Employment and Income Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Employment and Income Assistance program (EIA)?

    The Employment and Income Assistance Program, also called the EIA program, is run by the Department of Family Services (a provincial government department).  The EIA program is a program of last resort.  It gives Manitobans temporary help when they have no other way to support themselves and look after their health and well-being.

    For Manitobans who can work, EIA’s main goal is to help them get back to work, if possible.  In return, those taking part in the program must follow program rules.

    Helpful Links & Resources:

    For more information read our Guide to Employment & Income Assistance in Manitoba: https://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Welfare-Guide.pdf

    You can also contact EIA staff, or visit an EIA service location. Find a location near you.

    List of Service locations in Winnipeg

    List of Service locations outside of Winnipeg

  • What can EIA help me pay for?

    EIA can help you pay for rent or your damage deposits. If you own your home, EIA can help pay the mortgage and tax arrears, but they will want you to pay them back when you sell your house. EIA can also help with minor repairs to your house. EIA can also help you pay to fix appliances, buy furniture or bedding, pay for moving costs or school costs for children under the age of 18.

    If you have started a new job, EIA can help you buy clothing for work. EIA can help pay for transportation costs to get you to and from work. They can subsidize your childcare. If your job requires it, you may be eligible to have a phone included in your allowable work expenses.

    EIA can provide additional assistance if you are pregnant or have a newborn child.  EIA offers some coverage for dental, medical, and eyeglasses expenses.

    For more information, check out Community Legal Education Association’s Welfare Guide.

    Or contact EIA by phone.

    List of Service locations in Winnipeg

    List of Service locations outside of Winnipeg

  • Who can apply for EIA?

    All Manitobans can apply for EIA. People who are married or in a common-law relationship must apply for EIA together. For EIA purposes, you are in a common-law relationship once you have lived together with another adult for 3 months, share money and living expenses with them, share a family with them, and share a social life as a couple.

    If you want to apply for EIA, or have questions, contact EIA or visit an EIA service location. Find a location near you.

    List of Service locations in Winnipeg

    List of Service locations outside of Winnipeg

  • How do I know if I need help from EIA?

    EIA benefits are often called social assistance or welfare.  You need social assistance or welfare if you do not have enough money to meet your basic needs and those of others in your household.

    EIA has a number of categories to determine eligibility, including seniors over 65 years old, people with disabilities, single parents, and minors in the care of someone other than a parent. EIA also has a “general” category for people in need of assistance who do not fall into one of the other categories.

    You do not need to wait until everything that you own is gone before you apply for assistance. You can apply for assistance even when you are not sure if you qualify.

    Next steps:

    If you want to apply for income assistance or have questions, please call 204-948-2888 (in Winnipeg) or 1-855-944-8111 (Rural and North), or email at

    Emergency support may be available after-hours if you have a crisis that cannot wait until regular business hours. For emergency support, please call:

    • Phone: 204-945-0183
    • Toll Free: 1-866-559-6778
    • TTY: 1-800-855-0511 (Manitoba Relay Service)
  • How do I apply for EIA?

    First, you will need to contact EIA to set-up an appointment. EIA will invite you to attend a Pre-Intake Orientation (PIO), they will also set-up an Intake Appointment for you.

    The Pre-intake Orientation will give you information about how to fill out your EIA application and will provide you with a package containing an application, job plan forms, checklists and other materials. You should fill out these forms on your own time and bring them with you to your Intake Appointment.

    During your Intake Appointment an EIA worker will go over your information and decide if you qualify for social assistance or not.

    If you are married or in a common-law relationship, you and your partner must apply for EIA together.

    Next Steps:

    More information about your application is available online.

    Contact EIA to set-up an appointment or ask questions:

    • (204) 948-4000 (in Winnipeg)
    • 1-877-812-0014 (outside Winnipeg)
    • 1-800-855-0511 (if you are deaf or hard of hearing)

    If you want, you can ask a friend or family member to help you talk with EIA.

