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Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations

made under Section 21 of the

Employment Support and Income Assistance Act

S.N.S. 2000, c. 27

O.I.C. 2019-333 (effective January 1, 2020), N.S. Reg. 195/2019


Table of Contents


Please note: this table of contents is provided for convenience of reference and does not form part of the regulations.
Click here to go to the text of the regulations.

 

 

Citation

Definitions

Applications for Assistance

Application form

Consents required

Documentation and information required

Pending documentation

Oath or affirmation to establish proof

Eligibility

Age of applicant

Residency in Province

Persons detained

Spouses separating for convenience

Strike or lockout

Other feasible sources of income or assets

Obligation to commence proceedings

Dependent children

Dependent child in custody under Children and Family Services Act

No eligibility amount

Payment of Assistance

Calculating eligibility amount

Eligibility amount modified by supervisor

Total assistance payable

Circumstances that may result in change in amount of assistance

Money payments of assistance

Assistance paid to trustee

Assets

All applicable assets considered in determining eligibility

Not applicable assets

Asset limits

Disposing of assets

Joint assets

Conversion or sale of assets

Repayment agreements

Trust funds

Income

Chargeable income

Earned income exemption rates

Training allowances

Not chargeable income

Harvest connection program wages

Wages of dependent child attending approved education program

Default in spousal support payments assigned to Minister

Compensation Payments

Compensation payments and money generated from payments

Employment

Assistance reduced

Legitimate barrier to employment

Employability assessment

Employment plan

Participating in employment plan

Refusing to accept employment

Quitting or fired from job

Required medical examination

Basic Needs

Standard household rate—board, rent or own

Standard household rate—enhanced

Standard household rate—essentials

Dependent child allowance

Barrier-free access allowance

Child Benefit Adjustment

Child Benefit adjustment

Special Needs

Special needs defined

Special needs payable for dependent child

Request for assistance for item of special need

Assistance for special needs

Amount of special needs assistance determined

Supervisor may approve higher amount for special need

Assistance for special need essential for health

Special needs for recipients before August 8, 2011

Pharmacare assistance

Extended pharmacare for recipients as of December 14, 2014

Transitional pharmacare recipients

Post-Secondary Education Programs

Assistance while attending post-secondary education program

Overpayments and Underpayments

Recovery of overpayments

Pharmacare assistance included in calculation of overpayment

Payment of underpayments

Transitional

Child support owed before August 1, 2018

Recipients under Family Benefits Act as of July 31, 2001


 

Citation

1        These regulations may be cited as the Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations.


Definitions

2        In these regulations,

 

“Act” means the Employment Support and Income Assistance Act;

 

“allowed”, in relation to an amount of assistance, means that the amount of assistance must be included in the calculation of the amount of total assistance payable in accordance with Section 20;

 

“applicant” means a person who applies for assistance and their spouse;

 

“application” means an application for assistance under Section 3;

 

“approved educational program” means

 

                              (i)      a high school, adult day school, upgrading or literacy program, or

 

                              (ii)     technical or professional training of up to 2 years;

 

“applicable assets” means any of the following, as determined under Sections 24 and 25:

 

                              (i)      equity in any real or personal property,

 

                              (ii)     liquid assets;

 

“board” with respect to an applicant or recipient means that they live with the owner or sole lessee of a home, with their own bedroom and sharing access to a bathroom, kitchen, entrance or other areas of the home;

 

“caseworker” means a person employed with the Department who is responsible for reviewing applications for assistance, determining eligibility for assistance and making decisions about granting assistance to applicants, recipients and dependents;

 

“chargeable income” of an applicant or recipient means income that must be included in calculating the eligibility amount of the applicant or recipient;

 

“cohabit” means to live together with another person as a spouse;

 

“common-law partner” means a person who is living with another person in a relationship of interdependence functioning as an economic and domestic unit, and at least 1 of the following applies:

 

                              (i)      they have lived together for at least 12 continuous months,

 

                              (ii)     they are parents of a child or children by birth or adoption or share legal custody of a child or children,

 

                              (iii)    they lived together previously in a relationship of interdependence functioning as an economic and domestic unit for at least 12 continuous months, including any period of time the 2 persons were separated for less than 90 days, and have resumed living together in such a relationship;

 

“Department” means the department of Community Services;

 

“dependent child” means a person residing in the Province who is dependent for support upon an applicant or a recipient and is

 

                              (i)      under 19 years old, or

 

                              (ii)     over 19 years old and younger than 21 years old and is attending an approved educational program not designated for student loan purposes;

 

“Director” means the Department’s Director of Income Assistance;

 

“earned income” means the income generated from employment activities, including all of the following:

 

                              (i)      net wages from an employer,

 

                              (ii)     tips,

 

                              (iii)    gratuities,

 

                              (iv)    net commissions,

 

                              (v)     net business income;

 

“eligibility amount” means the amount used to determine eligibility for assistance in accordance with the definition of “person of need” in the Act;

 

“employability assessment” means an assessment to determine whether a recipient is employable at the time of the assessment and, if not employable at the time of the assessment, includes an assessment of the measures or activities that can reasonably be undertaken by the recipient to enable the recipient to become employable;

 

“employment plan” means a plan developed in conjunction with an employability assessment that establishes a recipient’s goals for all of the following:

 

                              (i)      participating in employment services,

 

                              (ii)     participating in an approved educational program,

 

                              (iii)    employment;

 

“expense” means an expense of an applicant or recipient that is included in calculating the assistance payable to the applicant or recipient under these regulations, and includes an expense of any dependent child;

 

“former regulations” means the Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations, N.S. Reg. 25/2001;

 

“full-time”, with respect to employment, means paid employment for 30 hours or more per week;

 

“home” of an applicant or recipient means the primary residence of the applicant or recipient and includes a mobile home;

 

“government income payment” means a payment made to a person by the government of Canada or of Nova Scotia in respect of loss or presumed loss of income for any of the following reasons:

 

                              (i)      unemployment,

 

                              (ii)     loss of the principal family provider,

 

                              (iii)    illness,

 

                              (iv)    disability,

 

                              (v)     age;

 

“liquid asset” means any asset readily convertible into cash, including any of the following:

 

                              (i)      cash on hand,

 

                              (ii)     bank accounts,

 

                              (iii)    stocks,

 

                              (iv)    bonds,

 

                              (v)     non-locked-in retirement savings plans,

                              (vi)    other securities;

 

“mobile home” means a trailer that meets all of the following criteria, but does not include a travel trailer or tent trailer:

 

                              (i)      it is intended to be equipped with wheels, whether or not it is equipped with wheels,

 

                              (ii)     it is constructed or manufactured to provide a residence for 1 or more persons;

 

“mortgage payment” means the actual amount paid per month, less any payment of taxes included in the payment, for a mortgage obtained to purchase or make necessary repairs or renovations to a home;

 

“MSI” means the M.S.I. plan as defined in and administered under the Health Services and Insurance Act;

 

“net business income” means any profit earned from self-employment, including profit earned from a registered or non-registered business;

 

“Nova Scotia Formulary” means the Department of Health and Wellness’s formulary, available on its website, detailing which drugs and supplies are benefits under the Province’s pharmacare programs, including the Seniors’ Pharmacare Program, Family Pharmacare Program, Diabetes Assistance Program, Drug Assistance for Cancer Patients Program and the Department of Community Services Pharmacare Benefits Program;

 

“Nova Scotia health card number” means a unique identification number assigned by the Minister of Health and Wellness to individuals insured under the Health Services and Insurance Act;

 

“part-time”, with respect to employment, means paid employment of less than 30 hours per week;

 

“post-secondary education program” means a program of an institution that is a designated educational institution under the Canada Financial Assistance Act (Canada);

 

“recipient” means a person who is receiving assistance, or eligible to receive assistance, and their spouse;

 

“rent” with respect to an applicant or recipient means that they

 

                              (i)      are a signatory to a lease agreement and live in a self-contained unit with a separate entrance and a private bathroom, kitchen and living area, or

 

                              (ii)     live in a room in a municipally approved or licensed rooming, boarding or lodging house;

“special needs” means special needs as defined in Section 54;

 

“spouse” means, with respect to any individual, an individual who is cohabiting with that individual in a conjugal relationship as married spouse, registered domestic partner or common-law partner;

 

“standard household rate” means the amount a recipient is entitled to receive to cover basic needs based on their household composition and accommodation type, as set out in Sections 48 to 50;

 

“student family member” means a person who resides with an applicant or recipient who is their parent or legal guardian, and who meets all of the following criteria:

 

                              (i)      they are at least 19 years old and younger than 24 years old,

 

                              (ii)     they have been out of high school for less than 4 years,

 

                              (iii)    they are attending a post-secondary education program full-time,

 

                              (iv)    they have not had 2 periods of 12 consecutive months when they were not a full-time student;

 

“supervisor” means a person employed with the Department who is responsible for overseeing the work and decisions of a caseworker;

 

“taxes” means any tax imposed by or under an enactment in respect of real or personal property;

 

“unearned income” includes all of the following:

 

                              (i)      government income payments,

 

                              (ii)     workers’ compensation,

 

                              (iii)    regular periodic insurance payments,

 

                              (iv)    income from mortgages,

 

                              (v)     spousal support payments,

 

                              (vi)    superannuation,

 

                              (vii)   income from investments such as stock and bonds.


Applications for Assistance


Application form

3        (1)    To be assessed to determine whether they are eligible to receive assistance, an applicant must submit an application for assistance in the form and manner prescribed by the Minister, together with all of the applicable information and documentation required by Section 5.

 

          (2)    An application for assistance and all required forms must be signed by the applicant.

 

          (3)    An application is not considered complete until all required forms, agreements and consents have been completed, signed and have been provided to a caseworker.

 

          (4)    If an application is incomplete, the applicant is not eligible to receive assistance.


Consents required

4        (1)    An application for assistance must include a consent to disclose and verify information signed by the applicant.

 

          (2)    An applicant may be required to sign a consent in a form requested by a person or body from whom information required by Section 5 is to be collected.

 

          (3)    A dependent child of an applicant or a student family member of an applicant may be required to provide a signed consent at the time of application if requested by a caseworker to do so.

 

          (4)    An applicant, recipient, dependent child or student family member may be required to sign an updated consent if requested to do so by a caseworker.

 

          (5)    Consents obtained under this Section authorize a caseworker to disclose, verify, collect and obtain the information and documentation required by Section 5.


Documentation and information required

5        (1)    An applicant or recipient must provide any information a caseworker requires about the following with respect to the applicant, recipient and any dependent child:

 

                   (a)      living arrangements;

 

                   (b)     employment history;

 

                   (c)      health;

 

                   (d)     financial circumstances.

 

          (2)    An applicant or recipient must immediately notify a caseworker of any change that affects the information provided under subsection (1) and the notice must be in writing if requested by the caseworker.

 

          (3)    To determine the eligibility of an applicant or the ongoing eligibility of a recipient to receive assistance, the applicant or recipient must provide all of the following to a caseworker at the time of application or as requested at any time while receiving assistance:

 

                   (a)      if applicable, proof of all of the following:

 

                              (i)      age,

 

                              (ii)     death,

 

                              (iii)    marital status,

 

                              (iv)    cohabitation,

 

                              (v)     medical or health condition,

 

                              (vi)    hospitalization,

 

                              (vii)   parentage,

 

                              (viii)  citizenship,

 

                              (ix)    residency,

 

                              (x)     income,

 

                              (xi)    assets,

 

                              (xii)   expenses,

 

                              (xiii)  for a student family member, their residency and enrolment in post-secondary education;

 

                   (b)     the social insurance number of the applicant or recipient and any dependent child;

 

                   (c)      the Nova Scotia health card number of the applicant or recipient and any dependent child;

 

                   (d)     the income tax assessment form of the applicant or recipient.

