Learn Single Parent Benefits Alberta

Benefits Available for Single Parents in Alberta

Alberta is known as one of the most affordable places for everyday living expenses in Canada. It also has the benefit of a medium-income that is higher than the national average.

These two factors combined make Alberta quite an excellent place to live in. However, when you're a single parent, you know well that statistics don't always apply. Raising children on a single income is challenging.

If there's one thing you can be sure of as a parent, it's that unexpected costs and tense situations will appear more frequently than you had imagined.

Single parents in Alberta must juggle a wide array of expenses, even if we only consider the regular monthly costs. Apart from housing, utilities, food, and costs for clothing and transport, having children also brings costs connected to medical issues, education, entertainment. Let's not forget the problem of having someone take care of your child while you are working.

If you're a single parent in Alberta, you know how important it is to receive a helping hand, a type of financial aid that you can rely on every year.

Below, we will go through every kind of benefit you can receive in Alberta, as local authorities have programs covering the essential aspects of providing for a child.

Alberta Child Health Benefit

Alberta provides financial help for low-income families to cover unavoidable health expenses when they have children.

The Alberta Child Health Benefit even covers services that are additional to the standard scheme. The program is designed for the primary and most frequent medical problems families with children encounter at every age.

Dental care is one of the most critical issues with children and is usually pretty expensive. If you receive child health benefits, you will have access to dental exams, X-rays, fillings, extractions, as well as teeth cleaning.

Eyecare is also covered, including eye exams every year and new eyeglasses when necessary. Prescription drugs are another recurring expense if you're a single parent. This health plan covers a wide variety and a few vitamins and other OTC supplements children usually need.

The lists of drugs that this program covers are available online or at your doctor's office. It's a good idea to check the list when your child has a health problem because you may also have to pay for part of the treatment yourself.

While some costs are not included, if your child needs the ambulance service or is diabetic and needs supplies every month, these are covered.

As for the requirements that your family must meet to qualify, your children's age should be under 18; but even if they are 18 or 19, they can still be covered if they are in high school and living with you.

You and your family must meet a few other requirements to qualify for the Alberta Child Health Benefit. You must be Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status in Canada and physically live in Alberta.

The Alberta Child Health Benefit cannot be cumulated with certain other benefits, so to qualify, you can't be receiving health benefits from other government programs (i.e., Income Support, Child and Youth Support Program, AISH, etc.).

You also have to make sure you meet the net household income guidelines we present below.

Family

Maximum income

 Single adult  $16,580
 1 adult + 1 child  $26,023
 1 adult + 2 children  $31,010
 1 adult + 3 children  $36,325
 1 adult + 4 children*  $41,957
 Couple, no children  $23,212
 Couple + 1 child  $31,237
 Couple + 2 children  $36,634
 Couple + 3 children  $41,594
 Couple + 4 children*

 $46,932

*For each additional child, add $4,973

If you want to apply for this program and have already checked to see if you are eligible, the next step is to fill out the Alberta Child Health Benefit application form.

There are two sections you need to make sure you sign and date: My Declaration and Consent for Canada Revenue Agency. Once you have correctly filled the form, you must submit it, either by fax (the number is 780 415 8386) or mail, to the Health Benefits Contact Centre.

If everything is in order and your application is approved, make sure to check your mail to see when your health benefits card arrives. On it, you will see the name and identification number of each of your children.

This card is essential, as you will have to show it every time you use a service covered by the Alberta Child Health Benefit program. So, every time you take your children to the doctor, dentist, optician, pharmacist, or if you need to use an ambulance, you must have the card with you.

It's also essential to know that your family income will be reviewed once a month with the Canada Revenue Agency. If nothing has changed, your enrolment will be automatically renewed.

Alberta Child and Family Benefit

The Alberta Child and Family Benefit provides financial assistance to families living on low and middle income and have children under 18. The program's goal is to ensure these families can provide adequate living conditions to their children.

The program was created in July 2020 by consolidating the Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) into a single program funded by the government.