  • How do I apply for EIA disability?

    If you have a long-term physical or mental disability (lasting longer than 90 days) that keeps you from earning enough income to pay for your needs, you may be eligible for EIA under the disability category. You will have to provide evidence of your disability, such as a doctor’s note. A panel will decide whether you qualify.

    If you do not qualify for EIA under the disability category, you may still qualify under another category.

    EIA also provides assistance with helping disabled individuals find work. For more information, email or call:

      • Winnipeg: (204) 945-0575
      • Outside Winnipeg: 1-866-332-5077
      • TTY/TDD Relay Service: 711 or 1-800-855-0511
  • What do I bring to my intake appointment for EIA?

    Bring:

    • Two pieces of identification (ID). If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they must also bring two pieces of ID. If you have children you must bring one piece of ID for each child.
      • Acceptable ID include birth certificates, passport, social insurance number (SIN) cards, First Nation status cards (Treaty card), driver’s licence, immigration documents, Manitoba enhanced identification card, Manitoba enhanced driver’s licence, any other photo ID.
    • To get health coverage you must bring your Manitoba Health Card and Personal Health Identification number (PHIN)
    • If you rent, bring a copy of your lease or rental agreement, and recent utility bills
    • If you own a house bring a copy of your mortgage papers, house insurance papers, property tax statement, lot rental receipts, condo fee receipts, recent utility bills, and land title form
    • If you are an adult student, bring confirmation of attendance and progress, proof of enrollment, copy of report card, current attendance record, sponsorship funding information;
    • Bank statements for the last two months for each bank account you have, your spouse has, or your common-law partner has
    • Proof of your income. This includes:
      • Recent pay stubs from a job you have, or recently worked at
      • Proof of pension earnings
      • Proof of payment from Employment Insurance (EI), Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), Workers Compensation Board (WCB), or other insurance benefits
      • Inheritances or winnings received
      • Child or spousal support payments
      • Rent to room and board paid to you
    • Proof of assets you own. This includes ownership documents for
      • Cars, boats or other vehicles you own
      • Houses, land, trailers or cottages you own
      • Equipment or inventory for a business, farm or fishing operation you own
      • Funeral plan or trust fund
      • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
      • Cash, bank accounts
      • Investments, bonds
      • Insurance policies
      • If you own a business you will have to bring proof ownership, business bank account statements and proof of company assets
    • If you have transferred property to someone in the last five years, bring copies of those documents.
    • If you have declared bankruptcy in the past 5 years, bring copies of those documents.

    You may also be asked to provide the following:

    • Confirmation that you have applied for Employment Insurance Benefits.
      • You can get this at 391 York Avenue, Winnipeg or by telephone (toll free 1-800-206-7218);
    • If you are on probation or parole: copy of Probation/Parole Recognizance Order;
    • If you are pregnant: a doctor’s letter stating your due date;
    • If you are on a special diet (for example., you’re diabetic), or under therapeutic counselling: a letter from your doctor telling about your condition;
    • If you are leaving your job for medical reasons: a doctor’s note saying that you need to leave your job and when you are expected to be able to return to work.

    If you don’t have all the documents you need, the intake worker might ask you go and get them and then come back for another appointment.

  • Is there someone who can help me apply for EIA?

    Community programs may be able to help you with your application. For example, if you are a newcomer to Canada, Settlement Services with Immigrant Centre can help give you information about the EIA application process. The Community Unemployed Help Centre is another resource that helps people with the EIA process.  You can also contact Legal Aid’s Advocacy Unit.

    Resources:

  • How can I get emergency assistance?

    If you find yourself suddenly unable to meet your basic needs and cannot wait to apply for assistance, you may be eligible for short term emergency assistance (lasting no more than 14 days). Emergency assistance could include bus tickets, a food voucher, shelter, and medication. You may be able to receive emergency assistance even if you are not able to apply for EIA normally, but this depends on circumstances.