 

          (4)    For the purpose of subclause (3)(a)(iv), proof of cohabitation may be established by any relevant evidence and is deemed to occur if individuals represent themselves to others as being each other’s spouse.

 

          (5)    If an applicant or recipient refuses to provide the information or documentation specified in this Section, they must be refused assistance or assistance must be discontinued.


Pending documentation

6        (1)    If requiring an applicant or a recipient to provide information or documentation in a timely manner would, in the opinion of a caseworker, create undue hardship for the applicant or recipient, assistance may be provided pending receipt of the information or documentation.

 

          (2)    An applicant or recipient provided assistance pending receipt of information or documentation under subsection (1) must provide the information or documentation at the earliest opportunity.


Oath or affirmation to establish proof

7        An applicant or recipient may be required to provide evidence under oath or by affirmation to establish the proof of any fact relating to the applicant’s or recipient’s eligibility for assistance.


Eligibility


Age of applicant

8        (1)    Except provided in subsection (3), an applicant must be 19 years old or older in order to be eligible to receive assistance.

 

          (2)    An applicant who is under 19 years old and living with a parent is not eligible to receive assistance in their own right or on behalf of their dependent child.

 

          (3)    A caseworker may permit an applicant who at least 16 years old and younger than 19 years old to apply for assistance in their own name if, in the opinion of the caseworker, the applicant is exposed to an unsafe home environment, there is an unresolved conflict in the home or the applicant is unable to remain at or return home because of a parental decision, and the applicant is willing to do all of the following:

 

                   (a)      attend an educational program not designated for student loan purposes;

 

                   (b)     participate in an employment plan;

 

                   (c)      access counselling or mediation services that a caseworker has identified as necessary for them;

 

                   (d)     access medical services necessary to preserve their physical health;

 

                   (e)      except as provided in subsection (4), live in a setting that provides a degree of supervision, accountability and guidance in accordance with their age and needs.

 

          (4)    Clause (3)(e) does not apply if a caseworker is satisfied that the applicant has the necessary life skills and maturity to live alone.


Residency in Province

9        An applicant or recipient must be a resident of the Province and be present in the Province to apply for and receive assistance, other than a recipient who is temporarily absent from the Province for more than 30 consecutive days with approval from the Director.


Persons detained

10      An applicant or recipient is not eligible to receive assistance if they have been confined to any of the following institutions for more than 30 consecutive days:

 

                   (a)      a prison, as defined by subsection 2(1) of the Prisons and Reformatories Act (Canada);

 

                   (b)     a penitentiary, as defined by subsection 2(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Canada);

 

                   (c)      a correctional facility, as defined by clause 2(g) of the Correctional Services Act;

 

                   (d)     the East Coast Forensic Hospital, under section 672 of the Criminal Code (Canada) and subject to a warrant of committal.


Spouses separating for convenience

11      An applicant or recipient who separates from their spouse for the purpose of enabling them to qualify for assistance is not eligible to receive assistance.


Strike or lockout

12      An applicant or recipient who is engaged in a strike or locked out by their employer is not eligible to receive assistance.


Other feasible sources of income or assets

13      An applicant or recipient is not eligible to receive assistance if they have another feasible source of income or applicable assets available that are sufficient to provide them with basic needs, special needs or any employment services that are applied for or allowed.


Obligation to commence proceedings

14      (1)    Except as provided in subsection (3), to be eligible to receive assistance or continue receiving assistance, an applicant or recipient must do all of the following in respect of any other person’s duty or obligation to support or maintain the applicant or recipient:

 

                   (a)      commence any action or other proceeding;

 

                   (b)     enforce any order of the court.

 

          (2)    If an applicant or recipient is unable to comply with subsection (1) because they failed to obtain the necessary information, a caseworker may refuse assistance for any period of time the caseworker considers appropriate in the circumstances.

 

          (3)    Subsection (1) does not apply if a caseworker considers that compliance would

 

                   (a)      adversely affect a family situation; or

 

                   (b)     be futile or unreasonable.


Dependent children

15      (1)    Assistance is not provided on behalf of a dependent child after they turn 21 years old.

 

          (2)    A caseworker must discontinue assistance provided on behalf of a dependent child who

 

                   (a)      is attending a post-secondary education program, effective the last day of the month in which the dependent child turns 19 years old; or

 

                   (b)     ceases to be a dependent child, effective the last day of the month in which the child ceases to be a dependent child.


Dependent child in custody under Children and Family Services Act

16      (1)    If a dependent child of a recipient has been taken into the care of a child welfare agency or is in an alternative family care arrangement under the Children and Family Services Act, the recipient is entitled to continue to receive assistance as if the dependent child were still in their care and custody if the relevant child welfare agency advises a caseworker of either of the following:

 

                   (a)      the recipient is participating in a program or plan of action for the purpose of facilitating the return of the dependent child to the recipient;

 

                   (b)     there is a valid reason why the recipient cannot participate in a program or plan of action for the purpose of facilitating the return of the dependent child to the recipient.

 

          (2)    Assistance provided in accordance with subsection (1) must not continue for longer than 2 years.


No eligibility amount

17      If an applicant’s or recipient’s eligibility amount is calculated to be zero or less, they are not eligible to receive assistance.


Payment of Assistance


Calculating eligibility amount

18      (1)    In calculating the eligibility amount of an applicant or recipient, a caseworker must consider all of the following for the applicant, recipient and any dependent child:

 

                   (a)      household composition;

 

                   (b)     accommodation type;

 

                   (c)      chargeable income;

 

                   (d)     assets;

 

                   (e)      special needs expenses.

 

          (2)    A dependent child is included in the calculation of the eligibility amount if an applicant or recipient

 

                   (a)      has primary care of the dependent child; or

 

                   (b)     shares physical custody of the dependent child and is responsible for the child at least 40% of the time.


