As we find ourselves in the midst of a province wide lockdown in Nova Scotia due to the third wave of Covid 19, the financial stress is mounting. With many businesses closed, many people are finding themselves without income. Many people live paycheque to paycheque, so this lack of income can have severe financial consequences. Unfortunately, many of the programs that were previously available to defer payments to financial institutions are no longer as readily available. However, we encourage you to contact your creditors to ask for help given the current circumstances. Beyond that – the money for the essentials of life – housing and food – are of course the priority. There are some government programs in place to help.
Canadian Recovery Sick Benefits
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period. If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 4 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021
Eligibility for EI Benefits as changed due to Covid 19. One key change is that the waiting period has been waived. If you are laid off you should apply as soon as possible. The hours required for eligibility has been reduced and the number of weeks EI can be collected have also changed. The temporary minimum amount of EI is $500.00 per week. The maximum EI is $595.00 per week (based on earnings).
Nova Scotia Paid Sick Leave
On May 12, 2021 the Nova Scotia government announced a program for 4 paid sick leave days for employees and self-employed individuals. These sick leave days are for meant to complement the CRSB program. They are for people who cannot work remotely and miss less than 50% of the scheduled work time in a one week period due to COVID-19. The applicable period is May 10 – July 31, 2021. This program is for both employed and self-employed individuals and is for a maximum of 4 days at a rate of pay up to $20 per hour. The application forms for employers to be reimbursed for paying these sick days is scheduled to be available on May 26, 2021. There are certain criteria that must be met to be eligible for this program.
Food Bank Support
Food insecurity is a reality for many Nova Scotians at the best of times, but has become even more an issue in the current environment. If you are facing a food shortage – seek help. Call 211 and they can direct on where to get help direct from Feed Nova Scotia or your local food bank. On May 10, 2021 the government announced additional funding to the address this very important issue. In my experience, many people are hesitant to utilize these programs – but they are there for a reason and I encourage you to reach out for the help the help that is there if you need it.
Hopefully in the coming weeks we will see things improve and see businesses able to open their doors again and employees return to work. Despite the programs that exist, we know that many people are struggling as the help is not enough or a match to their situation. If you have questions in regard to debt that you are unable to manage – please feel free to contact us via email [email protected] or telephone 1-855-733-3032.