Nova Scotia

Low-income seniors in N.S. eligible for additional $250 in aid

The provincial government will be offering low-income seniors another $250 this fall through the province's emergency heating grant. But the money can be used for more than just paying fuel bills.

27,000 seniors have already received $500 available through the emergency heating grant

Barbara Adams is Nova Scotia's minister of seniors and long-term care. (CBC)

The provincial government is offering seniors who earn less than $37,500 a year a chance to apply for as much as $750 in aid.

That's $250 more than what has been on offer until now in emergency heating grants.

Barbara Adams, the seniors and long-term care minister, said the increase came about as a result of feedback from seniors who received the initial $500 aid but said they needed more.

Adams said 27,000 Nova Scotians got $500 they didn't get before, but "there were some Nova Scotians who gave us feedback and said, 'I have to go get an eye exam, I need to go see a physiotherapist and I need to pay for medications.' So we listened to Nova Scotians."

She said it's a sign of the times "that people are struggling more than they were a year ago."

Some seniors shied away from applying for the help because they were worried they would have to pay extra taxes as a result. But Adams said it won't be taxed as long as people use the money for a service.

"If I gave you money to buy a walker, a substance you can hold on to, that's a taxable income," said Adams. "This is non-taxable income for a service.

"You can go get dental care. You can use it for physiotherapy. So this is an extremely good piece of news for all Nova Scotians."

Kelly Regan is the MLA for Bedford Basin. (CBC)

Liberal MLA Kelly Regan said making extra funds available to struggling seniors is welcome news but not enough people qualify.

"The limits are still quite low and it is not broad-based help for Nova Scotians," said Regan.

She pointed to the fact that this year the Quebec government offered $500 in aid to every person in the province earning less than $100,000.

"Obviously we wouldn't recommend $100,000 because that would mean MLAs would get it and we can't have that, but you could do it below $89,000."

MLAs earn just over $89,000 a year as a base salary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter since 1987. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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