Eligibility amount modified by supervisor

19      The provisions regarding the calculation of the eligibility amount do not apply to an applicant or recipient if a supervisor considers it necessary to

 

                   (a)      protect the health and safety of the applicant, recipient or dependent child; or

 

                   (b)     preserve the dwelling of the applicant or recipient.


Total assistance payable

20      The amount of assistance that a recipient is entitled to under these regulations is the amount calculated as the difference between the assistance allowed under these regulations and their chargeable income and assets as calculated under these regulations, subject to any overpayment recovery amount.


Circumstances that may result in change in amount of assistance

21      (1)    If assistance has been improperly provided to a recipient because of fraud, misrepresentation, non-disclosure of facts or other cause, a caseworker must reduce, discontinue or suspend assistance to the recipient.

 

          (2)    If there is a change in the circumstances of a recipient or their dependent child that affects their eligibility for assistance, a caseworker must increase, reduce, discontinue or suspend assistance to the recipient.


Money payments of assistance

22      Payments of assistance in the form of money must be made by cheque or electronic bank transfer in favour of the person named in the requisition for the payment.


Assistance paid to trustee

23      A person to whom assistance is paid in trust for the benefit of an applicant or recipient under Section 10 of the Act must provide a caseworker with any information the caseworker requires about the administration of the trust money.


Assets


All applicable assets considered in determining eligibility

24      In determining an applicant’s or a recipient’s eligibility to receive assistance, a caseworker must consider all applicable assets of the applicant, recipient and any dependent child.


Not applicable assets

25      None of the following is an applicable asset:

 

                   (a)      the home of an applicant or recipient, if the property is located in the Province and is assessed at less than twice the average assessed value of single-family dwellings in the municipality where it is located;

 

                   (b)     a cash surrender value of under $500 of a life insurance policy;

 

                   (c)      a motor vehicle used for basic transportation including transportation related to employment search requirements, training or health and safety requirements;

 

                   (d)     tools or equipment directly related to a trade or profession;

 

                   (e)      a registered education savings plan established for the education of a child and intended for use by that child in relation to education expenses;

 

                   (f)      a registered disability savings plan;

 

                   (g)     any portion of a registered retirement savings plan that is

 

                              (i)      part of an employment pension program at the place of employment where the applicant or recipient is employed, temporarily laid off or on sick leave, or

 

                              (ii)     part or all of a locked-in retirement account as defined by the Pension Benefits Regulations made under the Pension Benefits Act;

 

                   (h)     prepaid funeral arrangements up to a maximum value of $5000;

 

                   (i)      funds saved from participating in a savings program that is designed to promote self-sufficiently [sufficiency] and is approved by the Minister.


Asset limits

26      (1)    An applicant or recipient whose assets exceed the limits set out in the following table is not eligible to receive assistance:


Household composition

Asset limit

1 person

$2000

more than 1 person

$4000

 

          (2)    An applicant or recipient who is refused assistance as a result of the asset limit in subsection (1) may be required to wait at least 1 month and not longer than 1 year from the date of refusal before reapplying for assistance.


Disposing of assets

27      (1)    An applicant is not eligible to receive assistance if they dissipate, spend or deal with assets during the 12 months immediately before the date of their application if a supervisor determines that this was done in an unreasonable manner.

 

          (2)    Despite subsection (1), an applicant or recipient must not be prejudiced if assets have been spent for any of the following purposes and they provide proof to the satisfaction of the supervisor that assets were spent for that purpose:

 

                   (a)      personal and family shelter including the purchase of a home or the mortgage payment or debts and purchases as approved by a supervisor;

 

                   (b)     basic needs;

 

                   (c)      necessary repairs of the home of the applicant or recipient;

 

                   (d)     replacement of necessary household items.


Joint assets

28      If an applicant or a recipient is a joint owner of an asset, the joint asset is not an applicable asset, but a caseworker may require the applicant or recipient to convert the joint asset into cash within a specified time.


Conversion or sale of assets

29      (1)    A caseworker may require an applicant or a recipient to sell real property within a specified time.

 

          (2)    If it is not feasible to sell real property under subsection (1), a caseworker may require the applicant or recipient to rent the property or to render it income-producing within a specified time.


Repayment agreements

30      An applicant or recipient may be required to enter into a repayment agreement in respect of any assistance granted pending the completion of any action required by a caseworker under Section 28 or 29.


Trust funds

31      (1)    If a sum is set aside in trust for an applicant, recipient or dependent child by a court or a person other than an applicant or recipient, the applicant or recipient is not eligible to receive assistance if it is feasible for the applicant or recipient to obtain support for themselves or their dependent child from the amount set aside.

 

          (2)    A recipient or a person on whose behalf assistance is paid who uses a trust fund as collateral for securing a loan is not eligible to receive assistance.


Income


Chargeable income

32      (1)    An applicant’s or recipient’s chargeable income includes monthly income, in the amounts specified, from all of the following sources:

 

                   (a)      100% of unearned income;

 

                   (b)     100% of income from an estate or trust;

 

                   (c)      if the amount set aside in trust would have otherwise been chargeable income, 100% of the amount set aside in trust by a court at the request of an applicant or recipient or with the consent of an applicant or recipient;

 

                   (d)     100% of earned income, except as determined by the exemptions and chargeable rates set out in Section 33;

 

                   (e)      except as provided in subsection (2), if boarders are living with the applicant or recipient, the greater of

 

                              (i)      25% of the gross amount received per month, and

 

                              (ii)     $50 per month;

 

                   (f)      if roomers are living with the applicant or recipient, the greater of

 

                              (i)      70% of the gross amount received, and

 

                              (ii)     $50 per month;

 

                   (g)     if the applicant or recipient receives rent from properties, 70% of the gross amount received.

 

          (2)    Income referred to in clause (1)(e) is not chargeable income if all of the following apply:

 

                   (a)      the person boarding is a child of the applicant or recipient;

 

                   (b)     in a supervisor’s opinion, including the income as chargeable income would create undue hardship on the child or the child’s family.

 

          (3)    Chargeable income is deemed to include 100% of unearned income received by [a] dependent child, or by an applicant or recipient on behalf of a dependent child.


Earned income exemption rates

33      (1)    Except as otherwise provided in this Section, earned income for a recipient is exempted in accordance with the following table and the remainder is chargeable income:


Amount of Earned Income

Exemption Rate

Chargeable Rate

the first $250 earned

100%

0%

the next $250 earned: from $250.01 to $500

75%

25%

the next $250 earned: from $500.01 to $750

50%

50%

the next amount earned: over $750

25%

75%

 

          (2)    For a recipient who is employed but whose physical, mental or cognitive abilities prevent them from working on their own without continuous support, earned income is exempted in accordance with the following table and the remainder is chargeable income:


Amount of Earned Income

Exemption Rate

Chargeable Rate

the first $350 earned

100%

0%

the next $150 earned: from $350.01 to $500

75%

25%

the next $250 earned: from $500.01 to $750

50%

50%

the next amount earned: over $750

25%

75%

 

          (3)    If a person who is at least 16 years old and younger than 21 years old attends an approved educational program

 

                   (a)      at the time the amount of assistance to be paid is being determined, income from part-time employment is not chargeable income; and

 

                   (b)     income from full-time employment is not chargeable income for up to 3 calendar months per year.

 

          (4)    If operating a business is part of a recipient’s employment plan, a caseworker may determine that the net business income generated from the business is not chargeable income for up to the first 18 months the business is in operation.


Training allowances

34      (1)    A training allowance received by an applicant is chargeable income.

 

          (2)    A training allowance received by a recipient is chargeable income, except that the first $150 of the allowance is exempt.


Not chargeable income

35      Income from any of the following sources is not chargeable income:

 

                   (a)      a Canada child benefit or any previous child tax benefit paid under the Income Tax Act (Canada), including all of the following:

 

                              (i)      a national child benefit supplement,

 

                              (ii)     payments made by the Province as a Nova Scotia child benefit under the Income Tax Act,

 

                              (iii)    a child disability benefit;

 

                   (b)     child support payments, except as provided in Section 68 for child support payments owed before August 1, 2018;

 

                   (c)      any payments made under the Children Family Services Act, including all of the following:

 

                              (i)      payments made in support of a foster child,

 

                              (ii)     payments made to a young person receiving assistance in accordance with subsection 8(3),

 

                              (iii)    adoption subsidy payments;

 

                   (d)     any payments made under the alternative family care program administered by the Department;

 

                   (e)      the goods and services tax credit paid under the Income Tax Act (Canada);

 

                   (f)      any payment received under the Canada workers benefit under the Income Tax Act (Canada) or under the former working income tax benefit under the Income Tax Act (Canada);

 

                   (g)     the poverty reduction credit paid by the Department;

 

                   (h)     the affordable living tax credit paid under the Income Tax Act;

 

                   (i)      income tax refunds;

 

                   (j)      any payments made under the provincial low-income fuel assistance program and the federal relief for heating expenses program;

 

                   (k)     a caregiver’s benefit under the Department of Health and Wellness’s caregiver benefit program;

 

                   (l)      honorariums provided for serving on a provincial agency, board or commission;

 

                   (m)    bursaries, scholarships and stipends received for the purpose of assisting with the costs of attending an approved educational program or recipients to whom Section 65 applies;

 

                   (n)     any money withdrawn from a registered disability savings plan;

 

                   (o)     any money withdrawn from a registered educational savings plan to be used by the child for education expenses;

 

                   (p)     harvest connection program wages, in accordance with Section 36;

 

                   (q)     wages of a dependent child, in accordance with Section 37.


Harvest connection program wages

36      Up to $3000 per fiscal year of a recipient or recipient’s spouse combined wages from participating in the Department’s harvest connection program that are earned from any or all of the following is not chargeable income:

 

                   (a)      seasonal harvesting of field-produced horticulture;

 

                   (b)     harvesting Christmas trees;

 

                   (c)      producing Christmas wreaths.


Wages of dependent child attending approved education program

37      A dependent child’s wages are not chargeable income if the dependent child is attending an approved educational program not designated for student loan purposes.


Default in spousal support payments assigned to Minister

38      If there is a default in spousal support payments to a recipient and the recipient has assigned their spousal support payments to the Minister, the recipient’s assistance must be recalculated without the assigned spousal payment included as chargeable income.


Compensation Payments


Compensation payments and money generated from payments

39      (1)    None of the following compensation payments received by an applicant or recipient are considered as chargeable income or assets for the purpose of determining eligibility for assistance, but any money generated from the payments is chargeable income for the month in which it is received:

 

                   (a)      a payment other than a payment for loss of income or loss of support under any of the following:

 

                              (i)      the 1986-1990 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement,

 

                              (ii)     the Pre 1986- Post 1990 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement,

 

                              (iii)    the federal, provincial and territorial assistance program for HIV secondarily infected persons;

 

                   (b)     a payment as a merchant navy veteran, as defined in the War Veteran’s Allowances Act (Canada), or as a surviving spouse of a merchant navy veteran for post-war benefits;

 

                   (c)      a payment under a Memorandum of Understanding regarding compensation for survivors of institutional abuse;

 

                   (d)     a payment under a victims’ compensation program of the federal or a provincial government;

 

                   (e)      a payment under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement;

 

                   (f)      a payment under a court order or under a victims’ compensation program to a victim of abuse by a church organization;

 

                   (g)     a payment under the federal government’s memorial grant program for first responders.

 

          (2)    The Minister may declare as not being chargeable income or an asset for the purpose of determining an applicant’s or recipient’s eligibility for assistance, any monthly or lump sum payment or portion of the payment received from a provincial government or the federal government to victims or survivors of abuse to redress or compensate an injury or harm in respect to a government program, and the Minister may determine whether any money generated from the payments is chargeable income for the month in which it is received.


