Social Development Minister Madeline Dubé

Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé says the rate increase is part of the Alward government's plan to reduce poverty in the province. (CBC)

Basic social assistance rates in New Brunswick will increase by three per cent on Tuesday for "most" clients.

The increase, announced last April, will help about 20,000 households, Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé said in a statement.

Rates will remain the same, however, for those who are single and able to work, she said.

Those clients were also exempt from a four per cent increase implemented last October, with their monthly cheques remaining at $537 per month.

The department will also invest $1.3 million effective Oct. 1 to reform social assistance as part of its overall poverty reduction plan, said Dubé.

Part of that money will be used to implement a youth services program with a new rate and benefits structure for people 16 to 18.

It will also be used to:

  • Increase the flat wage exemption portion to $500 per month for persons with disabilities.
  • Increase the allowable asset limits for life insurance asset, prepaid funeral asset and business assets for all clients and applicants.
  • Increase the allowable asset limits for a registered retirement savings plan asset and liquid asset exemptions for clients and applicants with disabilities.

The Department of Social Development invests more than $247 million in programs and services for social assistance clients, which can include health services, employment training and fuel assistance.