
  • child or spousal support payments
  • Pensions
  • insurance benefits
  • financial settlements from an injury or lawsuit
  • sponsorship payments
  • Inheritances
  • windfalls (winnings)
OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME

IA does not count some income as part of your financial resources. Some examples are:

  • a portion of your wages from a job
  • Residential school settlements
  • Tax Credit Refunds
  • Child tax benefit & Child disability benefit
  • occasional gifts, up to $100 per person in the family
  • Gifts of up to $500 a month from friends/family if you have a disability
  • foster home maintenance payments from a child welfare agency
  • Manitoba pre-natal benefits program
  • Earnings of children who are under 18 or placed in a I.A program approved program (e.g Active Measures)

YOUR FINANCIAL ASSETS

Your financial assets assessed include the value of:

  • Cash on hand and money in bank accounts
  • Investments, bonds, stocks, insurance policies
  • property (real estate) or vehicles you own
  • trust funds collections or valuables

EIA does not count these as assets:

  • any money (called “liquid assets”) up to $4,000 per person and up to $16,000 per family
  • your main home (called a “primary residence”), vehicles and other essential
  • property (ex: equipment you need to do a home business)

YOUR INTAKE APPOINTMENT

Once you have completed this orientation:

  • A staff will provide you with information on how to set up an intake appointment to complete an IA application
  • If you are married or have a common-law partner, both of you must go to the intake appointment together

There are some basic topics IA staff will ask you about at your intake appointment:

  • Your family and yourself
  • Your last source of income
  • Your income (money you earn or get from another source)
  • Your assets (savings, investments, items of value)
  • Your education, work status and history
  • Your plans to find work
  • Any medical conditions and health needs you have
  • Confirmation of your address on reserve
  • Any legal problems you may have

WHAT DO I BRING TO MY INTAKE APPOINTMENT?

  • Bring all the information and papers that are on the checklist that apply to you
  • Personal information – You must bring two pieces of identification (ID) with you (preferably 1 to be photo ID)
  • Your spouse or common-law partner must also bring two pieces of ID.

If you have children, then:

  • You must bring one piece of ID for each child.

IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED

Identification (ID) can be:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN) card
  • First Nations status card
  • Driver’s licence
  • Immigration documents (Record of Landing, Acknowledgement of Convention, Refugee Claim, Minister’s Permit)
  • Employment Authorization
  • Manitoba enhanced identification card
  • Manitoba enhanced driver’s licence
  • any other photo ID

HOUSING INFORMATION

Please bring the following documents:

  • A copy of the Tenancy Rental Agreement from the First Nation Housing Authority
  • Confirmation from the Head of Household in which you reside, confirming your place of address
  • Copy of the latest (most recent) hydro bill

IF YOU OWN A HOUSE, BRING THESE DOCUMENTS

  • Mortgage papers
  • House insurance papers
  • Property tax statement

BANKING INFORMATION

  • You must bring copies of your bank statements for EVERY bank account you have in your name
  • You must bring in bank statements for the past two months (60 days)
  • This applies to BOTH partners, if you are married or live common-law

PROOF OF YOUR INCOME AND ASSETS

  • To get IA benefits, you must show all your income and assets. You must bring proof of these to your appointment
  • Proof of your income includes cheque stubs or notice of payment for: wages or salary from a job, if you are working or worked recently

PROOF OF YOUR INCOME

  • Pensions, Employment Insurance (EI) payments
  • Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), Workers Compensation Board (WCB) or other insurance benefits
  • Inheritances, winnings
  • Child or spousal support payments

PROOF OF YOUR ASSETS

Proof of your assets includes ownership documents or deposit information for:

  • cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ski doos, sea doos, boats, any other vehicles
  • inventory or equipment for your own business, farm or fishing operation
  • Funeral plan, trust fund
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Cash, money in the bank
  • Investments, bonds
  • Insurance policies

IF YOU OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS

If you own a business, you must bring proof of:

  • money in your business bank accounts
  • ownership and company assets

HOW DOES IA DECIDE IF I CAN GET BENEFITS

  • All the information and paperwork you put together is used to help IA decide if you can receive money for basic needs
  • IA uses all of this information to do a test of need.