    If you have a crisis that cannot wait until regular business hours, you can call EIA:

    • (204) 945-0183 (24-hour line)
    • 1-866-559-6778 (toll-free outside Winnipeg)
    • 1-800-855-0511 (Manitoba Relay Service)
  • Who will be accepted to EIA?

    If you don’t have enough money or assets to meet your basic needs you may be financially eligible to receive EIA.

    You must also fall into one of the following groups. You must be

    • 65 or older, or
    • A person with a disability, or
    • A single parent, or
    • A minor or child, or
    • A person who has a dependant in need of special care
    • Special cases (for example if you are under 18 and live on your own)
    • A person who requires protection and resides in a crisis intervention centre
    • General Assistance, if you don’t fall within any of the other categories you may fit into general assistance category.
  • What factors can affect my benefit amount?

    The benefit amount is based on your need. EIA will look at your income and assets, if this is less than your basic needs expenses you may be eligible for help. The number of people in your household, their income and their needs will also factor in to your benefit amount. Benefit amounts are set by the Employment and Income Assistance Act and Regulation.

    Having an outstanding warrant can also affect your eligibility or affect your benefit amount. EIA encourages you to deal with outstanding warrants as soon as possible. For example, if you are a single person and have an outstanding warrant you may not be eligible for benefits. If you have multiple people in your household and an outstanding warrant, your benefit amount may be reduced.

    Contact EIA staff with any questions.

    List of Service locations in Winnipeg

    List of Service locations outside of Winnipeg

  • How does EIA calculate the cost of my basic needs?

    EIA will look at the number of people in your household, their ages, medical costs, shelter costs, and other specific costs, if applicable. If the total cost of your basic needs is more than your income and assets, you may be eligible for EIA benefits. Benefit amounts are set by the Employment and Income Assistance Act and Regulation.

  • What is not included as income when applying for EIA?

    EIA looks at your total income and other financial resources to decide if you qualify. There are certain things they will not consider. Some of these are:

    • Your home, automobile, and other essential property
    • Liquid assets up to $4,000 per person ($16,000 maximum per family)
    • The first $200 of your net monthly earnings
    • Canada Child Benefit
    • Tax credit refunds
    • Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)
    • Earnings of children (under 18) who are in school or a full-time EIA-approved program
    • Manitoba Prenatal Benefits Program benefits
    • Occasional gifts, up to $100 per month per person in the family
    • Gifts up to $500 per month from friends/family if you have a disability

    For more information, check out Community Legal Education Association’s Welfare Guide:

    Contact EIA by phone.

    List of Service locations in Winnipeg

    List of Service locations outside of Winnipeg

  • What if I forgot to declare income to EIA?

    Once you start receiving EIA benefits, you have a duty to immediately report any changes in your financial situation to EIA. If you have forgotten to include some of your income or financial assets in your application, you should notify EIA immediately.

    If EIA issues an overpayment to you, you have a duty to pay it back. If the overpayment was because of incorrect information you provided, EIA can enforce repayment by reducing your future EIA payments, reducing the amount of your tax refunds, or putting a lien on your property.

  • Once I qualify for EIA, what are my ongoing responsibilities?

    You will have to complete an Annual Review once a year to show that you are still eligible for EIA. You are expected to make reasonable efforts to use all other financial resources available to you. This may include seeking federal benefits, child support or spousal support payments, pension benefits, or insurance benefits that you might be entitled to.

    Once you start receiving EIA benefits, you have a duty to immediately report any changes in your financial situation to EIA. If you have forgotten to include some of your income or financial assets in your application, you should notify EIA immediately.

    If EIA issues an overpayment to you, you have a duty to payback the overpayment. If the overpayment was because of incorrect information you provided, EIA can enforce repayment by reducing your future EIA payments, reducing the amount of your tax refunds, or putting a lien on your property. There are programs in place to help you with repaying overpayments. Contact EIA for more information.

