You may be eligible for extra money from the government and not even know it!
Individuals and families with a lower to middle income level are eligible for a number of different financial benefits from the Canadian and Manitoban governments, but as many as 40 per cent of eligible First Nation Families do not currently access useful benefits. It’s time to change that!
Don’t forget to file your taxes!
You can boost your income by filing your taxes, even if you are not making an income. By filing your taxes every year, whether you have income to report or not, you can be eligible for government benefits, meaning more money in your pocket. You can even backfile for up to 10 years and potentially access financial benefits for past years as well.
For example, when you file your taxes, you are automatically considered for the goods and services tax credit. It is a tax-free payment that eligible individuals and families with low and modest incomes receive every three months. Click here for more information on the goods and services tax credit.
Here’s an example:
|Single parent (Taxes Not filed):||(After Tax Filing and Accessing Benefits):|
|Two children ages 2 & 4|
Renting in subsidized housing
Employed part time
|GST Refundable Credit $842.00 ($210.50 paid quarterly)|
Canada Child Benefits: $12,800.00 ($1,066.66 paid monthly)
Working Income Tax Benefit: $1,844.00 (with refund OR part paid quarterly)
Manitoba Child Benefits: $840.00 ($35.00 paid monthly)
MB Personal Tax Credit $266.00 (refund upon tax filing)
|Annual Employment Income:|
|Total Annual Income:|
There are Free Tax Clinics available to help you get started.
You can find other free tax clinics in your area here.
During tax season (February – April), you can call the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program at 204-989-1912.
Claim your Treaty Annuity Payments!
Every year the Government of Canada makes treaty annuity payments to status Indians who are entitled to them through membership in bands that have signed specific historic treaties with the Crown. Most treaty payments are made in cash during treaty payment events in First Nation communities and urban centers, on or off reserve. They are coordinated by Treaty First Nations and ISC regional offices.
To claim your Treaty Annuity Payments fill out this application form (PDF).
You are entitled to treaty annuity payments if you are a Status Indian (registered Indian) and a member of a First Nation that has signed one of the following treaties:
- The Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior Treaties (1850)
- Treaty No.1, Treaty No.2, Treaty No.3, Treaty No.4, Treaty No.5, Treaty No.6, Treaty No.7, Treaty No.8, Treaty No.9, Treaty No.10, and Treaty No.11 (together, these are known as the 11 “Numbered Treaties” from 1871-1921)
- Upper and Lower Cayuga Payments
Below is a list of some of the most important benefits available to low and middle income families and individuals.
For a more comprehensive list, check out this Get Your Benefits webpage.
Children & Family
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the costs of raising children under 18 years of age, administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. The CCB may include the child disability benefit and any related provincial and territorial programs.
Despite its many benefits, 40% of First Nation families do not collect the CCB. That is a potential $6,765 per year ($563.75 per month) for each child under the age of 6, or $5,708 per year ($475.66 per month) for each child 6 to 17 years of age. Payments are based on your adjusted family net income (AFNI) and families whose AFNI is under $31,711 receive the maximum payment for each child. Benefits gradually start to decrease if your AFNI is over $31,711.
To be eligible, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- You live with a child who is under 18 years of age
- You are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child
- You are a resident of Canada for tax purposes
You, your spouse, or common-law partner must be any of the following:
- an Indigenous person who meets the definition of “Indian” under the Indian Act
- a Canadian citizen
- a permanent resident
- a protected person
- a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month
You are not eligible to receive CCB for foster children in any month in which Children’s special allowances (CSA) are payable. You may get the CCB if you live with and care for a child under a kinship or close relationship program as long as CSAs are not payable for that child.
For more information, visit the Canada Child Benefit page.
Canada Learning Bond
The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is up to $2,000 that the government will give to the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) of an eligible child. You don’t personally need to contribute anything to your child’s RESP to receive the grant, you simply need to open an RESP account for your child. The Government of Canada then deposits money directly into an eligible child’s RESP account to help parents save for their child’s education after high school. It can add to any band funding your child receives.
The government will contribute up to $2,000 in total to an RESP for each eligible child. Eligibility is based on the number of eligible children in the family and the adjusted income of the primary parent/caregiver. The adjusted income includes the income of a cohabiting spouse or common-law partner. Learn more about the Canada Learning Bond and other support option for education on SCO’s Education page.
Did you lose your job? You may be eligible for weekly financial benefits from the federal government!
Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, such as due to a shortage of work or seasonal/mass lay-offs, and cannot currently find a job. You must be available and able to work. On EI, you’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more
Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment (ROE). If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.
Canada Workers Benefit
Get a larger tax credit! The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit for people who earn between $3000 and $24,111 a year, or $36,483 a year for families. The maximum benefit is $1,355 for individuals and $2,335 for families and an additional supplement is available for persons with disabilities.
As soon as you begin to earn $3000, you start to get a tax credit of 26% off every dollar you earn above $3000, until you reach a certain threshold, and then you earn 12% back on each dollar you earn. Only one person per household can receive the CWB, thought two spouses can both earn the additional disability supplement if they are both eligible.
For more information, visit the government’s Canada Workers Benefit page.
Seniors & Persons with Disabilities
Canada Pension Plan
Retiring soon or have you already retired? Don’t forget to apply for your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) monthly payment! The CPP retirement pension is a monthly benefit that is taxable. It replaces part of your income when you retire.
CPP monthly payments are not automatic – you have to apply begin receiving them. You can apply for your CPP payments and then continue to work as well, it won’t affect your CPP, in fact, it could increase it if you are making valid contributions to the CPP while working until you are 70 years old. To qualify for a CPP monthly payment, you must:
- be at least 60 years old
- have made at least one valid contribution to the CPP
If you worked in Canada, you would have made at least one valid contribution to the CPP. You may have also received valid CPP credits from a former spouse or former common-law partner at the end of the relationship.
The earlier you begin receiving your CPP payments, the smaller they will be. The average to begin receiving them is 65 years old. If you wait longer, your monthly payment will be bigger than if you begin receiving it earlier.
For more information on the CPP and how to apply, visit the government’s CPP webpage. Please note that there have been updates to the CPP, including one-time payment for persons with disabilities to help them during the pandemic.
Old Age Security
Are you 65 years or older? You are eligible to receive the Old Age Security (OAS) pension monthly payment. In many cases, Service Canada will automatically enroll you for the OAS pension payment, however, some people have to apply themselves. Service Canada will inform you if you have been automatically enrolled for the payment.
You should apply for OAS if you are 65 years or older, are not automatically enrolled, and have not heard from Service Canada. You can begin receiving the payment after you turn 65. If you want to, you can also delay payment up to when you are 70 years old to increase the monthly amount that you will receive.
For more information and application details, visit the government’s OAS webpage.
Guaranteed Income Supplement
The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a non-taxable monthly payment you can get if:
- you are 65 or older
- you live in Canada
- you get the Old Age Security (OAS) pension (see above)
- your income is below $18,624 if you are single, widowed, or divorced
- your income plus the income of your spouse/common-law partner is below:
- $24,576 if your spouse/common-law partner receives the full OAS pension
- $44,640 if your spouse/common-law partner does not receive an OAS pension
- $44,640 if your spouse/common-law partner receives the Allowance
In many cases, the government will let you know by letter when you could start receiving the first GIS payment after you turn 64. However, you may have to apply if the government does not have enough information to enroll you automatically or if you are already receiving your OAS pension and never applied for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
The first payment can begin after you turn 65 but you must file your taxes on time every year to avoid any delay to your payments. Check out the government’s GIS webpage for more information.
Child and Family
Manitoba Child Benefit
You may be eligible for up to $420 tax free each year for every child in your family!
The Manitoba Child Benefit is intended for lower income Manitobans living off reserve with dependent children, for up to $35.00 per month, per child. It can also help assist parents with some of the costs associated with prescription eyeglasses for their children.
To be eligible, you must be a resident of Manitoba, and:
- have dependent children in your care who are under the age of 18
- receive Canada Child Benefits for dependent children*
- have a family income below a specific level that is based on the previous year’s income
- not be receiving of Employment and Income Assistance unless you are ONLY receiving health benefits portions of EIA.
For more information, visit the provincial government’s Manitoba Child Benefit page or call 204-948-7368 or 1-877-587-6224 for toll-free.
Click here for more information on the Canada Child Benefit or call 1-800-387-1193.
Child Care Subsidy
Want to get your child care fees reduced? The province offers a Child Care Subsidy program, which provides support to eligible families by reducing child care fees for children aged 12 weeks to 12 years.
Your eligibility depends on various factors including:
- the number and age of your children
- the number of days required for care
- the reason for care
Subsidy Eligibility Estimator
Want to know how much of a subsidy you could receive? The province’s estimator will give you an estimate of the subsidy you could receive if you are eligible.
For more information and application details, visit the Child Care Subsidy page.
Healthy Baby Program
Are you pregnant or a new parent? You could get money from the provincial government to buy healthy baby food!
Pregnant individuals and new parents whose family income is less than $32,000 could be eligible for the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit. You can call 204-945-1301 (Winnipeg) or toll-free at 1-888-848-0140 for more information.
