Nov 5, 2018

Standing in solidarity to Index Social Assistance, media release Nov 5 2018


For immediate release, November 5th, 2018

An increase to the cost of living would allow me to live more comfortably with more security (have quality of life) and not live in fear.”

-          -AISH Recipient , October 2018

Members of the Disability Action Hall went to the Women's Centre today to share the challenges with the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program and what needs to change. We stand in alliance with social justice groups who agree that Alberta's social assistance programs, including Income Support and AISH, need to be indexed to the cost of living. Nearly 61,000 Albertans receive AISH and have not seen an increase since 2012.

The Disability Action Hall is encouraged by Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir's recent efforts to listen to the voices of Albertans regarding these programs. Minister Sabir attended an AISH round table last week that discussed the need to index AISH to the cost of living and improve medical benefits. He also met with the Calgary Ability Network in mid-October which discussed the social contributors to poverty. AISH and poverty was also a topic at the recent provincial self-advocacy summit hosted by Albertans Advocating for Change Together (AACT) in early October. Individuals at the summit talked about safety and other concerns when "people have to live with 3 or 4 other people in order to be able to afford rent" and the "ability to afford food."

Brad Robertson, a poverty activist living with a disability and a member of the Disability Action Hall no longer receives AISH as he is 66. He speaks about the snowball effect of not indexing social assistance programs to the cost of living, resulting in people falling further behind.

AISH falls behind the cost of living year after year
Once you live on a fixed income and it’s not indexed to the cost of living, when everything goes up, your income does not go up. As a result, your health suffers and you live in sub-standard housing and you cannot afford to eat good food. It’s very hard for people to have a quality of life and get out and enjoy the things that normal people do who aren’t disabled. AISH was created for people cannot work and have no source of income.  Indexing AISH would keep it at the cost of living so people don’t have to worry about paying their bills, better medical care and it would be a lot better.
-Brad Robertson


Additionally, citizens living in facilities who also receive what is known as modified AISH have not seen an increase to their personal allowance since 2007.   

“Eleven years is far too long,” says Brenley Shatz. Brenley also lives on AISH in a facility where the personal allowance for people on modified AISH has remained $ 315 a month since 2007.When AISH increased from $1188 to $ 1588 in 2012, people living on modified AISH did not receive any increase in personal allowance rate.

People can’t do the activities like going to the library or an exercise class.  AISH is not enough. I live on modified AISH and it’s just helping me eat or pay for a place to stay. That’s it.  People cannot get out. People are stuck in their homes. As a person who lives in a wheelchair, a lack of income is just one of the many barriers that I face.  Indexing AISH will help me get out of the house and be seen.”
-Brenley Shatz

Personal Allowance has not increased in 11 years for individuals living in facilities



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