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May 25, 1999
(Human Resources and Employment)

Help for low income families

Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resources and Employment, today announced the details of a new initiative to help low income families. The Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit, the province's 1999 National Child Benefit reinvestment strategy, marks a significant step in reshaping income support in the province.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit (NLCB) is a tax free monthly payment that will help low income families, whether on social assistance or not, receive ongoing stable support for their children. The NLCB will be provided to all low income families with a net income below $20,921 (in the previous tax year) and with at least one dependent child. Below $15,921, the full benefit will be received, and will be phased out as net income approaches $20,921. The amount of the benefit will depend on the number of dependent children within the family. The NLCB will be combined with the Canada Child Tax Benefit, in one monthly federal/provincial payment, beginning July.

"The NLCB is a great initiative for all low income families, including those who receive social assistance," said Minister Bettney. "Because the NLCB is delivered outside the social assistance program, the benefit is not affected as families move out of the social assistance program and into the labour market."

Approximately 42,000 children in the province qualify for the NLCB, with about half of these children (21,000) living in families who are in receipt of social assistance. Each year, approximately 6,000 families leave social assistance.

The National Child Benefit is an initiative of the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments to help families provide a better start in life for their children.

When support for children is integrated with the National Child Benefit in July, the province will replace its basic social assistance allowances with a new Family Benefit. Beginning in August, all social assistance families, with or without children, will be eligible for one of four new rates. The rates will be based on the number of adults in the family and whether they live with relatives or on their own. Other income support components such as allowances for single persons, rent, mortgage and drug cards remain unchanged.

For families on social assistance with children, the combination of the monthly Child Benefit cheque plus their Family Benefit cheques will mean, for the vast majority of families, a three to four per cent increase.

"The well being of children and their families is a primary concern for government," said Minister Bettney. "These benefits, which are consistent with government's direction as outlined in the Strategic Social Plan, show our commitment to investing in the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

The Department of Human Resources and Employment is redesigning its programs to encourage and support families to seek and maintain employment, and to provide stable support to those who are unable to work. Through the Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Family Benefits, major initiatives of this redesign, the department is investing in people and building a better future together.

For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Family Benefits please call the Department of Human Resources and Employment at 1-877-622-6227.

For more information on Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit amounts, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and/or the National Child Benefit Supplement, please call Revenue Canada at 1-800-387-1193 (English) or 1-800-387-1194 (French).

Media contact: Lynn Evans, Communications, (709) 729-5611.

1999 05 25         11:15 a.m.

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