Pregnant individuals and parents/caregivers of babies who are less than one year old can also access free drop-in groups to get information and support on healthy pregnancies and babies. Visit www.gov.mb.ca/healthychild/healthybaby or call 204-945-1301 (Winnipeg) or toll-free at 1-888-848-0140 for more information.
Employment and Income Assistance
Employment and Income Assistance (EIA)
The Employment and Income Assistance Program (EIA) provides assistance for off reserve Manitoba residents who have no other way to support themselves or their families. This can include benefits from the Rent Assist Program to help with housing costs. For those who are able to work, EIA will help by providing supports to obtain employment.
In order to qualify for the EIA, you must live off reserve in Manitoba and the total cost of your or your family’s monthly basic needs and housing costs must be more than your total financial resources (eligible income and assets).
EIA is split into three categories of eligibility:
EIA provides help with things such as:
- food, clothing, personal, and household needs
- basic dental, optical, and prescription drugs
- health-related supplies or equipment not provided by other programs (requests for these items are reviewed by the Disability and Health Supports Unit)
- supports to help find and start a job
EIA provides additional benefits to cover extra costs for people living in remote or northern regions of Manitoba.
For more information, please visit the EIA webpage or call 204-948-4000 (toll-free at 1-855-944-8111).
EIA – Disability Benefits
Persons with disabilities can receive additional benefits through EIA, including Income Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (IAPD). If prescribed by a health practitioner, persons receiving income assistance may be eligible for:
- Special diets due to medical conditions
- Coverage for transportation or phone costs due to medical needs
- Additional health-related/medical supplies/equipment not covered under any other program
Check out the EIA – Disability page and/or the Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities page for more information Go to or or Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (EAPD) at www.gov.mb.ca/wd/ites/vrmanual/ for more information.
Manitoba Rent Assist
Rent Assist is a financial benefit for two groups of off reserve Manitoba residents:
1. Those receiving EIA and have housing costs:
Rent Assist will be included with their monthly EIA payments. The amount of the Rent Assist benefit for people receiving EIA is based on factors, such as the cost of their rental, cost of monthly mortgage payments and other fees for those who own their own home, the number of family household members, if they live in Manitoba housing, receive subsidized housing benefits, and utility costs if they are included in the rent.
2. Low-income Manitoba residents who are renting or paying room and board in unsubsidized housing:
The amount they would receive from Rent Assist depends on the number of people in the household and the total household income.
To check for eligibility, you can use the Rent Assist Estimator tool.
Visit the Rent Assist page for more information or if you are currently receiving EIA, call 204-948-4000 or 1-866-559-6778 (toll-free). If you are not receiving EIA currently, call 204-948-7368 or 1-877-587-6224 (toll-free).
Manitoba 55 Plus Program
The 55 PLUS Program is a Manitoba Income Supplement which provides benefits on a quarterly basis (every three months) to lower-income off reserve residents of Manitoba 55 years of age and over. Benefits are mailed four times a year, in late April, July, October, and January.
Coverage and Eligibility
The maximum benefit is $161.80 (every three months) for a single person and $173.90 to each eligible person in a married or common-law relationship.
55 PLUS Junior Component – Partial benefits are available to single people with an annual income of up to $9,746.40 and couples with an annual family income up to $16,255.20.
55 PLUS Senior Component – Benefits are based on family composition, net family income, and the type and level of benefits you receive under the federal Old Age Security program.
If your income is slightly above the maximum, you may apply anyway as there are some allowable deductions from your gross income.
Applicants may be eligible if they are 55 years of age or older, live in Manitoba, have a valid Manitoba Health registration number, and an income within the determined range. Eligibility is based on the previous year’s income reported on your tax return.
Visit the Manitoba 55 PLUS Program for more information, or call 204-948-7368 (toll-free at 1-877-587-6224).
Need Help with EIA?
If you feel that you have not been treated fairly when applying for the EIA program or when receiving services, you can reach out for help with the Fair Practices Office. The Fair Practices Office (FPO) provides confidential assistance to individuals and families applying for or receiving services from the Department of Families’ programs, who feel they have not been treated fairly – including addressing concerns with the EIA program.
You can also appeal decisions made about EIA eligibility and benefits. The Social Service Appeal Board reviews appeals related to eligibility to the Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities program and other programs offered by the Department of Families.
Not sure how to get started? Check out the Manitoba Residents’ Portal to search for details on provincial programs and services in Manitoba. The portal is organized both by personal situation (e.g., caregiver, rural resident) and by service need (e.g., tax assistance).
You can also consult the Community Unemployed Help Centre, which provides information, assistance, advice, and representation for individuals dealing with the federal government’s Employment Insurance program and Manitoba’s Employment and Income Assistance program. Their services are free of charge!