Government benefits can in some cases be preventative of and responsive to causes and impacts of homelessness. Federally, such government benefits include: Employment Insurance and Regular Benefits; a Skills Development Program; Self-Employment Benefits; Maternity, Parental or Sickness Benefits; An Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities; Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and rent allowances. Additionally, there are provincial government benefits that differ from province to province. They may offer all or some of the following: income support/social assistance, employment supplements; programs for persons with barriers to employment; or vocational rehabilitation programs.
Contrary to popular opinion, very few homeless people receive government benefits. Because of this, they need to generate income in other ways, such as through panhandling, squeegeeing and the sex trade. In many cases, homeless people are entitled to various government benefits - including social assistance, disability and pension benefits – but experience barriers (e.g. administrative processes, timeline constraints, a lack of ID or personal address) to accessing them.