Human Resources, Labour and Employment
July 7, 2008

New Poverty Reduction Benefits Now in Effect

The Provincial Government is moving forward with a series of investments to improve social benefits and improve equality for individuals and families. Effective July 1, an additional $2 million in benefits under the Poverty Reduction Strategy are being provided to strengthen the social safety net.

In Budget 2008, the Provincial Government announced an investment of $12 million in new poverty reduction initiatives. That brings the total ongoing annual investment in poverty reduction to more than $100 million.

"We are pleased to be moving forward and continuing to build our integrated approach to addressing poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador," said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment (HRLE). "Government is committed to improving the quality of life of our more vulnerable citizens."

Through HRLE, rate increases have been made to health benefits for income support clients including eye exams, eyeglasses, dentures and special diets. The differential rate paid to clients living with a relative has been eliminated. Income support clients will be able to pay the same amount of rent regardless of whom they are renting from.

Human Resources, Labour and Employment has increased earnings exemptions and other supports to assist clients in their attachment to the labour market. In recognition of extra expenses and supports required by clients, the enhanced earnings exemption has been increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. In addition, for those clients requiring supportive services, the base earnings exemption rate for individuals has increased from $95 per month to $150, and from $190 per month to $250 for families.

As well, in order to support individuals with the transition from income support to employment, clients will be able to maintain their full income support benefits for 30 days after the commencement of employment.

"Our government�s approach to supporting individuals, families and children is a long-term approach that will help alleviate the negative effects of poverty and break the cycle of poverty," said Minister Skinner. "These initiatives will help more citizens avail of employment opportunities and in the long run, together with the other poverty reduction initiatives funded to date, help us to succeed in our shared vision of providing opportunities for all and enabling self-reliance."

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Media contact:

Ronalda Walsh
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 699-0753 

2008 07 07                                                      10:50 a.m.


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