Financial Assistance

There are a number of federal and provincial government programs to assist NL residents when they are unable to work or provide for themselves.

This may be due to job loss, illness or injury, raising a newborn or adopting a child, caring for a seriously ill relative, disability, or other life situations.

Types of Financial Assistance

If you are unable to work or provide for yourself or your family, you can apply to the following programs which may provide financial assistance:

  • Employment Insurance (EI):
    • Regular Benefits
    • Sickness Benefits
    • Maternity or Parental Benefits
    • Compassionate Care Benefits
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefits

You can go to a Service Canada Centre nearest you to get more information on any Employment Insurance Benefits program. You can also speak to an Employment Counsellor at the Association for New Canadians for help in understanding how these benefits work.

Employment Insurance (EI)

To be eligible for any of the Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you are required to have worked a certain number of hours and have paid into the EI fund (you might not have been paying into the fund if you are a freelance consultant, contract worker, self-employed etc.).

Employment Insurance Regular Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits are available to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and who are available for and able to work, but can not find a job. The EI Regular Benefits program provides temporary financial assistance for the unemployed who qualify for the benefits, while they look for work or upgrade their skills.

Usually, you are not eligible for EI Regular Benefits if you:

  • quit without a good reason,
  • are fired because of your own misconduct, meaning the employer had just cause to fire you,
  • have not worked enough hours during a certain period of time, or
  • have not been paying into the EI program.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits

Sometimes doctors request a fee for writing a medical certificate. You will have to cover the expense of this fee, the EI Sickness Benefits program will not pay for this cost.

Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits are for individuals who are unable to work because of sickness, injury, or quarantine. If you qualify for this benefit, you may be paid for up to 15 weeks.

Besides meeting the usual eligibility requirements, you must also provide a medical certificate from a doctor to prove that you are unable to work and confirm the duration of your incapacity.

Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity and Parental Benefits provide support to people who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are caring for a newborn, or are adopting a child.

EI Maternity Benefits are payable to the birth mother or surrogate mother for a maximum of 15 weeks.

EI Parental Benefits are payable either to the biological or adoptive parents while they care for a new-born or an adopted child, up to a maximum of 35 weeks. Parental Benefits can be claimed by one parent or shared between the two partners, but will not exceed a combined maximum of 35 weeks.

To receive these benefits, besides meeting the usual eligibility requirements, you also have to sign a statement declaring the details of your baby’s expected due date or date of birth, or in the case of an adoption, the date of your adopted child’s placement with you and the name and address of the adoption authority.

Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits are available to people who temporarily have to be away from work to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.

EI Compassionate Care Benefits may be paid up to a maximum of 6 weeks to a person who has to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks.

Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) Benefits

Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) Benefits provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work because of a severe and prolonged disability. In order to qualify for CPPD, you have to have been working in Canada, paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and are now unable to work on a regular basis due to a disability.

Disability Support Program (DSP)

The Government of NL has many services which are in place to provide support for individuals and families who live with disabilities.

Income Support Benefits

The Department of  Immigration, Population Growth and Skills provides financial benefits and other services to eligible low income people to assist in meeting daily living expenses.

Income Support Benefits include basic and non-basic financial supports such as:

Basic Benefits:

  • Family and Individual Benefit (to assist with expenses such as food, clothing, personal care, household maintenance and utilities)
  • Shelter (Including rent and mortgage)

Non-basic Benefits (Eligibility May Vary According to Your Personal Circumstances):

  • Municipal Tax Payments
  • Eye Exams and Prescription Glasses
  • Private Childcare (related to employment or training)
  • Expenses for Burials

You may also receive certain benefits and services from other government departments and agencies. Financial eligibility for these may be determined by Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, however, the extent of benefits and services are determined by individual departments. Examples of these benefits and services include:

  • A Prescription Drug Card offered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP); if you require drug card coverage only, you may apply for programs under the NLPDP
  • Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment offered by the Special Assistance Program of the Department of Health and Community Services.
  • Medical Transportation offered through the Department of Health and Community Service

Prescription Drug Program

This program provides a Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP) Card to individuals and families who are receiving Income Support benefits. This card covers the total cost of eligible prescription medications, including dispensing fees. If clients have a private health insurance plan which covers a percentage of prescriptions, a drug card can be issued to offset the difference of approved drugs. If recipients leave the income support program due to employment, a drug card can be issued for an extended 12 month period.

Vision Care Eye

Examinations Assistance with the cost of a routine eye examination will be considered upon request by the applicant/recipient of Income Support. The maximum contribution toward this cost will be $55.00. Dependent children under 18 years of age are eligible to receive this service once every 12 months, while adults are eligible once every 36 months. Eye Glasses Applicants/recipients may be eligible for a contribution towards the cost of eyeglasses, as prescribed by an optometrist or physician, subject to the following restrictions: $125.00 for single vision lens; and $175.00 for bi-focals. Glasses will be provided at a maximum of once every three years for adults and once a year for children unless there is a medically substantiated reason by the optometrist or physician for a more frequent change. Financial support may be provided directly to assist with the cost, or clients may receive an Authorization for Service to bring to the company of their choice who will invoice the department directly at the prescribed rates.

Related Resources

  • Service Canada Call Centre Toll Free: 1-800-206-7218

Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits

Disability Benefits

Related Topic in this Guide