TEST OF NEED

  • Your test of need adds up all of your income and assets
  • It also adds up all your costs and expenses for basic needs, the amounts for which are set by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)
  • Your test of need will tell IA if your total basic costs are more than your total income and assets
  • The amount of IA you will receive is the difference between your needs that IA will fund and your resources.

Written confirmation of your eligibility will be provided to you and evidence that you have received all assistance and benefits for which you qualify under the program

IA RECIPIENT RESPONSIBILITIES

Once you start receiving IA benefits you must:

  • Inform the administrator promptly of changes in your circumstances that may affect eligibility or benefit rate
  • Participate in interviews with staff, from time to time, to show you are still eligible for IA
  • Complete an Annual Review once a year to show you are still eligible for EIA
  • Meet the terms of any work expectations that apply to you
  • Take full responsibility possible for achieving increased or complete financial independence
  • Participate in employable programs that may be available
  • Make reasonable efforts to get and use all other financial resources available to you and your family (ex: federal benefits, child or spousal support, pensions, insurance, WCB)
  • Immediately report to staff all changes in your family, living arrangements, address, income or assets
  • Repay all overpayments you may have, even after you leave IA.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER IA

  • An overpayment occurs when you receive more than what you should have received
  • If you are responsible for an overpayment, IA will recover it from you through reduced IA payments

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T GET IA BENEFITS?

If you are not eligible for IA benefits:

  • You will be told why the decision was made
  • You will receive a copy of your application form

IA staff will also:

  • Tell you that you can appeal the decision to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)
  • Give you a letter explaining your right to appeal and how to do it

REDRESS MECHANISM

If you think the decision was unfair, you can appeal for these reasons:

  • IA staff would not allow you to apply or re-apply for IA
  • IA staff took too long to decide if you could get benefits
  • You were told you could not get benefits, even though you think you are eligible
  • Your benefits were cancelled, suspended, changed or withheld
  • The benefits you were given are not enough to cover your basic needs

1st Level of Appeal: First Nation Council or administering authority:  Redress request form will be provided
2nd Level of Appeal: Tribal Council Social Development Advisor will hold an Informal hearing in which the SDA will determine and recommend action to be taken or further addressed by the 3rd level of appeal
3rd Level of Appeal: The Director of Funding Services or designated person at Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)

  • If anything has changed since your application, it is important to tell IA staff and the appeal board (ex: changes in your family size, home address, income and work
  • This information could affect the decision about getting benefits.

PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY

  • As a government program, IA has the legal right to collect, use and share the information you provide
  • The information you give will only be used to find out if you need IA and to provide the programs and services for you and your family.
  • If IA needs to share information about you and your health, IA staff follow the rules of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)

Income Assistance benefits will be distributed at the Band Office on these days (date changes will be shown on announcement board at corner).

 

         Benefit Month                    Distribution Day                       

April-2018                          Tuesday April 3, 2018

May-2018                           Monday April 30, 2018

June-2018                           Thursday May 31, 2018

July-2018                            Thursday June 28, 2018

August-2018                       Tuesday July 31, 2018

September-2018                  Friday August 31, 2018

October-2018                      Friday September 28, 2018

November-2018                  Tuesday October 30, 2018

December-2018                  Friday November 30, 2018

January-2019                      Friday December 28, 2018

February-2019                    Thursday January 31, 2019

March-2019                        Thursday February 28, 2019

Direct deposit will be the same day as hard cheques…if working casual labor hours a hard cheque will be issues NOT direct deposit.

Vouchers will be available on the 15th of each month (ONLY) for those that need it…if 15th is a Saturday or Sunday it will be available the Friday before. Please call to let our office know where the voucher is to.

CONTACT:

Jennifer Esquash, Income Assistance Administrator
Fax: (204) 836-2786 / Tel: (204) 836-2101
Email:  slfnsa@hotmail.com