Many people have heard about proposed changes to the 'Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped' program, otherwise known as AISH. Here are the common questions people have asked about changes to AISH.
Q. How many Albertans are receiving AISH?
In 2018, 60,679 people received Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped. The government recently released its budget. To see the changes in chart form, visit page 37 of 167
Q. What is the monthly amount for AISH?
- Straight AISH $ 1685 a month
- AISH/CPP-D (Canada Pension Plan-Disability) Benefit. This amount varies but typically does not exceed $ 1685. (Or if the person works, then the base amount is deducted based on earnings).
- Modified AISH for Albertans living in a health facility or long-term care home the amount includes room and board at the facility and a personal spending amount which is set at $ 322.
Q. Is the AISH monthly allowance cut?
A. No. The government put in an additional $ 142 million into the social assistance program to help with new applications to the program. The government will say they have 'paused' the cost-of-living increase (which was supposed to start on January 2020 until Alberta recovers from the recession).
Q. Are medical benefits cut?
A. No, they are maintained. (It is unclear at the moment if there are changes as to what the AISH medical benefit covers).
Q. What does it mean to de-index AISH, Alberta Works or Seniors Alberta Benefit?
A. It means the base amount will not go up as the cost of living goes up for the next four years. It will stay at the current amount. It is fixed.
Q. But isn't de-indexing like a cut?
A. According to the opinion of economist Trevor Toombe, he says yes.
It means your monthly amount will not be able to keep up with changes to the cost of living.
By 2020, 2021 and 2022 $ 1685 may not pay for as much of what it costs to live in 2019.
This means a person's purchasing power goes down. Trevor says "It is like a cut." The economist says "The move shrinks the purchasing power of AISH monthly benefits by roughly $35 next year (depending on inflation), by $65 the year after, by $100 the year after that, and so on until indexing resumes".
Real Value of AISH Benefits shows by 2024 $ 1685 a month will be more like $ 1585 a month due to the costs of living (From CBC Article, October 28, 2019)
Q. Are there other changes?
A. Yes. The amount of money going into Alberta Works also decreases by almost $200 million by 2024.