The cost of Newfoundland and Labrador’s low-income seniors’ benefit program has increased from $7.5 million in 2003 to an estimated $36 million this year.
In a news release today, Finance Minister Tom Marshall said this year’s maximum payment to seniors is “unprecedented at $946.”
Marshall said the provincial government recognizes that running a household on a low income can be challenging for anyone, including seniors. “With an estimated 45,000 individuals or couples qualifying this year and with the maximum payment rising again, the low-income seniors’ benefit has become an increasingly important program for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”
The seniors’ benefit provides a payment to all seniors with a low income, whether single or as a couple, as long as an annual tax return has been filed. To qualify, a person must turn 65 years old by Dec. 31, 2012 and have earned a maximum net household income of up to $35,611 during the 2011 tax year. Those with a net household income of $27,515 or less receive the top benefit.
Payments for those who qualify for the low-income senior’s benefit were automatically issued in October, either by cheque or direct deposit. If a resident has not already received their payment for this year, they are encouraged to contact the Canada Revenue Agency toll-free at 1-800-959-1953. Further information including eligibility requirements can be found on the Department of Finance’s website at www.gov.nl.ca/fin.
Marshall will discuss this benefit program, as well as other initiatives that the province has implemented for seniors, when he addresses the Humber Valley Senior Citizens Club at their 30th anniversary dinner this evening in Pasadena.