Apply for social assistance

If you have questions about social assistance phone a social assistance office.

Yukon Social Assistance provides financial help to people who do not have enough money to live on. It helps cover the costs of basic needs. This program is a last resort after you've explored all other possible sources of income. The program is governed by the Social Assistance Act. Read the Act:

  • online; or
  • at a Social Assistance office.

If you receive social assistance you cannot leave the territory. The only exception is for medical travel that's approved by the Medical Travel Program.

What are basic needs?

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Utilities

What are not basic needs?

  • Transportation
  • Television
  • Internet

Will social assistance find housing for you?

You're responsible for finding your housing, but your social worker can help you. Social assistance includes a shelter allowance to cover expenses. The allowance amount depends on:

  • your family size; and
  • which community you live in.

The cost of utilities is covered, but there is a maximum limit. The cost covered will depend on your family size and the time of year.

Emergency shelter

Can you work or go to school?

Working while on social assistance?

If you're employable, you must look for paid work. You can top up your employment income with social assistance to meet your basic needs.

To get help to find paid employment, talk to your social worker about the Head Start employment and training program.

Can you volunteer?

We encourage you to do volunteer work, but it's not a substitute for paid employment.

Can you go to school?

We may approve education if it's part of your case plan you developed with your social worker.

You may be eligible to apply if you do not have enough money to meet your basic needs, and:

  • your partner or spouse does not make enough money to meet your basic needs;
  • you're a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada; and
  • you do not have a First Nation Status Number, and/or the last working person in your relationship does not have a First Nation Status Number.

Who is not eligible?

You're most likely not eligible if you have enough money to meet your basic needs or:

  • your partner or spouse has enough money to meet both of your basic needs;
  • you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • you have a First Nation Status Number;
  • if you're visiting Yukon; or
  • you're taking a post-secondary program.

If you have a First Nation Status Number

Ask for help from Indigenous Services Canada or your First Nation's office, if you or or the last working person in your relationship has a First Nation Status Number.

A social worker will look at your food, shelter and utility needs, as well as any and all money you've received in the 31 days before you apply.

If all of the money you received in the last 31 days is less than your need, you're likely to be eligible for assistance.

What is considered income?

  • Money from employment
  • Employment insurance (EI)
  • Pension money (CPP/OAS/GIS/CPPD)
  • Child support or maintenance
  • Financial assistance from other services
  • Financial assistance from other locations
  • e-transfers, money transfers, gifts or other deposits
  • Loans (for example, personal, student or payday loans)
  • Grants, bursaries, scholarships
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Distribution payment
  • Dividends or entitlements from a First Nation
  • Assets that can be quickly and easily exchanged for cash

There may be other money that has to be taken into account that's not on this list.

If you receive employment insurance or pensions

If you receive employment insurance or pensions and you are not able to afford food and rent, you may be eligible for some assistance.

If you're eligible for child support or maintenance

You must apply to the Maintenance Enforcement Program. This is considered a financial resource and you must report it as income on your application for social assistance.

What is not considered as income?

  • Canada child benefit
  • GST
  • Disability tax credit
  • Extended family care agreement

Before you apply

To start your application for social assistance, you have to set up an intake appointment with a social worker. This is the 1st meeting with your social worker, you can expect it to last from 1 hour to 1.5 hours. During this appointment your social worker will see if you're eligible for assistance. You'll sign some documents (including a consent) and you'll have a chance to tell your story. You can bring a support person to this appointment if you want to.

How to prepare for your intake appointment

If you're married or live with your partner, they must attend the appointment with you. You must also bring:

  • 2 pieces of personal identification (ID) for each family member;
  • a rental form, lease agreement or mortgage information;
  • documents that show money or assets (for example, a notice of assessment of your last tax return or pay stubs);
  • the social assistance report form that the social worker emailed to you;
  • the employment history form that the social worker emailed to you; and
  • bank statements from the past 90 days – make sure these are printed on the date of your intake.

If you live outside Whitehorse

Phone the social assistance office in your community to make an intake appointment. The offices are usually open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you live in Whitehorse

  1. Phone the office in Whitehorse between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursdays and Friday. You'll complete a pre-intake appointment over the phone with a social worker.
  2. The social worker you speak with will see if you're likely eligible for assistance.
  3. If you're likely to be eligible, they'll set you up with an intake appointment.
  4. The social worker will email you forms to complete for your intake appointment. It's important that you provide all information required on these forms.

After your intake appointment and you're approved to receive for social assistance, your assistance is assessed each month. You apply for assistance by submitting your assistance application card (ARC) along with any required documentation. This may include:

  • utility bills;
  • job search documentation, if requested;
  • rent receipts;
  • pay stubs;
  • bank statements; and
  • proof of child support or maintenance.

When to submit your assistance application card (ARC)?

You can submit your ARC close to 1 month before your regular assistance cheque. If you submit your ARC after the 15th of the month you may receive your cheque late.

The month you want to have money

When you have to apply

Declare money received during this time


December 1

November 1 to 30


January 1

December 1 to 31


February 1

January 1 to 31


March 1

February 1 to 28


April 1

March 1 to 31


May 1

April 1 to 30


June 1

May 1 to 31


July 1

June 1 to 30


August 1

July 1 to 31


September 1

August 1 to 30


October 1

September 1 to 30


November 1

October 1 to 31


You have to get approval before buying prescription drugs. If you buy a prescription without approval, you probably will not be reimbursed. Social assistance does not pay for over-the-counter medication.

Will social assistance pay for your medication?

If you are not eligible for funding through other programs, you may be eligible to receive assistance for prescriptions. Generally speaking, we'll approve low-cost, generic prescriptions.

Reasons why your prescription might not be paid for

  • If your prescription is not approved on the Yukon Drug Formulary.
  • There are less expensive medications that can be used to treat the same issue.
  • You're eligible for funding from another program: