Description

The Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MTESS) administers the Social Assistance Program, the Social Solidarity Program and the Aim for employment Program.

These programs allow low-income people who meet certain criteria to obtain a certain amount of money (benefit). This money is used to pay for food, shelter, and so on.

You can also obtain reimbursement for certain expenses (income support) if you participate in an employment program.

The names of the Social Assistance Program and the Social Solidarity Program are similar. However, these two programs are not for the same people. They are also mistakenly called welfare.

A couple of definitions

Social Assistance Program

The Social Assistance Program is intended for a single adult or for families without severely limited capacity for employment. This program provides financial assistance. It encourages people to engage in activities that promote their employment integration or social participation. The amount allocated varies according to the composition of the family and other criteria, such as the presence or absence of temporalily limited capacity, type of accommodation, income, etc. The amount of financial assistance varies depending on the family's composition and other criteria.

Social Solidarity Program

The Social Solidarity Program is intended for a single adult or for families in which one or more adults have severely limited capacity for employment. This program provides financial assistance and promotes integration and social participation. The amount allocated varies according to the composition of the family and other criteria, such as type of accommodation, income or assets.

Spouse

A spouse is a person who lives in a relationship with another person. A spouse is a person who lives with you and is married or in a civil union with you, or a person who lives with you and is the parent of at least one of your children.

A spouse can also be a person of different or same sex who is of the age of majority, who is living in a conjugal relationship with you, and who has lived with you for at least one year at any time.

Some people continue to be spouses despite the temporary absence of one of them.

The definition of spouse may be different for other departments or agencies, such as Revenu Québec; Retraite Québec; the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. It is advisable to always check the exact definition of a term with the department or agency with which you wish to apply.

Severely Limited Capacity for Employment

Severely limited capacity for employment are serious health problems that limit an adult's opportunities to work. These health problems may relate to an adult's physical or mental condition and must be noted by a doctor in a medical report.

Some examples of severe employment restrictions are as follows:

  • mental disorders, such as neurosis or psychosis;
  • intellectual disability, mental retardation or amnesia;
  • chronic illness;
  • hearing impairment;
  • the aftermath of an accident; 
  • the inability to move around;
  • inability to understand linguistic symbols due to language disruption.

Functional limitations are losses or decreases in bodily functions, whether physical, cognitive, or sensory. These limitations may be total or partial. They prevent a person from performing an activity in an acceptable manner or within the limits considered normal for a human being. Functional limitations may be directly or indirectly related to work activities.

Temporarily Limited Capacity

Temporalily limited capacity are constraints that prevent an adult from holding a job for a limited time. These constraints may be caused by a health problem or life event.

Here are some examples of temporalily limited capacity:

  • be a victim of a foot fracture;
  • provide constant care for a person with a loss of autonomy;
  • experience depression or anxiety;
  • have reached 20 weeks of pregnancy;
  • being abused and staying in a shelter.

Benefit amounts and payment dates

To find out the benefit amounts available, simply visit the following section: Benefit amounts for the current year.

To find out the dates on which payments are made, consult the following section: Benefit payment dates for the current year

Questions?

If you have any questions concerning social assistance and social solidarity, call our toll-free number: 1 877 767-8773.