October 16, 2007

More Senior Couples Benefiting from the Seniors� Benefit

More senior couples in Newfoundland and Labrador are benefiting from the seniors� benefit thanks to changes brought forward by the Williams Government in Budget 2007. Over the past week, eligible senior couples have been receiving the seniors benefit. The annual payment of the Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors� Benefit is included in the federal GST credit issued in early October.

The Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, said the Provincial Government adjusted the income thresholds for senior couples so that the full benefit is received for incomes up to $25,000 and the partial benefit is received for incomes up to $31,587. That�s an improvement from 2006 when a senior couple received the full seniors� benefit if the couple�s combined income was less than $15,032, and received a partial benefit with combined income up to $21,482.

"As a result of these adjustments, approximately 5,900 more senior couples will receive a full or partial amount of the seniors� benefit. Prior to the enhancement of the credit for senior couples, about 1,100 senior couples received the benefit," said Minister Marshall. "About 3,800 senior couples will receive a seniors� benefit cheque for $768 in October this year. Another 3,200 will receive a cheque for a partial benefit. This will increase the total payout of the seniors� benefit to $12.2 million, an increase of more than $4 million over last year."

Minister Marshall said these adjustments correct an anomaly in the seniors� benefit program whereby senior couples have not been able to avail of the full value of the benefit because the couple�s income under federal programs such as Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) moved the couples towards the upper end of the income phase-out range. In the spirit of fairness, the Provincial Government made the decision to address the problem by changing the income test for married seniors.

"Adjusting the seniors benefit is another way the Williams Government is putting money back into the pockets of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, particularly our senior citizens," said Minister Marshall. "This initiative was announced along with our government�s unprecedented personal income tax reductions in Budget 2007 that is giving $160 million back to the people of this province."

In order to qualify for this benefit, the person must be 65 years of age by December 31 of the taxation year. The Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors� Benefit is paid once a year in October, and is paid concurrently with the federal GST credit.


Media contact:

Bill Hickey
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 691-6390 

2007 10 16                                                    12:30 p.m.


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