For single parents that work and have a steady income, it offers a tax-free sum to provide financial assistance to families with low and middle-income families with children under 18 years.

One of the main advantages of this financial aid is that there is no application process; it is granted automatically as long as the requirements are met.

With the two programs being combined into one, you can still be automatically considered, as long as you make sure to file your tax return and meet the Canada Child Benefit program's requirements that the government is running.

There are a few conditions that you must meet to be eligible:

• You must have one or more children under the age of 18
• Be an Alberta resident
• Filing a tax return is mandatory
• You must also meet the income requirements

The amount you will receive depends on your income level and how many children under the age of 18 you have.

Number of children

Base component (max.)

Working component (max.)

1 child

$1,330

$681

2 children

$1,995

$1,301

3 children

$2,660

$1,672

4 or more children

$3,325

$1,795

There are two components to the Alberta Child and Family Benefit, and you can qualify for one or both, depending on your income. The base component is the part of the benefit you will receive regardless if you are employed and receive a salary; it's the part of the benefit designed to help low-income families.

The other part of the benefit, the working component, is only accessible to working families who receive employment income. The government's goal is to encourage parents to become employed by adding this encouraging component to the program.

As for the application process, when you file your annual tax return, you will be automatically taken into account for the Alberta Child and Family Benefit, as long as you also qualify for the Canada Child Benefit federal program.

If you need to apply for the Canada Child Benefit, you can submit your application online.

Child and Youth Support Program

To be efficient, support programs need to consider all the situations a family can face, as circumstances can differ massively. The Child and Youth Support Program was created to provide to children who, for different reasons, cannot live with their parents and are in the care of a guardian with whom they live full-time.

When the child lives in the caregiver's home, the program covers the child's financial and medical benefits for their health and good living. Such situations happen when the parent or the guardian is either unable or refuses to take care of the child.

If you are in such a situation, you can benefit from financial aid to ensure decent conditions for the child you care for. Of course, there are some requirements; you must have private guardianship, the child must attend school, and their parents cannot live in the same house as you.

This aid is strictly provided as an alternative when the biological or adoptive parents cannot or refuse to take care of their children. If you are looking for support for your children, this is not the program you must apply for.

To be eligible for these benefits, the child and the caregiver need to meet the following requirements:

• They must present a letter of consent written by the child's parents or guardians, stating that they agree that the caregiver will be responsible for the minor.
• If there is no such letter, the caregiver must have private guardianship of the child.
• The child must be younger than 18 when the application is submitted.
• The child's income must be within limits imposed by the financial guidelines of the program.
• The child/youth must either be attending school, attending a full-time training program, or working full-time.
• The child needs to live with the caregiver every day of the week.
• The parent or guardian who either declared themselves unable or refused to care for the child must not reside in the same home as the caregiver.
• As for the caregiver, they cannot live on-reserve (if they do, they need to turn to the Child Out of parental Home Program).

The value you should expect to receive will be calculated according to the child's age and on the income received on their behalf.

The basic benefit is as follows:

• For children between 0 and 11 years, it can go up to $105 per month
• For children between 12 and 17 years, it can go up to $148 per month

Child Care Subsidy Program

The Child Care Subsidy Program offers financial help in the form of subsidies for families with low and middle income; the funds are meant to cover their children's enrollment in authorized care centers.

Managing to keep a full-time job while raising children is always challenging, as they need constant supervision, and this program was designed to help with this situation.

If you are a single parent and need to leave your child at a daycare center or other facility type while working, this program will help you with the expenses. But the facility must be a licensed daycare center, a group family child care, an approved family day home, or an out-of-school care center.

