More than 40,000 seniors in the
province will receive the Low Income Seniors’ Benefit
this month, the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of
Finance and President of Treasury Board, announced
today. The benefit is a refundable tax credit paid to
low income seniors, even if they have no tax payable.
"Our government is committed to
supporting seniors in our province through a number of
investments in recent years, one of which is an enhanced
Low Income Seniors’ Benefit," said Minister Kennedy.
"Early in our mandate, our government indexed the
Seniors’ Benefit and enhanced both the credit amounts
and the qualifying income thresholds. Further
investments were made in the 2007 and 2008 budgets. As a
result, this year a single senior or couple can receive
a benefit of $798, as compared to $350 for a single
senior and $700 for senior couples in 2003. In addition,
more families are qualifying for the benefit."
The qualifying income threshold for
this benefit has increased from $14,000 in 2003 to
$25,983 in 2009. A single senior, or married couple,
with income up to $32,827 would be eligible for a
partial benefit. These expansions to the Seniors’
Benefit bring the total investment to $28 million
It is estimated that approximately
33,000 seniors or senior couples will receive the full
benefit of $798. An additional 7,000 seniors or senior
couples will receive a partial benefit, depending on
their income level. The benefit is reduced by 11.66 per
cent of income greater than $25,983.
"An additional 10,000 seniors will
qualify for the Seniors’ Benefit this year, as compared
to 2003, which is significant," said Minister Kennedy.
"In addition, our government recognizes that the cost of
living for a single senior is not substantially
different from the cost of living for a married senior
couple, which is why the same benefit is available to
both single seniors and couples."
The first cheques will be in the mail
today, along with GST/HST credit payments. Individuals
with direct deposit to bank accounts will receive their
benefit today as well. In order to qualify for the
benefit, a person must be 65 years of age by December 31
of the taxation year. The benefit is paid in October of
each year and is included in the same cheque as the
GST/HST credit. The amount of the credit is based on
family net income from the previous year. No application
is required. However, individuals must ensure that their
annual income tax return is filed.
An enhanced Low Income Seniors’
Benefit is one of the ways the Provincial Government is
investing to support seniors in the province. In 2007,
income tax changes were made to allow married pensioners
to split pension income with their spouses, allowing
many pensioners the opportunity to reduce both
provincial and federal income taxes. The Williams
Government has also implemented tax reductions,
resulting in the province having the lowest personal
income tax rates in Atlantic Canada. In addition, the
home heating rebate has been increased, the RST has been
eliminated on insurance premiums, motor vehicle
registration fees have been reduced, the Newfoundland
and Labrador Prescription Drug Program has been
enhanced, and there have been significant investments in
Newfoundland Labrador Housing.
"The seniors benefit is one important
way that we are helping to improve financial security
for seniors in Newfoundland and Labrador," said the
Honourable Paul Oram, Minister of Health and Community
Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors.
"This is one of the key priority directions of our
Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework and an
important factor in helping seniors to live
independently and experience good health and
The Seniors’ Benefit is administered
by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on behalf of the
province. For further information, or to determine
eligibility for the Seniors’ Benefit, please contact the
CRA at 1-800-959-1953.
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