New Low Income Seniors' Benefit introduced
Finance Minster Paul Dicks announced details of a new Low Income Seniors' Benefit today that will put over $25 million into the hands of seniors over the next five years. The benefit is designed to assist low income seniors who demonstrate a certain level of need, regardless of whom their former employer may have been.
"Government recognizes that some of our older persons live in difficult financial circumstances. This new benefit will provide some measure of relief to them in the form of cash," said Minister Dicks. "The Low Income Seniors' Benefit will provide an annual cheque each fall of up to $200 to all seniors who qualify, treating them in an equitable manner exclusive of whom their former employer may have been."
The benefit will be $200 for seniors with a family net income of $12,000 or less, and will be phased out at a rate of 2.5 per cent of income as family income rises from $12,000 to $20,000. The new low income seniors' benefit will complement existing income tax benefits for seniors, which include pension income and age credits. Seniors may also be eligible for the low income HST credit introduced by the provincial government when the RST and GST were integrated in 1997.
Approximately 34,000 seniors, 55 per cent of the total of 62,000 persons 65 years of age and over in the province, will receive a Low Income Seniors' Benefit, with about 14,500 receiving the full amount. Of the 34,000 beneficiaries, approximately 22,600, or 67 per cent, will be women.
Seniors do not need to make special application for the new benefit which will be paid once a year. The first Low Income Seniors' Benefit cheques will be in the mail this fall.
Media contact: Paula Dyke, Communications, (709) 729-0329.
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