Income Assistance Eligibility

Income Assistance Eligibility

The Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Social Assistance Program exists to help on-reserve residents who are unable to financially support themselves or their dependents. Every person living on the reserve has the right to apply for social assistance and to receive a written decision regarding that application.

In order to be eligible to receive social assistance, applicants must meet the conditions and criteria outlined in the MLCN Social Assistance Program Policy Manual.

If you are receiving social assistance, you are responsible for making every effort to become financially self-sufficient by exploring all possible opportunities. Muskeg Lake Cree Nation will provide guidance and support to each person requiring assistance while exploring these opportunities.


Applicants must be living on Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in order to be eligible for Social Assistance. Residency will be determined by:

  • Verification of house number
  • Verification that personal effects and furniture have been moved to the community
  • Verification of registration of children for school
  • Verification from previous landlord
  • Background check

Persons living off the Reserve temporarily and who intend to return will be classified as living on the Reserve. This would specifically include people who have been admitted/sentenced to:

  • A hospital for treatment
  • A shelter for abused women and/or children or other safe place
  • A substance abuse treatment centre
  • A term of incarceration or term of probation, conditional release program, temporary absence program or other condition as required by law (e.g., Healing Lodges, Halfway Houses and Rehabilitation Centres)


Applicants must be adults, aged 18 years or older.

Family Unit

Only the head of a household may apply for Social Assistance. A family unit is considered to be: the individual (if single), the parent(s) and child(ren).

Eligibility and Fully Employable Persons

Persons who are capable of working at least 35 hours per week are considered to be Fully Employable.

Every individual has the responsibility to take employment when it is available and appropriate. The following conditions would make a fully employable person ineligible for Social Assistance:

  • Persons who quit work, except for a verifiable health or other justifiable reason, are not eligible for Social Assistance for a period of at least 4 weeks.
  • Persons who are discharged (fired) from jobs because they did not comply with reasonable job requirements. (Fired with Just Cause) Such persons will not be eligible for Social Assistance for a period of at least 4 weeks.
  • Persons who do not apply for Employment Insurance or who are disqualified from benefits for not complying with Employment Insurance regulations to Employment Insurance Commission.
  • Persons who do not seek employment or do not accept available employment.
  • Persons who refuse reasonable opportunities to take training or upgrading that would improve their chances of employment.

Eligibility and Not Fully Employable Persons

Persons who, due to health or social reasons are unable to work or who are only capable of working part-time or casually will be classified as “Not Fully Employable”. Specific reasons and their requirements include:

  • Health reasons need to be supported by medical documentation (physical and/or psychiatric).
  • In cases with a poor work history and/or social problems and no medical documentation, the file must be approved and reviewed by the Health & Social Development Director for recommendation to the Case Management Team.
  • Disabled persons who are employed at a sheltered workshop (e.g., Cosmpolitan Industries) or an activity centre.
  • Persons aged 50 and over unless they have employment income are seeking full-time employment and consider themselves fully employable.
  • Social reasons that would prevent the individual from working full-time because of the need for them to care for an immediate family member including foster children. Reasonable documentation for this need is required.
  • Persons, recently separated, with children, who require a period of adjustment are eligible to apply for a maximum of 12 weeks of assistance. Members must sign a separation affidavit and begin maintenance procedures.
  • Expectance mothers (medical certificate is required).
  • A parent with a newborn child up to six years should be assessed for continued social assistance.
  • Disability or illness.
  • Where assistance is required because of disability, including stress-related illnesses, relevant medical and social information is obtained. This includes a medical report relating to the ability to function. If the medical report is unclear as to the disability it is up to the client to obtain further clarification from the relevant doctors.
  • Disability/illness shall be the designated category only if no change in the condition is expected for at least one year.

Eligibility and Special Groups:

Single Adults Over 18 Living At Home

  • Single adults still living at home with parents will be eligible to apply for Social Assistance as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Under exceptional circumstances (i.e., rejection)

  • A youth aged 16 or 17 years of age. The decision regarding eligibility will be made on the basis of the Applicant’s ability to functions independently.
  • A youth 16 or 17 living apart from his/her family whether in or out of school, as a result of family breakdown or rejection, are still the responsibility of the parents/guardians or whoever receives their Child Tax Benefit.
  • If a youth is attending school, registration must be verified regularly as a condition of continued eligibility. If a youth is out of school and accepted to be independent, eligibility must be demonstrated the same as any adult (for example seeking employment).

Be a Single Parent Youth and/or Expectant Mother

  • Single pregnant females or single parents under 18 should be considered as a part of his/her family of origin. Assistance would be granted only if need existed for the entire family. A child or children of single parent youth are included in the family unit as their parents.

EXCEPTION: Where the Applicant has been self-supporting in or outside of the parental home, e/she may apply in her/her own right. Under either circumstance, the parent/guardian and the single parent must take a joint application for assistance.

Incarcerated Persons

  • Persons who are incarcerated in a provincial or federal correctional institution are not eligible to receive Social Assistance.
  • Persons under sentence in a community training residence (CTR) may be eligible for an allowance provided that other eligibility criteria are met.
  • Those persons who are under sentence and continue to live on the Reserve shall be eligible.

Persons Seeking Refuge

  • The Muskeg Lake Social Assistance Program will be used to help clients on reserve who seek refuge in a safe place until such time that other arrangements can be made.

Persons Receiving In-patient Care for Palliative or Psychiatric Reason

  • This group of people may be eligible for assistance, subject to assessment.

Post-Secondary Students

  • Members who leave the community to further their education may be eligible to apply for Social Assistance for the months of the year when the student is not taking classes (did not apply for intersession or summer session). The student must not be receiving educational funding from any source (First Nation or Student Loans) during this time and must be returning to classes the following term. Students who have discontinued classes (either by choice or by force) must relocate to the community to be eligible for Social Assistance; otherwise, he/she must apply to the Saskatchewan Social Assistance Plan.

Seasonal Workers

  • This group may become eligible for Social Assistance 4 weeks after the final pay period following the termination of the seasonal work period and only if all other eligibility criteria are met.