Social Assistance Program

Social Assistance will help you pay for basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) when you do not have enough money. Depending on your financial need, you may also receive payment for childcare, medicine, and other living essentials. If you are a PEI resident age 18 years or older and your income cannot cover the basic costs of living, call the social assistance screening line toll-free at 1-877-569-0546.

What will happen after I call Social Assistance?

The application process starts when you call the social assistance screening line and are booked for an intake appointment. You will need to bring documents about yourself, your family, and your current financial situation at this intake appointment. These documents are listed below.

Intake assessment: at this first meeting, a social supports coordinator will:

  • Review your situation and see if you qualify for Social Assistance;
  • Explain the program to you and answer your questions;
  • Complete your application with you and review your documents to make sure they include the information required to properly assess your needs; and
  • Ask you to sign the Applicant Declaration. This is a legal document that you must sign as part of your application. The social supports coordinator will explain the document and answer your questions to make sure you fully understand it before you sign. By signing the applicant declaration, you agree to:
    • Follow the rules of the Social Assistance program; and 
    • Allow program staff to verify your information.

What documents will I need to take to my intake assessment?

Bring the following documents to support your application:

  • Identification, each adult family member
  • Citizenship, each person born outside Canada
  • Direct Deposit Information, primary applicant only
  • Bank statements, each adult with a bank account
  • Pay stubs for the previous 31 days, each employed adult
  • Business financial records, each self-employed adult
  • Record of Employment, each adult recently stopped working
  • Proof of income, each adult family member
  • PEI resident confirmation, 1 per household
  • Utility bills, per household
  • Proof of expenses, each adult paying expenses
  • Other documents as needed may include:
    • Medical information
    • Proof of custody
    • Income tax returns
    • CRA Notice of Assessment (NOA)

You are required to report all income.

How will income be counted when assessing my needs?

Both earned and unearned income are considered when assessing your need for social assistance.

  • Earned income is the money you get from working, i.e. wages or salary, self-employment, babysitting.
  • Unearned income is the money you get from other places, including Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security, Employment Insurance, Worker's Compensation, gifts, or gambling winnings.
  • Excluded income is the money you receive that is not counted on your application, including:
    • Canada Child Benefit;
    • Child support (Maintenance Enforcement payments);
    • Foster care payments; and 
    • HST and income tax refunds.

How much Social Assistance will I receive?

The amount of money you receive is assessed monthly and may increase or decrease according to your income, living situation, and the size of your family. You are responsible to provide your social support coordinator with current information about your needs and income and report any changes to your situation, i.e. your relationship status changes, you have more or fewer children in your care, or your employment or income changes.

You may be assessed as needing to meet basic needs and you may qualify for assistance for other needs

Basic needs include:

  • Food;
  • Clothing;
  • Household items;
  • Personal Items;
  • Telephone or internet costs;
  • Shelter; and
  • Utilities (power, heat, fuel and water).

Other needs may include:

  • Childcare;
  • Transportation costs;
  • Medications, hearing aids and eyeglasses; and 
  • Security deposit for rent or utilities.

When assessing your need, expenses for cable television, car and/or car insurance payments, and other personal debts are not considered.

For more information on the Seniors Hearing Aid Rebate Program please click here

When you receive Social Assistance, you are automatically enrolled in the following support programs:

For more detailed information download the Social Assistance Handbook

For more information contact:

Department of Social Development and Seniors
Jones Building, 2nd Floor
11 Kent Street
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-620-3777
Toll Free: 1-877-569-0546

Published date: 
March 25, 2024
Social Development and Seniors

General Inquiries

Department of Social Development and Seniors
2nd Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-620-3777
Toll-free: 1-866-594-3777
Fax: 902-368-4740