The exact amount depends on a few aspects, like your child's age, your income, and the type of facility you use. Here are the amounts you should expect to receive if you are eligible:

Maximum Daycare and Out of School Care Rates

Income

Infant (under 18 months)

Preschooler (19 months to 1st grade)

School-age (grade 1 to 6)

$0 to $49,999

$741

$644

$366

$50,000 to $54,999

$704

$612

$348

$55,000 to $59,999

$630

$547

$311

$60,000 to $64,999

$556

$483

$275

$65,000 to $69,999

$482

$419

$238

$70,000 to $74,999

$408

$354

$201

Maximum Family Day Homes and Group Family Care Centers Rates

Income

Infant (under 18 months)

Preschooler (19 months to 1st grade)

School age (grade 1 to 6)

$0 to $49,999

$614

$516

$366

$50,000 to $54,999

$583

$490

$348

$55,000 to $59,999

$522

$439

$311

$60,000 to $64,999

$461

$387

$275

$65,000 to $69,999

$399

$335

$238

$70,000 to $74,999

$338

$284

$201

As long as your child is under 12 years of age, you can qualify for the child care subsidy. It will even cover extended hours to fit your schedule, and the amount is adjusted during the summer months when your child doesn't go to school.

The extended hour subsidy was created for families with well-founded reasons for using child care outside the usual working hours (6 AM to 6 PM) or during the weekend. Apart from the child care subsidy, these families can get an extra $100/month for every child.

Two requirements must be met for the extended hour subsidy to be granted: they must use a licensed program that has to be approved to provide extra hours of care. The child has to stay in the care facility for at least four extended hours for the family to qualify.

To be eligible for a child care subsidy, you must meet the following requirements:

• You or the child who is benefiting from the care facilities must be Canadian citizens and live in Canada.
• You have to be a resident of Alberta.
• You must be in one of the next situations: working, attending school, trying to find employment, or you or your child have special needs.
• Your children must not be over 12 years of age and must attend school at a lower level than Grade 7.
• There must be a secured spot for your children in a licensed daycare, out-of-school facility, an approved family day home, or group family child care program.
• Your family's income must not be over $75,000 per year.

An essential part of qualifying for this program is finding eligible child care services. You will want one that is licensed, but, most importantly, that it's a place that provides a healthy and safe environment for your child. It must be a place where children receive all the necessary support to develop on all levels according to their age.

To find a suitable child care facility, you can start by asking your friends for references. If that doesn't work, you can turn to the local Children's Services office and get the list of child care programs you can choose from. Before making a decision, there are a few factors you need to consider:

• Your child's age, the activities they enjoy, and the special requirements they have, like allergies
• How many children you want your child to be around
• Your work schedule
• The location and cost of the care facility

When you find a facility that seems fit, go there in person and check if they meet the essential requirements.

If you want to estimate your child care subsidy, you can use the online estimator, which can help you determine if you qualify and your subsidy's value. To get the estimate, you will have to enter the following pieces of information: your marital status, how many children you have and their ages, your regional child and family services authority, and whether you also need the extended hour subsidy.

You can apply for the child care subsidy online by submitting the Child Care Subsidy Application. Once you send your application, you also need to submit the CRA Consent Applicant Declaration and Acknowledgement form.

After you apply, you can receive a conditional subsidy for two months, if you meet certain conditions, while your application is being processed and approved. Once approved, you will get a letter mentioning the subsidy start and end date and the amount you will receive.

Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD)

The Family Support for Children with Disabilities program offers eligible families support and services to cover the child's particular needs and their family.

If you qualify for the FSCD, the support you will get is quite comprehensive; you will receive useful information, counseling, specialized services, and help with every stage your child goes through.

The financial help will cover special clothes or shoes your child may need, specific medication, supplies, and medical costs. It also pays for expenses related to medical appointments and moments when you and your child must be away from home for reasons connected to their health. You will have a meeting with an FSCD worker to take care of the needs assessment.

You will get support from people who understand the needs and the challenges of a family dealing with a disability. Your plan will be customized to your specific situation after an initial assessment.

As for the eligibility requirements, apart from the age and location aspects, you will also need to provide documents containing the diagnosis and proving that your child has a disability or a condition that needs special care daily.