Employment


Assistance reduced

40      (1)    Except as permitted by Section 41, if an applicant or recipient does not comply with Sections 42 to 47, the amount of assistance allowed for basic needs is reduced by 20%.

 

          (2)    A reduction in assistance under subsection (1) lasts for the following applicable time period:

 

                   (a)      at least 1 month, if the applicant or recipient takes reasonable steps to remedy the non-compliance;

 

                   (b)     indefinitely, if the applicant or recipient does not take reasonable steps to remedy the non-compliance.

 

          (3)    For a household size of more than 1 person, a reduction in assistance under subsection (l) is attributed to the person who failed to comply.


Legitimate barrier to employment

41      Sections 42 to 47 do not apply to an applicant or recipient who a caseworker determines has a legitimate barrier to employment.


Employability assessment

42      A recipient must participate in an employability assessment.


Employment plan

43      (1)    A recipient must develop an employment plan that takes into account

 

                   (a)      all of the following for the recipient:

 

                              (i)      skills,

 

                              (ii)     education,

 

                              (iii)    work experience,

 

                              (iv)    volunteer activities,

 

                              (v)     resources in the community,

 

                              (vi)    availability of transportation,

 

                              (vii)   child care needs,

 

                              (viii)  personal support; and

 

                   (b)     any additional factors that a caseworker determines are relevant to enabling the recipient to participate in employment.

 

          (2)    An employment plan must not include a plan to participate in an educational program that is not an approved educational program.


Participating in employment plan

44      A recipient is required to actively participate in their employment plan and engage in services that are part of their approved plan.


Refusing to accept employment

45      An applicant or recipient must not unreasonably refuse to accept employment, if suitable employment is available.


Quitting or fired from job

46      An applicant or recipient must not do any of the following:

 

                   (a)      quit a job without just cause;

 

                   (b)     quit a job for the purpose of qualifying for assistance; or

 

                   (c)      be fired from a job for just cause.


Required medical examination

47      A caseworker may require a recipient to undergo a medical examination if the caseworker considers the examination necessary and relevant to obtain additional information for any of the following:

 

                   (a)      to complete the recipient’s employability assessment;

 

                   (b)     to determine whether an employment plan is appropriate for the recipient.


Basic Needs


Standard household rate—board, rent or own

48      (1)    A recipient who is boarding, renting or owns their accommodation must be allowed an amount of assistance at the standard household rate in accordance with the following table:


Household Composition

Standard Household Rate

Recipients

Dependent Child or Student Family Member

Rent or Own

Board

1

0

$586

$508

1

1

$862

$527

1

2 or more

$913

$568

2

0

$1142

$808

2

1 or more

$1193

$849

 

          (2)    A student family member is included in a recipient’s household composition for the purpose of selecting the applicable standard household rate in subsection (1).


Standard household rate—enhanced

49      A single recipient who is renting or owns their accommodation must be allowed an amount of assistance at the enhanced standard household rate of $850 if they meet any of the following criteria:

 

                   (a)      they have a disability;

 

                   (b)     they have a chronic mental, cognitive or physical condition that limits participation in employment services;

 

                   (c)      they are fleeing an abusive situation;

 

                   (d)     they are 55 years old or older;

 

                   (e)      they are a young person receiving assistance in accordance with subsection 8(3) and otherwise meet the requirements of the Act and these regulations.


Standard household rate—essentials

50      A recipient who is not boarding or renting or who does not own their accommodation must be allowed an amount of assistance at the essentials standard household rate in accordance with the following table:


Recipients

Standard Household Rate—Essentials

1

$280

2

$560


Dependent child allowance

51      A recipient who has a dependent child in the household who is 18 years old or older must be allowed an amount of assistance of $280 per month for the dependent child.


Barrier-free access allowance

52      (1)    A recipient or dependent child who a caseworker determines is terminally ill or has special needs with respect to barrier-free access to, from or within their home, must be allowed an amount of assistance of $200 per month for barrier-free access.

 

          (2)    If the amount provided under subsection (1) is insufficient to adequately maintain or secure barrier-free access to, from or within a home, and no other economical options are available, a supervisor may approve that an additional amount of assistance be allowed, calculated as the recipient’s actual shelter expenses minus the applicable amount set out in the following table:


Household Composition

Amount

1

$735

2

$770

3 or more

$820


Child Benefit Adjustment


Child Benefit adjustment

53      (1)    A recipient who is not receiving a Nova Scotia child benefit or a Canada child benefit on behalf of a dependent child under 18 years old must be allowed an amount of assistance of $133 per month on behalf of the dependent child.

 

          (2)    A recipient who is receiving a combined amount of less than $133 a month for the Nova Scotia child benefit and Canada child benefit on behalf of a dependent child under 18 years old must be allowed assistance in an amount that is the difference between $133 a month and the combined amount of the 2 benefits.


Special Needs


Special needs defined

54      (1)    In the Act and these regulations,

 

“special needs” means needs for any of the items or services specified in Section 57, but does not include a need for an item or service listed in subsection (2).

 

          (2)    Except as provided in Section 61 for recipients before August 8, 2011, the following items and services are not included in the definition of “special needs”:

 

                   (a)      an item or service that is insured under a Provincial insured health services program or is otherwise funded by government;

 

                   (b)     an item or service for medical purposes for which an alternative exists under MSI;

 

                   (c)      prescription medications, drugs and substances that are not listed as benefits under the pharmacare programs in the Nova Scotia Formulary;

 

                   (d)     medical treatments and substances that are not covered as an insured service under MSI, including any equipment, supplies, materials or services used in producing or administering the treatments or substances;

 

                   (e)      an item that is otherwise provided for in Sections 48 to 51.


Special needs payable for dependent child

55      If a dependent child resides with more than 1 applicant or recipient, any amounts of assistance allowed for special needs related to the dependent child are allowed for only 1 of them.


