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Group renews calls for higher social assistance rates

By Brad Perry Nov 22, 2023 | 4:54 PM

New affordability measures are being welcomed by the Common Front for Social Justice.

Starting in February, individuals who receive social assistance will get an extra $200 a month to help with the rising cost of food and shelter.

Provincial coordinator Janelle LeBlanc said while this is good news, it does not go far enough to help those in need.

“Social assistance recipients are facing an emergency and living well below the poverty line and in extreme poverty. We’re asking that basic rates be raised above the poverty line,” said LeBlanc.

Currently, a single employable person receives $637 a month, while a single person with disabilities receives $786.

LeBlanc said people cannot wait any longer for support, adding that poverty is costing the government over $1 billion a year.

The $200 boost was part of a $65-million annual aid package aimed at low-income New Brunswickers.

Residents who receive the annual $400 Low-Income Seniors’ Benefit will get a $200 supplement for the 2023 benefit year.

Officials said the supplement will remain in place until the benefit is permanently increased to $600 a year.

In addition, a policy change for spousal contributions to facility-based care to ensure at least 60 per cent of the household income remains with the spouse at home will take effect in January.