Province Expands Caregiver Benefit Program

About 600 more Nova Scotians will receive support for providing care to adults living at home through the expansion of the Caregiver Benefit Program.

“Caregivers provide tremendous support to their loved ones,” said Seniors Minister Leo Glavine on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “By expanding the Caregiver Benefit Program, we can ease the financial responsibility often associated with caregiving and allow more Nova Scotians to live in their homes for as long as possible.”

Until now the program has offered $400 a month to those who provide unpaid care for 20 or more hours per week to an adult with very high care needs. The eligibility criteria is being expanded to include people who help care for those assessed as having high to very high care needs.

This may include individuals who have a combination of:
— moderate to significant memory loss, problems with decision-making and communication that affects daily functioning
— high level of physical impairment
— many challenges in managing their personal needs
— serious behavioural problems
— a high risk of falls
— a high risk of long-term care placement

There are currently 1,979 caregivers enrolled in the program. The expansion is effective immediately.

This is the first phase in government’s plan to increase access to the program.

Criteria for phase two is still being developed. The intent is to reach caregivers supporting people with more moderate care needs, including some living with a mental illness that impacts their ability to carry out daily activities. More details on phase two will be provided in spring 2019.

“Caregivers Nova Scotia is pleased with the expansion of the program. As the only program of its kind in Canada, we hear first-hand from caregivers how $400 per month can make a difference in the lives for both the caregiver and the care recipient,” said Angus Campbell, executive director of Caregivers Nova Scotia. “By broadening the eligibility criteria, additional lower income Nova Scotians will be able to access this program.”

The financial eligibility criteria remains the same. If single, the person receiving care must have a net annual income of $22,125 or less. If married or common law, a total net household income of $37,209 or less is needed to qualify.

“Often, the presence of a caregiver can mean the difference between staying at home or moving to a nursing home,” said Susan Stevens, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s senior director of Continuing Care. “Supporting caregivers is critical and expanding the caregiver benefit to more people is one way we can do this.”

For more information about the program, visit or call the Nova Scotia Health Authority Continuing Care line at 1-800-225-7225.