By Josh Brandon
If you are a renter in Manitoba paying more than 25 percent of your income in rent, you may be eligible for a benefit of between $20 and $270 per month, thanks to recent changes to a provincial program called Rent Assist.
The Province has just introduced an online calculator on which low-income renters may determine how much of a Rent Assist benefit they are entitled to receive. Starting July 1, 2014, this program provides a benefit up to $270 dollars per month. It replaces an earlier program called RentAid that provided a maximum benefit of up to $230.
The changes in the program were introduced in parallel with recent increases to the Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) shelter benefit.
Aside from the increase in assistance available, this program expands coverage, including adults with no kids and without a disability for the first time. Families with kids, adults with disabilities and seniors are also eligible. Households in Manitoba Housing or receiving EIA are not eligible.
The amount of the benefit depends on family size, income and rent costs. For a family of four, the benefit cuts off with an annual income of $34,223, while for individuals, benefits cut off at $24,287.
For the working poor, rising rents in Manitoba have been a significant drain on household budgets. This new benefit program can help offset those costs.
To find out if you are eligible go online at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/jec/eia/rentassist/estimator.html
Further information about the Rent Assist program is available on the government of Manitoba’s website: http://www.gov.mb.ca/jec/eia/rentassist/index.html