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Nova Scotians on Income Assistance get to keep their tips

As of May 1, the provincial government longer offsets income assistance payments with self-employed earnings
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As of May 1, the provincial government no longer offsets income assistance payments with self-employed earnings.

This means people will be able to make more income from things like tips, gratuities and commissions, before the government reduces their income assistance payment.

A release from the Nova Scotia government last week explains the changes.

"For some people with disabilities, self-employment is the best option for earning income and maintaining independence," said Brian Aird, of Teamwork Cooperative Self-Employment Services in the release. "This change means that self-employed individuals can keep more money to invest in making their businesses successful."

The income assistance section of the Nova Scotia website lists several income sources that don't affect people's assistance amounts.

This includes GST rebates, money from the National Child Benefit program, and income tax refunds. 

But money from child support payments, pension plans, and regular employment income does affect the amount people can receive.

Wage exemptions were first introduced in the fall 2018, to allow Employment Support and Income Assistance clients to keep more of their income assistance while working. 

"I know my strengths and weaknesses and how my disabilities impact them, and self-employment allows me to manage them successfully," says Sue Chessell, owner of In-Thread-Able Designs, in the release.

"Traditional employment hasn't been able to meet my needs," says Chessel. "But self-employment allows me to be a contributing member of society and improve my standard of living. This change will help me grow my business." 

Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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