North

N.W.T. will exempt federal COVID-19 emergency benefits from income assistance

The territory says income assistance recipients who also receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit will not have to count the federal funding as unearned income.

Canada's emergency benefits won't count as unearned income, says territory

N.W.T. Education Minister R.J. Simpson says with many people out of work and few prospects for summer employment for students, there are unique challenges facing families and individuals. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

The Northwest Territories announced more help for residents who receive income assistance.

In a news release sent Wednesday, the territory says income assistance recipients who also receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will not have to count it as unearned income, which would affect their income assistance benefit.

To qualify for the CERB — a $2,000 monthly payment for up to four months — an applicant must be a Canadian resident over 15 years old who has been forced to stop working because of the pandemic. The applicant also must have earned a minimum of $5,000 over the last 12 months and must expect to make less than $1,000 a month while collecting the benefit.

"This will ensure that some of our most vulnerable Canadians, including persons with disabilities, receive the supports they need during this pandemic," said Canada's Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough in the news release.

Help for students

Students will be eligible for $1,250 a month from May through August under the CESB. That sum can go up to $2,000 if the student is caring for a dependent or has a disability.

The benefit is available also to students who have jobs but are making less than $1,000 a month.

"With many people out of work and students that have few prospects for summer employment, there are unique challenges facing families and individuals. Any assistance we can provide to help reduce some of the stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is an action we will swiftly take," said N.W.T. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment R.J. Simpson in the news release.

In late March, the territory announced a one-time emergency allowance for income assistance recipients — $500 for a single recipient, or $1,000 for households with two or more people.

It also waived any monetary donations in the form of gifts from friends, family, benevolent organizations or Indigenous governments from being counted as income in income assistance benefits, as of April through to the end of June 2020.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said a student with a disability or who is caring for a dependent can receive $1,750 a month from May through August under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. In fact, they can receive $2,000.
    May 06, 2020 5:36 PM CT

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