Request for assistance for item of special need

56      (1)    An applicant or recipient may request assistance for an item of special need, and the applicant or recipient must provide all of the following applicable information to a caseworker to support the request:

 

                   (a)      an explanation as to why the special need is required;

 

                   (b)     a description of the special need;

 

                   (c)      any documentation from professionals supporting the special need;

 

                   (d)     the monthly or total cost of the special need;

 

                   (e)      the resources or alternatives that have been investigated with respect to obtaining the special need from other sources;

 

                   (f)      if the cost of the special need exceeds $200, estimates for the cost of the special need from 2 separate providers;

 

                   (g)     if the special need has already been acquired, an invoice or receipt for the special need.

 

          (2)    A request under subsection (1) may be made either before or after the purchase of the item of special need.

 

          (3)    If a request under subsection (1) is for an item of special need that pertains to the health or medical requirements of an applicant, recipient or dependent child, a caseworker may request advice from a person qualified to provide advice on the appropriateness, necessity and effectiveness of the item of special need requested and the caseworker must take this advice into consideration in determining whether to grant the request.


Assistance for special needs

57      A recipient who has any of the following special needs must be allowed an amount of assistance for the special need:

 

                   (a)      the items or services set out in the following table, in the amount specified in the table:


Special Need

Amount

dental care

as set out in the ESIA Dental Fee Guide approved by the Director

optical care

$90 for single vision glasses

$120 for bifocal glasses

pharmacare coverage

as set out in the NS Formulary

special diet

up to $150, according to the type of diet required

transportation

up to $150 if costs are required for

employment

implementing an employment plan

preserving health or safety

child care

up to $400 if costs are required for

employment

implementing an employment plan

preserving health or safety

funeral arrangement costs

up to $1100 for

opening and closing of grave

grave lot

clothing

transportation

up to $2700 for

funeral costs for professional services

cremation urn or casket

maternal nutritional supplement

$51

school supplies supplement

$50 for dependent children who are at least 5 years old and younger than 13 years old

$100 for dependent children who are at least 13 years old and younger than 21 years old

 

                   (b)     an item or service prescribed in policy by the Director, including those required for participating in an employment plan;

 

                   (c)      an item or service that is determined, despite clauses (2)(b) and (d), to be a special need essential for health in accordance with Section 60.


Amount of special needs assistance determined

58      (1)    Except as provided in Section 59, the lesser of the following amounts must be allowed for a special need for a recipient or dependent child:

 

                   (a)      actual cost of the special need;

 

                   (b)     the amount set out in Section 57 for the special need.

 

          (2)    In determining the amount of assistance allowed for a special need for a recipient, the most economical option for financing the special need must be the option approved.


Supervisor may approve higher amount for special need

59      (1)    If a supervisor considers that there is documentation to support that the amount set out in Section 57 for an item of special need is insufficient to pay for the special need because of the distinctive need of a recipient or dependent child, the higher amount documented may be allowed.

 

          (2)    Despite the amounts of assistance allowed for special needs in these regulations, in urgent circumstances pertaining to the health or safety of a recipient or dependent child, a supervisor may approve payment of the total cost of a special need to the recipient if the eligibility amount calculated for them is less than the total cost of the special need.


Assistance for special need essential for health

60      (1)    An applicant or recipient may submit a request for assistance, on the form approved by the Director, for an item or service that is excluded from the definition of “special needs” by clause 54(2)(b) or (d) if the item or service meets all of the following:

 

                   (a)      it is prescribed as essential for the health of the applicant, recipient or their dependent child by 1 of the following health practitioners acting within the scope of their practice and licensed to practise their profession in the Province:

 

                              (i)      physician,

 

                              (ii)     dentist,

 

                              (iii)    nurse practitioner;

 

                   (b)     it is provided by a medical professional licensed or registered to practise in the Province.

 

          (2)    Subsection (1) does not apply to a request for medical marijuana or any equipment, supplies, materials or services used in producing or administering medical marijuana.

 

          (3)    In determining whether an item or service prescribed under clause (1)(a) is a special need under this Section, a caseworker must take all of the following into account:

 

                   (a)      the needs and circumstances of the applicant, recipient or dependent child;

 

                   (b)     evidence of the medical appropriateness, necessity and effectiveness of the requested item or service;

 

                   (c)      the cost of providing assistance for the requested item or service in comparison with other alternatives that would meet the needs of the applicant, recipient or dependent child;

 

                   (d)     the availability of alternative items or services that are insured under a Provincial health services program or are otherwise funded by government;

 

                   (e)      whether providing the assistance requested will fulfill the purposes of the Act.

 

          (4)    A caseworker may request advice from a person qualified to provide advice on the medical appropriateness, necessity and effectiveness of an item or service to be taken into account under clause (3)(b) as essential to health, and the caseworker must take this advice into consideration in determining whether the item or service is a special need under this Section.

 

          (5)    If a caseworker determines that an item or service is a special need under this Section, these regulations apply to it as a special need.

 

          (6)    If a caseworker determines that an item or service is not a special need under this Section, the caseworker must notify the applicant and provide written reasons for the decision.


Special needs for recipients before August 8, 2011

61      A recipient’s continuing eligibility for assistance for an item or service of special need listed in subsection 54(2) must be determined in accordance with the definition of special needs in Section 2 of the former regulations as it existed immediately before August 8, 2011, if all of the following apply:

 

                   (a)      the recipient has been a recipient, without any breaks in eligibility, since at least August 8, 2011;

 

                   (b)     assistance for the item or service was first received before August 8, 2011;

 

                   (c)      there has been no break in eligibility for the item or service since August 8, 2011;

 

                   (d)     the reasons why the special need is required have not changed.


Pharmacare assistance

62      (1)    If pharmacare is not available under a drug plan at a recipient’s place of employment or from some other source, a recipient may be provided with pharmacare assistance for the recipient or their dependent child.

 

          (2)    A recipient receiving pharmacare assistance is entitled to benefits in accordance with the Fair Drug Pricing Act and its regulations, except that the Director may decide that the recipient is required to pay a copayment that is different than the amount prescribed in the Fair Drug Pricing Act and its regulations.


