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People from all over Manitoba helped develop this new income support program. Together, we're finding better ways to meet the needs of Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities.

How this program started

For many years, Employment Income Assistance (EIA) has been an important source of income for many people living with disabilities. Employment and Income Assistance provides benefits to Manitobans who have no other way to support themselves. This includes:

  • Monthly financial benefits (money)
  • Health coverage (dental, optical, and prescription drugs)
  • Supportive planning to help clients move along their journey towards financial independence and/or increased community inclusion

Persons with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from working for more than one year may be eligible for enrolment in the EIA Disability category, which is now called Medical Barriers to Full Employment (MBFE). The Medical Barriers to Full Employment category of EIA is different from the General Assistance category in that:

  • Clients do not have work expectations
  • Benefits are slightly higher

In 2019, Disability Matters Vote called for a new income support program, separate from EIA, for Manitobans whose disabilities are severe and prolonged.

After the 2019 election, the Manitoba government started developing this new program. This commitment was outlined in the government's 100-day Action Plan and the 2019 Department of Families' 12-Month Strategy.

Community input

So far, more than 1,000 people from across the province have shared their ideas for this new income support program.

In 2019/20, we invited interested Manitobans to fill out a survey and participate in focus groups. We heard much support for the idea. People were also clear that “service navigation” should be a part of the program.

You can read more in the 2019/20 what we heard report.

In 2020/21, we held further consultations on what service navigation should look like. Information from this round of consultations is available in the 2020/21 what we heard report.


In October 2021, the Manitoba government passed a bill to support this new program.

The new law (the Disability Support Act) outlines these program features:

  • The program will be separate from EIA.
  • The program is for people with severe and prolonged disabilities.
  • Clients will not be required to look for work. However, there will be an active offer of help to connect with community supports, which may include help finding employment.
  • Shelter benefits for people renting in the private market will be the same as for EIA – that is, at least 75% of the median market rent for that year (beginning in January 2023, shelter benefits will be indexed to 77% of median market rent).
  • Decisions can be appealed to the Social Services Appeal Board.
  • You can read more in Bill 72, The Disability Support Act and Amendments to the Manitoba Assistance Act.

Program regulations

In August 2022, the Manitoba government released a draft regulation defining key features for this new income support program for persons with severe and prolonged disabilities. Changes to the Assistance Regulation have also been shared. Together, the two draft regulations support the move to programs that are better tailored to specific clients' needs.

The Disability Support Regulation establishes that the new program will be different from EIA in the following ways:

  • Eligibility will be confirmed through a disability impact assessment.  Some individuals will not have to participate in this assessment.
  • Benefits will be higher in the new program, and all households will be automatically entitled to a telephone and laundry allowance.
  • Clients can earn more income from employment or self-employment before it impacts their eligibility ($12,000 per year for an individual, $18,000 for a family).
  • Anyone who exits the program will receive 24 months of ongoing health benefits, if no other coverage exists.

You can download the plain language guides here:

Manitobans are invited to provide their feedback on the regulations by emailing or calling 204-945-1040, toll-free number 1-877-403-MSPD (1-877-403-6773).

Additional Features

Some additional features of the new program will be defined in policy. 

  • Optional Community Navigation services will be available to clients who are seeking non-financial supports, such needs assessments, referrals to programming, supportive planning, and support during emergencies.
  • Eligibility reviews will occur once every two years rather than once a year.
  • Enrolled households will be served out of a central office that is not responsible for administration of EIA. 

There are some things that will stay the same as EIA:

  • Eligibility for the program will be based on an assessment of total household income (including spouses/common-law partners).
  • Eligible clients will have access to the volunteer benefit, with the same rules as under EIA.
  • Clients will be able to keep to $4,000 in liquid assets (cash or money in the bank), to a maximum of $16,000 for a household, before it impacts their benefits.
  • All assets and sources of income that are exempt in the EIA program will be exempt in the new program.

Many more details about how the new program works are still being worked out. These will be shared here when the details are available.


The launch of the new program began in January 2023. At that time, some current EIA Disability clients were transferred to the new program. On April 1, 2023, the program fully launched to the public, and Manitobans are welcome to apply.

For more information, please see The Program/When To Apply.