Kenney says UCP reconsidering AISH qualification criteria

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AISH clients receive a maximum of $1,685 per month in basic benefits. A senior government source with knowledge of the province’s review previously confirmed to Postmedia “there is a push to potentially make some cuts” to the program which would not be “minor in nature.”

AISH caseloads increased by 17 per cent from 2015 to 2019, while costs went up by 20 per cent over that time, according to figures provided in the UCP’s 2020 budget, tabled in February.

As of July 2020, there were 69,785 recipients of the program.

To qualify for AISH, potential recipients must be at least 18 years old and ineligible to receive an Old Age Security pension.

Clients must have a medical condition that is likely to remain permanent. That condition must be the main factor limiting one’s ability to earn a living, as opposed to factors such as education level.

Potential recipients can work and remain eligible for AISH. The province states they are encouraged to work “to the extent they are able.”

AISH applicants and their spouses must also apply for all other income supports they may be eligible for, such as Canada Pension Plan Disability, employment insurance or Workers’ Compensation Board benefits.

Other eligibility criteria are outlined online by the province.

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In late 2019, the UCP government de-indexed AISH payments from inflation, meaning benefits would no longer increase with the rising cost of living. The UCP allocated $1.29 billion for AISH in its 2020 budget, tabled in February.

Kenney said it shouldn’t come as a surprise “that in the midst of the greatest fiscal crisis since the province went bankrupt in the 1930s that every department is looking at every possible way to achieve savings.”

“The truth is that we have, by far, the most generous benefits for social services of any province in Canada,” he said.

More to come…

shudes@postmedia.com
Twitter: @SammyHudes

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