Extended pharmacare for recipients as of December 14, 2014

63      (1)    Assistance under this Section is allowed only for persons who were receiving pharmacare assistance under Section 64 of the former regulations on December 14, 2014.

 

          (2)    A recipient whose pharmacare assistance is discontinued on or after August 1, 2001, because they had no eligibility amount is eligible to continue receiving pharmacare assistance if all of the following conditions are met:

 

                   (a)      the recipient would have had an eligibility amount if the recipient’s average monthly drug costs, as defined in subsection (3), were included;

 

                   (b)     the recipient otherwise meets the requirements of the Act and regulations.

 

          (3)    In subsection (2),

 

“average monthly drug costs” means the average costs of drugs per month, calculated on the basis of the cost of a recipient’s drugs during the 6 months immediately before the date the recipient’s eligibility for pharmacare assistance is determined.


Transitional pharmacare recipients

64      (1)    A recipient whose pharmacare assistance is discontinued on or after August 1, 2001, because they had no eligibility amount as a result of the amount of earned income they received is considered a transitional pharmacare recipient.

 

          (2)    If pharmacare is not available under a drug plan at their place of employment or from some other source, a transitional pharmacare recipient under subsection (1) is eligible to continue to receive pharmacare assistance for 1 year from the date their pharmacare assistance was discontinued.


Post-Secondary Education Programs


Assistance while attending post-secondary education program

65      (1)    A recipient may receive assistance while attending a post-secondary education program that is longer than 2 years, including a university program, if the recipient is approved by 1 of the following:

 

                   (a)      they are approved under the Labour Market Development Agreement to attend the post-secondary education program;

 

                   (b)     they are approved by the Department to participate in the Department’s career seek program.

 

          (2)    A recipient may receive assistance while attending a post-secondary education program that is 2 years or less if 1 of the following applies:

 

                   (a)      they are a participant in a skills development program (currently called the Educate to Work Program) funded under the Canada-Nova Scotia Job Fund Agreement;

 

                   (b)     they meet all of the following conditions:

 

                              (i)      they have had an employability assessment and the assessment identifies that they have the necessary prerequisite skills and can reasonably be expected to become employed in the selected occupational area after completing the post-secondary education program,

 

                              (ii)     they have pursued other feasible sources of income, but the sources are not available or are insufficient,

 

                              (iii)    they have been receiving assistance for at least 6 months immediately before attending the post-secondary education program,

 

                              (iv)    they are available for work when not involved in the post-secondary education program.

 

          (3)    A recipient to whom clause (2)(b) applies is not entitled to receive assistance for tuition, school books or student fees.


Overpayments and Underpayments


Recovery of overpayments

66      (1)    The Minister is entitled to use any legal recourse to recover overpayments from a recipient.

 

          (2)    Except as provided in subsection (3), the maximum amount of overpayments that may be recovered is $45 per month.

 

          (3)    The maximum monthly amount specified in subsection (2) may be increased if the recipient consents to the increase.


Pharmacare assistance included in calculation of overpayment

67      Assistance granted in the form of pharmacare assistance is assistance that is included in the calculation of an overpayment.


Payment of underpayments

68      A recipient who receives less assistance than they are entitled to receive through no fault of the recipient is entitled to receive the unpaid amount, as calculated on the basis of the most recent 6 months that the lesser amount was paid.


Transitional


Child support owed before August 1, 2018

69      (1)    In this Section,

 

“child support payment” means a child support payment owed before August 1, 2018.

 

          (2)    A child support payment received by a recipient is chargeable income in the month that it was owed.

 

          (3)    If an applicant, recipient or other person assigned child support payments to the Minister, any monies paid by the Minister to the applicant, recipient or other person in lieu of the child support payment continue to be recoverable as a debt owed to the Minister.

 

          (4)    If the Minister paid assistance to a recipient in a month that child support was owed and the recipient has not assigned child support payments to the Minister, the Minister is entitled to recover any amount paid by the Minister to the recipient in lieu of the child support payment owed.


Recipients under Family Benefits Act as of July 31, 2001

70      If a recipient was receiving assistance under the Family Benefits Act on July 31, 2001, and there has been no subsequent break in eligibility under the Act and regulations,

 

                   (a)      the recipient is entitled to retain assets in the amount prescribed under the Family Benefits Act and Family Benefits Schedule “B” Regulations as they existed on July 31, 2001, until the recipient reapplies for assistance; and

 

                   (b)     the recipient is entitled to continue to retain the long-term grandparenting amount they received on December 31, 2019, until they are no longer eligible for assistance.


 

 


Legislative History
Reference Tables

Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations

N.S. Reg. 195/2019

Employment Support and Income Assistance Act

Note:  The information in these tables does not form part of the regulations and is compiled by the Office of the Registrar of Regulations for reference only.

Source Law

The current consolidation of the Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations made under the Employment Support and Income Assistance Act includes all of the following regulations:

N.S.
Regulation

In force
date*

How in force

Royal Gazette
Part II Issue

195/2019

Jan 1, 2020

date specified

Dec 20, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following regulations are not yet in force and are not included in the current consolidation:

N.S.
Regulation

In force
date*

How in force

Royal Gazette
Part II Issue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*See subsection 3(6) of the Regulations Act for rules about in force dates of regulations.

Amendments by Provision

ad. = added
am. = amended

fc. = fee change
ra. = reassigned

rep. = repealed
rs. = repealed and substituted

Provision affected

How affected

..........................................................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that changes to headings are not included in the above table.

Editorial Notes and Corrections

 

Note

Effective
date

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repealed and Superseded

N.S.
Regulation

Title

In force
date

Repealed
date

25/2001

Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations

Aug 1, 2001

Jan 1, 2020

 

 

 

 

Note:  Only regulations that are specifically repealed and replaced appear in this table.  It may not reflect the entire history of regulations on this subject matter.