Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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, 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 on their 24-hour line at (204) 945-0183, or toll-free outside Winnipeg at 1-866-559-6778.
You will need to contact EIA to set up an intake appointment. EIA may also require you to attend a pre-intake orientation (PIO) before setting up an intake appointment. For more information about what kind of information EIA will need from you for your application, visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/eia/apply.html.
To set up an appointment with EIA, call:
If you are married or in a common-law relationship, you and your partner must apply for EIA together.
When EIA looks at your income and financial resources to determine whether you qualify for assistance, there are certain things they will not include. Some of these are:
For more information, visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/eia/eia_general.html or contact EIA by phone.
Some community programs may be able to assist 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.
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.
If your application for EIA has been denied, you will receive a letter stating this and giving you reasons for the denial. If you wish to appeal this 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 and 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:
You can use this same process to appeal certain other EIA decisions, such as a reduction or suspension of your payments. If you have any other questions about the appeal process, contact the Social Services Appeal Board.
Community Unemployed Help Centre provides information and assistance for people who are dealing with the EI and 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 seek assistance 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.
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.
In order 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.
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.
Being on EIA does not prevent someone from suing you. However, if they win they may have difficulty collecting from you. If your only income is from EIA, they will not be able to collect any money from EIA. If you are working and receiving EIA, up to 30% of your wages may be garnished.
If you have concerns with the way your EIA worker is treating you, you can speak to an EIA supervisor. If you still feel your concerns are not being heard, you can contact the Fair Practices Office:
If you feel a serious wrongdoing has occurred, you can also file a complaint with the Manitoba Ombudsman by filling out the online form here, or by calling one of the following numbers: