Nova Scotia Income Assistance Payment Dates 2021

This post covers the Nova Scotia income assistance payment dates, the eligibility, how much you can receive and other income support programs from the provincial government.

Nova Scotia Income Assistance Payment Dates

The Nova Scotia income assistance payment dates for 2021 are:

Benefit MonthPayment Dates
March 2021February 24, 25, 26
April 2021March 29, 30, 31
May 2021April 28, 29, 30
June 2021May 27, 28, 31
July 2021June 28, 29, 30
August 2021July 28, 29, 30
September 2021August 27, 30, 31
October 2021September 28, 29, 30
November 2021October 27, 28, 29
December 2021November 26, 29, 30
January 2022December 29, 30, 31
February 2022January 27, 28, 31

You can expect to receive your payment on these dates if you’re enrolled for direct deposits. Direct deposits is the preferred option and ensures you’ll get your benefits on time.

If you receive cheques instead, NS will try to get the cheques to you by the payment dates above, but it may take longer.

About Nova Scotia Income Assistance

The Nova Scotia Income Assistance (IA) program was set up to help those that are unable to support themselves and their families in the province. It provides an amount that covers the basic needs of beneficiaries such as food, clothing and shelter, with additional help for those with special needs.

Beyond the income assistance payments, IA recipients are also provided with employment support to help them develop the skills and experience they need for gainful employment.

The Nova Scotia Income assistance program currently helps about 25,000 households in the province.

Eligibility For Income Assistance

To be eligible to apply for and receive income assistance in Nova Scotia, you must satisfy the following:

  • Financial Need: Require financial support for your basic needs
  • Residence: You must be a resident of Nova Scotia
  • Age: You’re aged 19 or above, the age of majority in Nova Scotia
  • Explored other income sources including trying to get a work

There could be other eligibility requirements depending on your specific situation. For example, someone with a disability may be asked for a Doctor’s report to confirm their condition.

Also, your eligibility will be accessed on an on-going basis. Your caseworker will access your situation periodically, and you’re responsible for letting them know when your situation changes.


Nova Scotia Income Assistance Rates

So how much can you receive as income assistance in Nova Scotia? Beneficiaries are paid a Basic Needs assistance, and a Special Needs assistance if applicable.

Basic Needs Assistance

As the name suggests, the basic needs assistance covers the cost of basic household needs and it is called the Standard Household Rate. These needs include food, shelter, utilities, fuel, clothing and personal items.

The Standard Household Rate is further categorized into 3:

Standard Household Rate – Essentials

Pays $380 per month to each adult in a household. It is for people that don’t rent, own a house or in a board arrangement. i.e. they are in an hospital, homeless shelter, transition house or rehabilitation program.

Standard Household Rate – Rent/Own or Board

Those that rent or own can receive up to $1,393 per month as income assistance in Nova Scotia depending on the number of recipients and family members. If you board, the rate starts at $608 up to a maximum of $1,049.

The table below shows a summary of how much you can receive as income support in Nova Scotia:

# of RecipientsDependent ChildStandard Rate – Rent/OwnStandard Rate – Board
10$686$608
11$962$627
12 or more$1,013$668
20$1,342$1,008
21 or more$1,393$1,049

Standard Household Rate – Enhanced

The enhanced standard household rate recipients receive $950 per month. It is for single recipients who satisfies both criteria below:

  • Rents or own a house; and
  • Satisfies one of these: have a disability that limits employment, aged 55 or older, aged 16 – 18 or fleeing an abusive situation

Special Needs Assistance

In addition to the basic needs benefits, eligible Nova Scotians can also apply for the special needs assistance. They cover anything from special health, safety, work and training needs.

You can apply for special needs assistance whether you’re already receiving basic needs assistance or not. There’s a long list of needs that can be covered by the special needs income assistance. A few of them are shown below:

  • Pharmacare
  • Child care
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Special diet
  • Transportation and ambulance cost
  • Car Seat and booster seats
  • Emergency Dental care
  • Funeral and Burial

And many more special needs that go beyond food, shelter and clothing.


How to Apply for NS Income Assistance

To begin an application for income assistance, you can visit a local office of the Department of Community Services or call the intake team at 1-877-424-1177.

Have your SIN, bank statement and other information ready when you call. Next, a meeting will be scheduled with a caseworker to review your documents, access your situation and determine if you’re eligible for income assistance.

You’ll be required to bring some documents – the exact documents will be communicated to you during the first call. These may include your income tax assessment, social insurance number (SIN), bank statements, photo ID, housing and utility bills/receipts etc.

A decision will usually be reached in 3-7 days. If you’re eligible, your caseworker will let you know how much you can expect to receive.

However, if you’re deemed to be ineligible for NS income assistance, you’ll receive a letter explaining the reason for the decision. You can appeal this decision within 30 days of receiving the letter if you’re unsatisfied with it.

A decision review will be conducted and if you still don’t agree, then an Appeal Hearing can be scheduled.

Nova Scotia Income Assistance Increases 2021

Starting in May 2021, the income assistance rates were increased by $100 for every adult. This represented an increase of up to 20% for some households compared to the previous increases of between 2 to 5 percent.

The standard household rate for a single adult increased from $508 to $608 for example. In total, the increases are expected to cost the government a total of $35.2 million.

Other initiatives and changes were introduced that would let income assistance recipients keep more of their benefits. These include not clawing back the CPP for disabled persons and not forcing those on income assistance to apply for Canada Pension Plan at 60.

Can I work while on Income Assistance?

Beneficiaries can continue to work even while receiving income assistance in Nova Scotia. You’ll be allowed to keep some of your income without any claw back.

You can keep $250 or $350 for regular employment and supported employment, respectively. Supported employment are the ones that require ongoing support for someone with some physical, mental or cognitive disabilities.

Beyond these amounts, any extra income earned will be gradually clawed back from the income assistance payments. The table below shows claw back rate and how much you can keep from your income.

Net Monthly EarningAmount You Can KeepClaw back Rate
Less than $250100%0%
$250 – $500$250 + 75% of earnings above $25025%
$500 – $750$437.50 + 50% of earnings above $50050%
Above $750$562.50 + 25% of earnings above $75075%

Other income sources like child support payments, poverty reduction credit, Canada Child benefit, Goods and Services Tax Credit (GST) do not reduce the amount of money you can receive as income assistance.

Related: Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Payment Dates

Other Nova Scotia Social Support Programs

Some of the other income support programs from the Government of Nova Scotia include:

Employment Support Services

You need to be a recipient of income assistance to be eligible for employment support. These programs are designed to make those on IA self-sufficient. Many of the services are provided in partnership with outside organizations.

Disability Support Program

The Nova Scotia disability support program provides a standard household rate and other programs to adults, youths and children with intellectual and physical disabilities or long-term mental illness.

A disability support beneficiary with a spouse and at least one dependent child can receive up to $1,193 per month.

Poverty Reduction Credit (PRC)

The Nova Scotia PRC provides a quarterly tax-free payment to low-income earners with no children in the previous year. It pays $125 per quarter for a total of $500 per year.

Check this post to learn more about the Poverty Reduction Credit, the eligibility and Nova Scotia poverty cheque dates.

Nova Scotia Disability payment dates

The disability support program is also administered by the Department of Community Services and the payments are issued on the same date as Nova Scotia income assistance payment dates. For 2021, the payment dates are:

Benefit MonthPayment Dates
March 2021February 24, 25, 26
April 2021March 29, 30, 31
May 2021April 28, 29, 30
June 2021May 27, 28, 31
July 2021June 28, 29, 30
August 2021July 28, 29, 30
September 2021August 27, 30, 31
October 2021September 28, 29, 30
November 2021October 27, 28, 29
December 2021November 26, 29, 30
January 2022December 29, 30, 31
February 2022January 27, 28, 31

Some FAQs:

How much can I receive as income assistance in Nova scotia?

Your income assistance benefit depends on a number of factors. You can earn $380 each month as an adult under the standard household rate (essentials), and up to $1,393 per month for the Standard household rate for someone that rents or own.

Can I work while on Income Assistance in Nova Scotia?

Yes, you’re allowed to work while on income assistance. You’ll make more money monthly if you work because your net earnings, up to a certain point, will not affect your income assistance payments.

When is the disability payment dates?

Nova Scotia disability payments are paid 3 working days before the end of each month. The payment dates are the same as the Nova Scotia income assistance payment dates.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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