Nov
3
2022

Government invests $7 million into rate increases for social programs and social housing rental rates

Government is making the largest investment in the province’s history into social program benefits to positively impact Island households receiving assistance in several different ways. These changes will come into effect on December 1, 2022.

Island households receiving provincial social assistance or assured income benefits will see an 8 per cent increase to their basic unit rate, increases to all shelter ceilings for social programs and social housing clients, and increases to communication, optical and transportation benefits.

“We have seen record high inflation in PEI impacting everyone in different ways. Government is taking action to get money in the hands of those who need it the most. We are re-vamping social program rates to make sure everyone has what they need to support their well-being.”

- Matthew MacKay, Minister of Social Development and Housing

The basic unit rate, inclusive of the existing travel rate for adults, will now be:

  • Adult - $511 (up from $450)
  • Child 0-11 - $293 (up from $271)
  • Child 12-18 - $388 (up from $359)

For example: with these supports a household of four, with two adults and two children aged 10 and 14 will receive $1,703 per month for necessities, not including shelter benefits.

Shelter rate ceilings will increase for both social programs and social housing clients. Rates will now be:

  • $500 for room rentals (up from $377)
  • $850 for singles and couples with no children (up from $794)
  • $1,000 for single parents and couples with one child (up from $961)
  • $1,168 for single parents and couples with two children (up from $1,118)
  • $1, 241 for single parents and couples with three children (up from $1,191)
  • $1,292 for single parents and couples with 4+ children (up from $1, 241)

Additionally, the Government is changing its eligibility criteria for seniors applying for hearing aids, so that more seniors can access coverage. An increase to the exemption of assets for clients in community care will move up to $100,000.

The Seniors Independence Initiative will increase income thresholds to $32,753 or less, for singles and $41,970 or less, for couples and add a fourth benefit amount of $575.

Government has invested almost 20 million into social programs since 2020. These recent increases in financial supports demonstrate government’s commitment to moving people out of poverty and achieving the goals outlined in the Poverty Elimination Strategy Act proclaimed in 2021.

Backgrounder

  • Optical rates will increase to $200 for single vision lenses and frames and $245 for bifocal lenses and frames, as recommended by the Prince Edward Island Association of Optometrists
  • Transportation expenses for eligible travel, including but not limited to travel to medical and employment appointments will increase to $0.40/km.
  • Eligibility for hearing aids will be determined by income. Seniors with a net income at or below $22,535 for individuals or $31,470 for couples will be eligible to have base hearing aid models fully covered. For seniors with higher incomes, there will be incremental coverage based on income level.
  • In January 2022, the budget for social programs rose by $4.5 million to increase living allowance rates (food, clothing, household expenses, personal items).
  • In June 2021, government expanded the eligibility and scope of the Seniors Independence Initiative to remove the assessment required to receive funding and include things like parking passes, lifeline medical alert. At this time, Government increased program thresholds to $26,500 for a single person and to a maximum of $34,000 for a couple.
  • In 2020, government made a $6.4 million annual investment to increase social program food allowance rates, and in 2019 food allowance rates increased by 10 per cent.


Media contact:
Kip Ready
Senior Communications Officer
kjready@gov.pe.ca

 

General Inquiries

Department of Social Development and Housing
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

DeptSDH@gov.pe.ca