Health and Community Services
Finance
May 2, 2008

Province Unveils New Benefits to Support Families

Supporting families with progressive and meaningful initiatives has been an ongoing commitment of the Williams Government. Today, the Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community Services, and the Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, provided details of two new benefits announced by the Provincial Government in Budget 2008.

The Progressive Family Growth Benefit provides $1,000 for every child born or adopted and the Parental Support Benefit provides $100 per month to parents for the first 12 months for each child born or adopted, with both benefits retroactive to include all children born or adopted as of January 1, 2008. Budget 2008 includes an allocation of $12.4 million for the program this year, and $9.9 million annually thereafter. The combined total of births and adoptions each year is approximately 4,500.

"Families are the foundation of our province and our government recognizes the high costs that arise during the first year of parenting," said Minister Wiseman. "These new benefits complement our other policies that support families and will help young families at a time when they need it most. Our government is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our residents and these initiatives certainly support that commitment."

"Our government continues to invest in families in substantial ways," said Minister Marshall. "These benefits are not taxable and will apply to all parents who give birth to or adopt a child regardless of their ability to receive maternity benefits and regardless of their financial situation. The benefits will not be operated as an Employment Insurance top-up which would have excluded the self-employed, unemployed, and many one-income families. Instead, they will be available to all eligible Newfoundlanders and Labradorians regardless of employment status, adding to the money our government has put directly into the pockets of families with two successive years of historic tax reductions."

Application forms for both benefits are available at www.gov.nl.ca/fin/parentalben and in the coming weeks will be available at all Government Services Centres, obstetrical units, offices of family doctors, MCP offices, regional child, youth and family services offices, and will be included in all You and Your New Baby packages available through public health nurses. Further information can be obtained by calling 709-729-1695 or toll free at 877-729-1695.

The Progressive Family Growth Benefit and the Parental Support Benefit add to the many family-focused supports that have been introduced or enhanced by the Williams Government. Over the past four years, among other measures, the Provincial Government has significantly enhanced the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program which assists families with drug costs, expanded the Childrenís Dental Health Program, provided insulin pumps for children, expanded the child care subsidy program, increased the Mother-Baby Nutritional Supplement for mothers with low incomes, eliminated school fees, provided free text books for high school students, provided needs-based non-repayable grants to post-secondary students and reduced interest rates on provincial student loans.

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Media contacts:

Glenda Power
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 709-685-1741
glendapower@gov.nl.ca
Bill Hickey
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 691-6390
billyhickey@gov.nl.ca

 

 

BACKGROUNDER

Highlights of the New Parental Benefits

The Progressive Family Growth Benefit (PFGB) is a $1,000 lump sum payment available to residents of the province who give birth to a baby or have a child placed with them for adoption on or after January 1, 2008.

The Parental Support Benefit (PSB) is a $100 monthly benefit paid for the 12 months after the childís birth, or the 12 months after the adopted child is placed in the home on or after January 1, 2008.

Where there are multiple births or adoptions, both benefits are available for each child.

Eligible individuals must apply for the benefits. Only one person per household may apply for the benefits.

As the program is retroactive to January 1, 2008, it may take up to three months to process applications. Once the application is processed, the $100 monthly payment will be available without further application.

Where a child is adopted at birth, the adoptive parents are eligible for the $1,000 Progressive Family Growth Benefit and 12 monthly payments of the $100 Parental Support Benefit. The benefit will be available upon placement of the child, and will not be available again once formal adoption takes place. A payment will not be available to a step-parent who adopts the child of his or her co-habitating spouse. The birth mother will be eligible for the $1,000 Progressive Family Growth Benefit plus four months of the $100 Parental Support Benefit.

The full $1,000 Progressive Family Growth Benefit will also be paid as well as four months of the $100 Parental Support Benefit in the event of stillborn.

Application forms will be available through:

Online www.gov.nl.ca/fin/parentalben

All Government Service Centres

Obstetrical units

MCP offices

Included in the You and Your Baby package that is distributed by public health nurses.

For further information on either the Progressive Family Growth Benefit or the Parental Support Benefit, please phone 709-729-1695 or toll free 1-877-729-1695.

Applications must be sent to:

Parental Benefits Program
Department of Finance
Tax Administration Division
P.O. Box 8700
St. Johnís, NL A1B 4J6

2008 05 02                                                   11:30 a.m.


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