How to Apply for Income Assistance
- How to apply
- What to bring to your first meeting with a caseworker
- Finding out if you will get Income Assistance
- If you are eligible
- If you are not eligible
How to apply
To apply for Income Assistance, call toll-free (within Nova Scotia): 1-877-424-1177. Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm • Evening hours: Tuesday to Thursday 4:30pm to 7:00pm.
You can also visit a Community Services office and call the Intake Program from the office. Office hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Tell the caseworker you speak to that you want to apply for Income Assistance. They will ask you questions about your situation. Have these things with you when you make the call:
- bank statements for your account
- your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- any other information that can help the caseworker understand your situation
What to bring to your first meeting with a caseworker
In this meeting, a caseworker will look at your information and documents to see if you are eligible for Income Assistance. You will be told what to bring to this meeting when you schedule the appointment. This may include:
- your Social Insurance Number (also known as your SIN)
- driver’s licence or photo ID
- bank account statements
- income tax assessment forms
- a copy of your lease
- bills or receipts that show the housing costs you pay, such as heat and electricity
The caseworker will photocopy all the documents you bring and keep the copies in a file. This information is kept confidential. Keep the original documents for your records.
Finding out if you will get Income Assistance
After your caseworker collects all the information they need, it usually takes three to seven days to find out if you are eligible for Income Assistance.
The caseworker will photocopy all the documents you bring and keep the copies in a file. This information is kept confidential. Keep the originals for your records.
Your caseworker will call you or send a letter. You may also call the office. You will be told:
If you are eligible
Monthly assistance usually comes three working days before the end of the month. Check the schedule here. Depending on your situation, you may get money at a different time (for example, if you have an emergency).
You can get Income Assistance in one of two ways:
This is called direct deposit. We recommend direct deposit because it is safe, you get your money on time, and it is confidential. Your caseworker will help you set up direct deposit if you want to use it.
The caseworker will ask where you are looking for work. They will also ask if you have looked for support from programs like Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits, or Worker’s Compensation.
Your cheque may take longer to arrive depending on mail service. We do recommend direct deposit. If you move, make sure to tell your caseworker.
If you are not eligible
If you are not eligible for Income Assistance, you will get a letter from the Department of Community Services. This letter will explain the decision. You can ask the caseworker to explain the reasons for the decision. If you have new information that may change the decision, you can share it with the caseworker.
You can also appeal the decision. Learn more about the process here.