To qualify for the FSCD program, you must meet the following conditions:

• You must have a child younger than 18 living with a disability
• Your child has to be a Canadian citizen or at least a permanent resident
• The child must live in Alberta
• Only the child's parent or guardian can apply for the program

Apart from the conditions above, you must also provide documentation proving that your child has a:

• Diagnosed disability, due to a developmental, physical, sensory, mental or neurological issue, and/or
• A health problem that doesn't allow them to handle the daily activities like eating, walking, dressing and cleaning themselves, socializing with others, playing, or taking care of problems that may appear

To apply for the FSCD program, you must fill out an online application using myAlbertaSupports.ca, prepare the medical documentation related to your child's disability, and send your application to the nearest FSCD office in person, by mail, or in an email.

After you apply, an FSCD worker will contact you in about two weeks to let you know if your child is eligible and if you need to provide any extra information.

Alberta's Income Support Program

The Alberta's Income Support program is designed to help Alberta residents who cannot ensure their basic monthly food, shelter, and clothing needs.

The amount depends on the particular situation, but it's meant to help people who cannot work temporarily or permanently for various reasons. It can be while someone is looking for work or working, but their income is insufficient to cover the basic needs.

It's also aimed at people who cannot work for a short period due to an accident, for example, or those who cannot work at all because of chronic health problems or other severe issues. It can also provide help to someone while they complete a form of training to become employed.

You can also rely on income support after a significant adverse event or emergency that you didn't cause, like a fire or being forced to vacate your apartment. As long as your low or no income situation is temporary or out of your hands due to a chronic illness or external factors preventing you from earning your existence, you will receive assistance. To be eligible for the income support program, you must meet these conditions:

• You must either be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a refugee
• You must live in Alberta
• You must be over 18 years old
• You must be financially unable to provide your basic needs
• Your income and assets cannot be over $5,000 in RRSPs per adult and $10,000 equity in vehicles
• You cannot have any income higher than what you receive from income support benefits
• Your cash or savings cannot be over the liquid asset limit (which is usually three times the value of the income support benefit)
• You must accept to apply for other programs you may qualify for (like Employer Insurance)
• You must accept to offer financial information for all the members of your household
• You must work with an income support worker on a plan to improve your situation

The benefits you can get depend on your particular situation and needs, whether you can work, and how many members are in your family. But to get an idea of what you may qualify for, these are the available benefits:

• Basic costs like food, shelter, and clothes
• Childcare
• Special diets
• Utility connection fees
• Expenses related to work
Unanticipated emergencies
• Costs connected to getting away from family violence
• School expenses for your children
• Health benefits
• Employment services
• Assistance to be able to access child support

To apply for the Income Support program, you must fill out the application. You can do that online or get a paper application from the nearest Alberta Supports or Alberta Works Centre.

After you apply, you will have a meeting with an Income Support worker to analyze your additional documents. After that, the application will take up to two weeks to be processed.

Summary

As seen above, the provincial benefits available in Alberta are quite diverse. The goal is to cover the major issues a single parent with low-to-moderate income usually faces.

Raising children on a single income is typically difficult; if you also add unexpected expenses and negative turns of events that can prevent you from working for a while, the situation can become critical.

That's why we have put together this list of programs that can truly improve your financial situation. The amount for each benefit may not be huge, but many of them can be combined, and the result is a significant financial load taken off your shoulders.

As long as you stay informed and make sure you apply for every program you qualify for, your life will turn at least a bit easier. The struggles of bringing up children as a single parent remain, but lowering the financial stress are no small matter.

Government and provincial benefits can help you save your energy for other matters, so you can have a better living situation and manage to enjoy your little one's childhood.

It's still possible to need a helping hand at some point for extra expenses that the benefits cannot cover. Unexpected costs may appear at any moment, and they don't distinguish between people living on a salary and those living on government benefits.

If for whatever reason, you need a quick cash infusion to get back on your feet until the next check comes along, you can turn to iCASH. Lenders like us provide great lending options to Alberta residents even if their income comes from government benefits.

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