Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP): Income support management: Change of status (reassessments)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

A reassessment of a client’s need for support is necessary every time there is a change in the situation of the client. The client should report any changes on a Change of Status Form and either forward it directly or via the SPO to the local IRCC office.

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Reasons for reassessment

Possible reasons for reassessment include the following:

  • change of address, including contact information
  • change of lease amount, including increase in utilities
  • name change
  • employment or change of employment
  • receipt of funds for training or school
  • pregnancy, termination, or birth of a child
  • dependant reaches age of majority
  • arrival of dependants (e.g. One-Year Window (OYW))
  • marriage
  • separation or divorce
  • death
  • incarceration
  • hospitalization
  • gifts from relatives
  • travel outside of province of residence or Canada
  • repatriation

The reassessment enables the RAP officer to determine if income support

  • is still required
  • should be reduced
  • should be increased or
  • should be discontinued

In all cases, changes such as increases, refusal, discontinuation or reduction of income support to a client should be carefully considered, reviewed, well documented and explained to the client.

Change of address or telephone number

Local IRCC office must update client address in GCMS, in SAP, and in the physical file. It is the responsibility of the loan recipient to advise Collection Services by phone or in writing within 10 days of any change of address. The local IRCC office should also notify IRCC Collection Services if they are proactively aware that the clients will be leaving the country, so that guidance can be given if the client is still owing a balance.

Change of employment status

A client who finds employment, changes employer or loses their job, must complete a Change of Status form and return it to the local IRCC office.

If the client’s new income level is reduced or increased beyond the 50% employment incentive threshold, changes must be made to their income support.

Learn how to apply the 50% employment incentive threshold.

Dependant reaches age of majority

If a dependant reaches the age of majority as defined in the province/territory of residence while still on RAP , the local IRCC officer will create a separate file for that dependant starting on the 1st of the next month after their birthday. Monthly entitlements for dependent adult children should be calculated accordingly as single adults, using single rates once they reach the age of majority, commencing on the first of the next month after their birthday. The entitlement for shelter will be based on their confirmed share of the actual housing costs up to the maximum allowance if the adult child resides with the HOF, and based on actual costs per their lease agreement if they reside on their own. Any special age of majority top-up allowances issued to 18 year olds in eligible provinces will terminate once they receive adult rates.

In some cases, the cheques for the adult dependant child’s file can be issued in the name of the HOF, or another person, such as a guardian, or a financial trustee in the case of a mentally incompetent adult. Some factors that can be considered if the family wishes for the HOF to receive the RAP cheques on behalf of the adult dependant child, include the following:

  • family wishes, including cultural considerations
  • Mental or physical health capacity of the dependent child who has reached age of majority
  • impacts with other government departments, such as the Canada Revenue Agency

Separation or divorce

When a RAP officer becomes aware that a marriage breakdown has occurred, clients should be interviewed separately. A declaration and Change of Status Form should be signed by the clients.

Income support may be given separately to both parties if they confirm in writing (declaration) that a separation has occurred and that they are living in separate dwellings. Each client would need to sign their own Agreement for Income Support.

If there are children, the parents should report to IRCC their living arrangements for the sake of calculating RAP benefits, which should align with information provided to other departments or ministries such as the CRA for the purposes of Canada Child Benefit, or school boards for school enrolment.

Household effects and furniture items from the original home should be divided between the separated partners, whenever possible.

An additional start-up cheque may be issued in situations where a client lacks the necessary furnishings and household goods following the division of assets.

Death of a client

Family needs should be re-evaluated and adjusted on a case-by-case basis, within 90 days of the death of the HOF or a dependent family member on a forward-only basis. It is recommended that retroactive clawbacks be avoided out of compassion for the surviving relatives.

If the client had an active loan, copies of the death certificate and the immigration loan warrant number should be sent to the Chief of Revenue Accounting, NHQ. The address is listed on the back of the loans form.

See Allowances for guidance on funeral or burial expenses.

When the local office is notified of a death of a client, they may upload the death certificate into GCMS and send a request to the Operations Support Centre (NHQ) to update the status of the client in GCMS.

Incarceration

When a HOF or dependent family member is incarcerated, a reassessment of the remaining family members’ income support needs may be required, in light of ongoing costs such as lease agreements, and benefits for the remainder of the family.

If a single client is to be incarcerated, a re-assessment of their RAP benefits should occur, in consideration of the length of time of their expected incarceration. Consultation with NHQ-IN may be required, as these cases should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If a client’s income support was discontinued and they are released prior to the end of their RAP eligibility period, and they require financial assistance, eligibility should be re-assessed.

Hospitalization

Clients entering a hospital do not automatically become ineligible for assistance. However, for clients who must remain in a hospital for a prolonged period of time (two weeks or longer), a reassessment of income support needs may be required, recognizing however that clients who are hospitalized will likely still have rental payments and other ongoing costs to be made.

The RAP officer will determine whether or not the rate of assistance is to be affected, based on factors such as the length of the anticipated hospital stay, the number of members in household, the amount of assistance, ongoing lease obligations, etc.

Travel outside of province of residence or Canada

The intent of RAP is to provide support for clients as they settle into their new country or province. If the client notifies the officer of their intent to travel, an inquiry must be made as to where they will travel, for how long and their financial assets to travel. This inquiry is meant more for extended travel circumstances or those where the client is leaving Canada.

The RAP Agreement for Income Support explains the need for clients to report their planned absence to IRCC. If it is found they have received assistance while they were not eligible due to their absence, that assistance could be deemed to be a repayable debt to IRCC.

Voluntary repatriation

Voluntary repatriation is when a protected person – including resettled refugees – voluntarily chooses to return and become re-established in their country of origin or former habitual residence. Refugees should be counselled of any implications should they wish to re-establish themselves overseas. For more information, see cessation and vacation in the resettlement context.

In the context of RAP, clients who choose voluntary repatriation are no longer eligible for RAP income assistance or services and should notify their RAP Officer prior to leaving Canada if they intend to move home to their country of origin or habitual residence.

Travel to home country or country of asylum

For personal reasons such as attending to family matters, refugees receiving RAP income support might want to travel back to their country of origin or former habitual residence. This is not the same as voluntary repatriation, however refugees should be counselled that any temporary return may have implications for their support under RAP, and their immigration status if they ultimately decide to re-establish (see voluntary repatriation section, above).

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