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Short for Assured Income For The Severely Handicapped, AISH is an Alberta government-sponsored arrangement that provides ongoing funds to Canadians living with a severe disability. In 2020, a total of 69,785 people (1.6% of Alberta’s population) relied on this program.
Employment rates decrease as the severity of the disability increases. The worse the issue, the less able the AISH recipient is to work and thus to provide for themselves. As a result, tens of thousands of Albertans rely on these funds to survive. If you are looking into AISH for yourself or someone in your care, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the program.
What is Assured Income For The Severely Handicapped (AISH)?
A financial and health-focused program, AISH is offered to Canadians living in the province of Alberta who are living with a severe disability. It finances those living with both physical and mental health disabilities. The program offers many supports, including:
- Monthly living allowance: These are funds used to cover the cost of rent, utility bills, and food. Typically, the amount will be sufficient to help the recipient afford basic necessities to live. The specific amount issued varies depending on where the recipient resides. It is particularly useful since the structure of payment is need-based, meaning those who can work get less while those who cannot, and therefore require more advanced assistance, need more money to survive.
- Child benefit: This is meant to assist those who are raising dependents under the age of majority. These funds can be put toward the cost of childcare professionals or items like diapers and formula. The amount issued depends on the number of children under the care of the AISH recipient. It can be used in conjunction with child care subsidies.
- Health benefits: These funds are designed to cover healthcare requirements for the AISH recipient, their spouse, or dependents. Examples include medications or specialists required by the AISH recipient or those under their care. This is a particularly useful form of assistance since those living with a disability tend to need to spend more on medical care due to the disability itself.
- Personal benefits: Funds issued for this category are in excess of the monthly living allowance. They are meant to account for disability-specific needs and include emergency assistance for sudden, unexpected requirements. Access to the personal benefits depends on the amount of assets held by the AISH recipient.
Are you a senior living with a disability? Check out these additional tax credits and deductions for seniors.
AISH Payment Date Schedule
|Payment Date||Covered Period|
|December 23, 2020||January 2021|
|February 1, 2021||February 2021|
|March 1, 2021||March 2021|
|April 1, 2021||April 2021|
|April 30, 2021||May 2021|
|June 1, 2021||June 2021|
|June 30, 2021||July 2021|
|July 30, 2021||August 2021|
|September 1, 2021||September 2021|
|October 1, 2021||October 2021|
|November 1, 2021||November 2021|
|December 1, 2021||December 2021|
|December 29, 2021||January 2022|
Are you living with a disability? Then you should also look into the disability tax credit.
Who is Eligible For The AISH Benefit?
In order to access the Assured Income For The Severely Handicapped benefit, recipients must meet all of the eligibility requirements. The criteria include:
Age & Residency
The recipient must be 18 years old, at least, and not be an eligible recipient of Old Age Security (OAS). Additionally, they must be a citizen of Canada or have permanent residency status. The recipient must reside in the province of Alberta. To quality, the AISH recipient must not be in any type of correctional or mental health facility.
In order to qualify, there must be a medical condition that is deemed to be permanent. It must represent the key reason for the disabled person to be unable to work, meaning the unemployment cannot be a result of limited education or other issues. To assess the validity of the disability, AISH investigates your medical history, treatment schedule, and rehabilitation or training available to help with employment.
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To qualify for AISH, the administrators will investigate both assets and income of the potential recipient and their spouse. Clients can work while receiving AISH and are encouraged to do so. Both the applicant and their partner must apply for any other financial services for which they are eligible such as Employment Insurance or Workers’ Compensation.
When looking at your income, AISH takes into consideration the source of the funds, exempting things like gifts and including things like employment income. To assess your assets, AISH looks at things like property and vehicles. Exempt assets include clothing or funds held in trust. To clarify, you cannot have assets in excess of $100,000.
If you receive money or assets which AISH exempts as income but will put you over the $100,000 threshold, then there is a grace period of 365 days to invest the money so it is deemed exempt.
Find out if you should invest in a TFSA or an RRSP.
How Much Can You Receive With AISH?
When considering AISH, it is important to have real facts and figures with which to work. The amounts are broken down into four categories, each offering a different monetary amount. Per the AISH requirements, you need to spend the funds on matters for which they are allocated. The categories include:
- Monthly living allowance: The standard living allowance is for those who live in the community and can be as much as $1,685 every month. For those living at a facility, the amount is as much as $322 for personal expenses and up to $2,120 for accommodation costs.
- Monthly child benefit: For the first child, AISH offers a benefit of $200 every month. Additional children are offered a benefit of $100 per month. The total benefit varies based on how many children the AISH recipient has.
- AISH benefits card: This is effectively an insurance card that gives AISH recipients access to health services such as dental care, prescriptions, chiropractors, and physiotherapy. It also covers things like ambulance fees and optical care, reducing the burden of expenses on those with disabilities.
- Personal benefits: Representing one-time payments that cover sudden expenses, the personal benefit can offer extra support for dependent children, health issues, and other personal concerns. In order to qualify, the AISH recipient must have assets less than $5,000 and express hardship in terms of finances.
Need extra financial support to care for your children? Don’t forget about applying for the Canada Child Benefit.
How to Apply For The AISH Benefit
The most efficient way to complete the AISH application process is by keeping thorough documentation of your finances, health concerns, and your regular living expenses. Make sure that you have proof of residence and can verify your identification. From there, navigate to the AISH website and follow the process.
Prepare Your Documents
Download and complete the Part A – Applicant Information Document. Make sure that your Adobe Reader is up to date. Fill out the form and print it out. Next, download the form Part B – Medical Report. You will provide this to your doctor to fill out. Plan ahead, since it may take your medical professional some time to prepare this document for you. Keep in mind that your doctor may assign a fee for this service. The AISH applicant is responsible for paying this amount unless they are on income support. Be sure to keep your receipts.
Submit Your Documents
Once you have received the completed form from your doctor, put it together with Part A and submit the form to the AISH office. You can do this online, via regular mail, or facsimile. To be prudent, keep a copy of the document for your personal records.
The Approval Process
There will be a waiting period once you submit your application to allow the AISH administrators to process the application. If you are approved, you will receive a phone call as well as a letter indicating your eligibility. AISH will schedule a meeting with a staff member to establish your file in full. Benefits are backdated to the point at which AISH received the file.
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If you are deemed ineligible to receive AISH, you will receive a letter in the mail indicating the reasons for the denial. Potential causes for a denied claim can be financial or medical. If your income covers your expenses or your medical report indicates a non-permanent disability, you may be denied AISH.
There is an appeal process, and the letter will indicate how to follow up with AISH in order to indicate a change in your personal situation. It will also recommend other, better-suited, programs that you may be able to access.
AISH is an important program that sustains the lifestyle of thousands of Albertans every year. It is designed to support those living with a severe disability who would otherwise not be able to make their expenses. If you, or someone in your care, is struggling and you feel that AISH may assist, the application process is fairly straightforward. So long as you plan ahead and honestly communicate with the AISH administrators, it is likely that you will be approved. For those that need it, the service assists with everything from medical expenses to basic living costs, making Alberta a safer, easier place to live.
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