    If you have any questions about the terms or expectations that apply to you, contact a local service location near you.

    Local service locations in Winnipeg are listed here:

    http://www.manitoba.ca/fs/misc/loc/winnipeg.html

    Service locations outside of Winnipeg are listed here:

    https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/misc/loc/ruralnorthern.html

  • Do I have to seek other financial support (such as child or spousal support) in order to remain on EIA?

    To continue receiving EIA, you must make reasonable efforts to use all financial resources available to you. Depending on your situation, this may include child and spousal support.

  • What happens if someone moves in with me while I am on EIA?

    Changes to your personal situation may affect your eligibility for EIA, or the amount of the payments you are eligible to receive. Because of the effect personal changes could have on your EIA status, you have a duty to inform EIA of any changes to your personal situation as soon as possible.


    Contact a local service location near you.

    List of Service locations in Winnipeg

    List of Service locations outside of Winnipeg

  • Who can I contact if my EIA has been reduced or if I have not been approved for Employment Insurance (EI)?

    Community Unemployed Help Centre provides information and help for people who are dealing with EIA programs. They can be reached by phone at (204) 942-6556 or toll-free at 1-866-942-6556, or by email at . There is no charge for their services.

    If you qualify for Legal Aid, you may also get help from the Public Interest Law Centre’s Advocacy Unit. They can be contacted by phone at (204) 985-8540 or toll-free at 1-800-261-2960.

  • How can I appeal decisions made by EIA?

    If EIA denies your application, you will receive a letter telling you this and telling you why you were denied. This letter will also explain how to appeal EIA’s decision. If you wish to appeal their decision, you must do so within 30 days of receiving the letter.

    To appeal the decision:

    • Either write a letter or fill out a Notice of Appeal explaining why you feel the decision was wrong and why you feel you are entitled to assistance.
    • Make sure you sign the letter/Notice of Appeal.
    • Include your name, address, and a phone number where messages can be left.
    • Mail, fax, or drop off the letter/Notice of Appeal to the Social Services Appeal Board:
      • The Social Services Appeal Board
      • 7th Floor, 175 Hargrave Street
      • Winnipeg, MB R3C 3R8
      • Phone: (204) 945-3003 or (204) 945-3005
      • TTY: 204-948-2037
      • Toll Free (outside Winnipeg): 1-800-282-8069
      • Fax: (204) 945-1736

    You can use this same process to appeal other EIA decisions, for example if your payments have been reduced or suspended. If you have any other questions about the appeal process, contact the Social Services Appeal Board. Legal Aid Manitoba’s Advocacy Unit or The Community Unemployed Help Centre, a non-profit agency, may also be able to help with your appeal.

    Resources:

  • EIA overpaid me, do I have to pay them back?

    You will have to repay any overpayment you received from EIA even if the overpayment was EIA’s mistake. If EIA thinks you didn’t know you were getting an overpayment, they may not ask you to repay it. EIA will reduce the amount of your monthly payments until the overpayment is paid back. The rate of monthly deductions depends on the size of your household:

    • 1 person: $50
    • 2 persons: $70
    • 3 persons or more: $90

    You can negotiate with EIA if these pay back amounts are causing you undue hardship.

  • What if I have a legal problem while on EIA?

    You may be able to get help from Legal Aid Manitoba. Legal Aid Manitoba will only provide help for certain types of legal matters including criminal charges against you, or family law matters involving custody of children and child support. Legal Aid’s Advocacy Unit may be able to help you appeal social assistance decisions.

    For more information contact Legal Aid Manitoba:

    • 204-985-8500 (in Winnipeg)
    • 1-800-261-2960 (toll-free outside Winnipeg)

    Contact the Advocacy Unit at:

    • Public Interest Law Centre – Advocacy Unit
    • 200 – 393 Portage Avenue
    • Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6
    • Phone: 204-985-8540 Fax: 204-985-8544
    • Toll Free: 1-800-261-2960