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NDP calling on UCP to raise income support and AISH payments

by Morinville News Staff

The NDP is calling on Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP government to follow British Columbia’s lead and increase support to those receiving Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH).

British Columbia announced last week that it was providing an additional $300 to those receiving assistance and disability payments that are not eligible for the federal programs.

Income support in Alberta is $900 a month, AISH recipients get $1,685 a month. Those on income support and AISH did not qualify for the province’s Emergency Isolation Support (EIS). That program has now ended. Premier Jason Kenney said Monday that the province paid out $91.7 million in emergency payments in less than two weeks, an amount almost double the $50 million the government estimated it would disburse.

In addition to calling the closure of the EIS program an abandonment of Albertans looking for support, the Official Opposition is calling on the government to strengthen income support and AISH.

“During times of emergency and crisis, it is always the most vulnerable Albertans who are in the greatest danger,” said NDP Community and Social Services Critic Marie Renaud. “These Albertans are at high-risk and they have no choice but to self-isolate. If the province won’t provide emergency support payments, Jason Kenney should at least take a page out of B.C.’s book, step up, and provide some extra help.”

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The NDP says that because many Albertans on AISH or income support also work part-time to help make ends meet, they have also been affected by the loss of jobs. Although they can apply for the new $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the NDP says the federal support is deducted automatically from their monthly provincial assistance.

By contrast, B.C. is temporarily exempting federal benefits from being counted as income, which allows those receiving income and disability assistance to receive federal support programs without reductions.

“These Albertans are already trying to get by on poverty-level incomes. It is not fair to have their support clawed back when they are experiencing the same hardship as so many other people struggling with this crisis,” Renaud said. “Again, Jason Kenney needs to follow B.C.’s lead and ensure there is no clawback.”

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6 Comments

  1. CERB GREAT, I lost my job because of covid-19 social distancing. Without CERB, I would be basically done because EI is useless. I paid EI all my life only to find out that they only pay a fraction of my wage… I was only getting by check to check… there is no security in EI, why do I even pay this program, they treat you like lesser citizens when you apply. Thank you CERB it was going to be ok.

    That was until I learned AISH would deduct money from my wife’s AISH benefit counting CERB as pension income aprox $850 exempt and the rest 25% exempt leaving the rest dollar for dollar deducted. I would easily make $2000 in a month at my job no problem without this government taking from my wife’s benefit. However, they treat CERB and EI different then regular working income. If my EI is high enough my wife’s allowance reaches zero they take her off the program.

    I have never made an EI claim and worked my whole life. So covid-19 comes along and AISh treats me like a second rate citizen compared to the rest of Canada. These programs are supposed to help during a crisis instead my wife has to pay because I lost my job. How is this system not corrupt. Jason kenny will never get my vote. This fascist UCP government has to go. The CERB is an emergency fund. Hands off. This government in Alberta is a shameful disgrace to put it mildly.

  2. Atleast people on aish and income support didn’t lose any of the money they get every month. I lost my job basically without notice due to COVID-19 and I get EI but it’s only a small fraction of what I made in a month. So why should Aish and income support recipients get more money if I can’t get even close to what I was earning in a month so that I can afford to buy my groceries and put my rent and bills? I don’t understand how these recipients think the government is being so unfair to them…yes the government stepped up to help us but really not enough if you think about it! So while you are still earning what you were earning before COVID-19 think about those of us who worked our butts off and have gotten a huge slap in the face and expected to live in poverty now! I do agree that aish or income support recipients who were working part time are entitled to some Benefit for sure but not the ones who aren’t or weren’t working, No Way!

    • I worked my butt off before needing AISH. The price of everything but gas seems to have gone up. If I was still able to work I would be making much more than AISH pays and would have been deemed as an essential worker. Some of us are on AISH for a reason and not able to work at all, those who are able to still work should feel fortunate, some of us are far too ill to work.

    • You make 1685 a month now with rent however much you pay is a good portion of your pay. Now with bills debts you have takes up another good portion of it thank god aish pays for medications because with whats left you have groceries and since covid i noticed the prices of food has sky rocketed being disabled some cant afford transportation so taxi uber or bus which now you have to pay for. So it all adds up quick. Yes im grateful for not losing it but a little cash out of that big sum to help you get through the month is not to much to ask.

    • I work for my money. AISH deducted almost half of the CERB before tax from my wife’s AISH … if it was money I made from regular wages the money would have not been deducted. Do you not understand how that is unfair during a crisis?

  3. All I can say is come voting time you and all supportive friends and family vote Kenny out . He cares nothing for the little guy.

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