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October 1, 1998
(Human Resources and Employment)

Drug card coverage provides support to low income families entering work force

Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resources and Employment, today announced the implementation of an initiative aimed at helping families receiving income support in their transition to employment.

As part of the National Child Benefit Reinvestment Program, the Department of Human Resources and Employment will extend drug card coverage for families who leave social assistance due to employment. This initiative, which was announced in the 1998 Budget, will be implemented on October 1, 1998.

"This initiative provides an incentive for low income families with dependents to find employment," said Minister Bettney. "Many families are hesitant to move from social assistance to employment because they may lose their drug card benefit. By extending drug card benefits to clients moving into employment we are helping to ease that transition."

The Extended Drug Card Coverage is intended to help families who are moving from income support to employment by covering their prescription drug costs. The coverage is available for three months after families have found employment. Approximately 1,300 families may be eligible for Extended Drug Card Coverage. The estimated cost for this initiative is projected to be $1 million annually.

Under the National Child Benefit, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will invest $10 million annually in early intervention and prevention programs and services for children and families.

"The National Child Benefit and the Provincial Reinvestment Plan are examples of how both levels of government are working together to improve the lives of low income families and their children," said Minister Bettney. "By supporting low income families, government is working to reduce barriers to employment and address child poverty."

Media contact: Karen Kelloway, Communications, (709) 729-4062.

1998 10 01 1:30 p.m.

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