Income Assistance Program

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This program provides financial assistance to Northwest Territories (NWT) residents to help meet basic and enhanced needs. The program encourages and supports greater self-reliance to improve the quality of lives.

Available Funding

Funding is based on the size of family and community, for food, community cost adjustment, clothing, and furnishings. The program provides assistance with shelter and utilities, based on actual amounts. Allowances for seniors and persons living with disabilities are also available to eligible residents.

As of April 1, 2023, additional income received from Indigenous Governments will be exempted from the calculation of Income Assistance benefits in a further step towards reconciliation. Included in the exemption of additional income:

  • Monies received from Self-Government Agreements, Treaty Agreements, Land Claim Agreements, Impact Benefit Agreements;
  • Monies received from Residential School Settlement, Indian Day School Settlement, or the Sixties Scoop Settlement; 
  • Monies received on behalf of an applicant’s dependants through Jordan’s Principle and the Inuit Child First Initiative;
  • Monies received through Agricultural Benefits for Indigenous Governments; and
  • Other monies received from Indigenous Governments, as determined by the Director of Income Security Programs. 

Clients must continue to report the above income on their monthly applications. If clients are uncertain about how these changes may impact their Income Assistance benefits, they are encouraged to speak to a Client Services Officer at their local or regional ECE Service Centre


Income Assistance is a month to month program, applicants must apply and provide all required documents during a given month. Applications would need to be received by the end of the month.


This program is designed for: 

  • NWT residents who are 19 years of age or older
  • Have a need greater than their income
  • Participate in a productive choice, unless they are exempt. Productive Choices could include: wage employment, career planning, education and training, volunteer community work, traditional activities, parenting, caring for an adult family member, or wellness activities.

How to Apply

To apply, complete an application for income assistance and provide identification and information on your finances to a local ECE Service Centre.

A Client Services Officer at your local ECE Service Centre can help you complete your application.

Related Links

Income Assistance - Handbook (Plain Language)

Service Standards

Social Assistance Act

Income Assistance Regulations

Income Assistance Policy Manual