Accessible Widget

February 21, 2020

3 things poor people have to do for no good reason

Members of the Hall got together to talk about the recent changes related to income support in the last 6 months. For people unfamiliar with the recent payment date changes that have ended up targeting people on income supports and left people scrambling, please read this Calgary Herald news article from February 20, 2020. 

1. Ability to problem-solve. 

One member told us people receive income supports because of their disability and speaks about how frustrating how the Province did not talk to people first to help understand how disruptive the date payment change is...

"Most people don’t have the ability to problem-solve and negotiate these things. They have no idea at all, especially if they are on their own, guaranteed if I didn’t have my mother for support, I could not do this on my own to negotiate with a landlord, fix my cell phone bill."

2. Cell Phone Bills 

One person told us it has taken 2 hours over the phone, an email, and now they are waiting another 30 days to see if the payment change will take effect.  Be prepared to change a cell phone plan may take more than 30 days...

Be prepared, changing your cell phone
may take several hours if not more than 30 days

"I am like a sitting duck." 

"People cannot afford to change their bill, it takes two hours and there might be hidden fees.  I am with the cell phone provider Koodo and they told me my payment was due on the 6th of the month, and they take the money on the 29th  
I called them and after 20 minutes they said they could not change it. I got a call back the  next day in French, and then they switched to English, 35 minutes later we got it changed to the 11th as my money can come out on the 6th  I then got an email from them saying my cell phone bills are the 6thI called them back and then they told me it will take a month and you will have a bill from the 6-11th and then she called me back and said: " I checked your account and it was never changed in the first, place."  I now have to wait a full month. I am like a sitting duck waiting to see if it has been changed."  

3. Waiting by the phone to get a callback  
People are feeling like sitting ducks

"The problems are being dumped on me. A lot of people will turn to their workers and I want to bill the Minister for the time I have spent negotiating all of this :)"

Many people have told us it is not been a good experience calling the AISH office or income supports worker. We understand from the recent auditor general report that the offices are overwhelmed. Some people have been told by their workers they can only email once a week, leave one message and may not get a call back until 4 days later. One person reported it has been over three weeks and the date payment change is still not solved. 

Calling your AISH or Income Supports Worker 

We hope people as they call their AISH or Income Supports worker have a good experience. We know this problem was not created by the Income Supports Workers or the AISH specialists. It was a decision made without asking Albertan families first. Thankfully, some people have also reported that their experiences calling for help has been very positive and consider themselves lucky...

"I am happy to report I have a good AISH worker, he actually calls me back the same day, he is polite and courteous and sometimes when I call, they pick up the phone."

"I have a nice worker too."

We ask the Provincial Government to reverse the date before it is too late. 

Tip Sheets
We made tip sheets to
help people, and ask MLAs to save the date

If you would like to check out our tip sheets:

If you need help and need to know where to go, please call 311 and ask how to find to a social worker or a Community Hub near you
TTY Services 403.268.4TTY (4889)
311 operator with the City of Calgary

February 13, 2020

Moving payment dates is a big deal...Save the Date & Tip Sheets

Moving the payment schedule is a big deal. 

The date change highlights how inadequate ‘Income Supports’ and ‘Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped’ (AISH) monthly benefit rates are. Rates have not kept up with the pace of living and inflation. Did you know...

Save the Date Poster
  • 127,000 Albertan monthly benefits are below the 2020 ($2160 a month) 'low-income cut off' poverty line
  • Income Supports:$ 1294 below the poverty line (average of $866 a month)
  • AISH$475 below below the poverty line (at $1685 a month) 

Will people keep up to the reoccurring fines month after month? 

Here is an example how $ 475 in monthly fines and fees can build in just one month...

$ 25 in late rent (subject to your lease)
$ 250 transit fine for failure to pay for a fare on the bus
$ 45 NSF bank fees for insufficient funds
$ 12.50 stop bank payment fee for pre-written cheque
$ 10 fee to change a cell phone payment over the phone line 
$ 35 reconnection charge for cell phone
Long Term Impacts of Date Change

What can you do? 

You can tell the Alberta government to reverse the date. 

People cannot afford this change. 
Nor can landlords. 
Nor can the government.
 "Save the date!"

Learn more about the long-term impacts here:  (backgrounder posted February 7th) 

Tip Sheets

Here are some tip sheets how people can try to avoid fines and fees: 

How to talk to your Private Landlord about Rent 

  • Talk to your private landlord and protecting your privacy and staying in your home.
  • How to buy a transit pass early to avoid getting a fine.
  • How to avoid mobile companies charges if you need to change your bill.
  • Watch this video to learn how to change your bill payments.

How to buy a Calgary Transit Pass Early

Payment dates for Mobile Phones

February 7, 2020

Concerns about a change of date for AISH and Income Supports to April 1st

 Click on image to find out who your MLA is  (Street Key)
To find out who is your MLA click on the poster
Citizens across Alberta and members of the Disability Action Hall are concerned about the long-term impacts of the change of date for AISH and Income Supports payments. 


Below are just some of the long-term impacts of the date change. We hope the Alberta government will take the time to listen to the community concerns and the costly impact this will have across the province.
The backgrounder may also be downloaded at the following link. 

Sample Letter to the Minister:

To read an example, take a look at this letter.
 Save the date backgrounder

February 6, 2020

Disability Action Hall submission to Alberta Finance February 2020

Albertans still have till 4:30 pm on Friday, February 7th  to submit their solutions for the upcoming budget. 

Here is what we said

Spend on:
  • Social assistance (indexing to 2020 LICO rates) 
  • Reverse the payment dates, keep them as they were
  • Services to people with disabilities to get the help we need
  • Affordable public transportation
  • Education and Training for work
Don't spend money on:

  • Tax breaks to oil and gas companies who can afford to pay taxes
  • No more messages campaigns about oil and gas, no more War Room as we know Alberta oil and gas is needed.
Invest in People
  • Affordable housing so people are safe enough to find work
  • Food security so people have the strength to work

To download a copy visit this link