March 21, 2002
(Human Resources and Employment)


Changes to NLCB help low income families

For the second consecutive year, low income families with children will be able to earn more money and still qualify for the Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit (NLCB).

The income threshold that determines eligibility for the NLCB will change starting July 1, 2002, Human Resources and Employment Minister Gerald Smith announced today. The change will mean an increase for about 4,000 families receiving the NLCB, and also means that families near the top of the income scale will not lose their partial benefits as quickly. About 600 additional families will now be eligible for the NLCB due to the threshold increase.

"The NLCB supports low income families with the cost of raising children," said Minister Smith. "It is one of the ways we address child poverty in the province by supporting low income families to stay in the workforce while removing barriers to employment for others."

Under the current program, families with dependent children are eligible for a full benefit with a net income up to $16,744, and a partial benefit between $16,744 - $21,744. Starting July 1, the income level for the full benefit will increase by $653 to $17,397, with the income for partial benefits also rising to between $17,397 and $22,397.

This change means that more families will be eligible for the full benefit, those with partial benefits will see a slight increase and more families will receive the benefit for a longer period of time. The overall cost of this initiative is $250,000 annually.

Human Resources and Employment established the NLCB in 1999 as a tax-free, monthly payment aimed at helping low income families make the transition to employment. About 20,000 families a year receive the NLCB, which is combined with the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) for a single monthly payment for families.

The increase in the NLCB’s income threshold also affects the department’s Mother-Baby Nutrition Supplement that was introduced in December of 2001 as part of the federal/provincial Early Childhood Initiative. Starting July 1, 2002, low income pregnant women and families with children under one will be able to earn more money and still retain the nutrition supplement. The $45 monthly income benefit reaches about 1,850 people every month.

For families with children to qualify for the Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit and the Mother-Baby Nutrition Supplement, each spouse must file an income tax return and apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit if not already receiving the CCTB. Women who are pregnant and want to learn more about the Mother-Baby Nutrition Supplement may call 1-800-508-4788.

Media contact: Paul Power, Communications, (709) 729-4062.

2002 03 21                            3:10 p.m.

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