The province of Saskatchewan has a range of social systems available to residents. These benefits have been in place, one way or another, for decades, though they have recently been rebranded under the title Social Income Support (SIS).
According to a report by Maytree, in the 2018-2019 year, there were 18,800 recipients of the disability income program alone. Factoring in the number of people who require income support due to job loss, illness, or low income, the necessity of the SIS program becomes clear. However, despite its importance, many aren’t aware of the full range of these benefits. A full understanding can help you or a loved one access the assistance you need.
What Is Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS)?
The SIS program is a social support program available to individuals and families who are unable to otherwise access basic living necessities because of financial hardship. After other programs like SAID, the disability arrangement, and TEA, the transitional employment allowance, merged into SIS, social income support, the process streamlined significantly. Now, it is an all-encompassing benefit arrangement available to those who, due to circumstances beyond their control, need financial assistance.
These circumstances are assessed on a monthly basis through a caseworker liaison. Causes for getting this benefit include illness, disability, unemployment, and low-income qualify for this assistance. Since these situations are assessed regularly, the amount paid fluctuates based on real-time needs of those requiring the benefit.
Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) Payment Dates 2023
While the actual amount issued by the benefit is variable, as it is impacted by changing circumstances, the payment dates are fixed. Payments are either directly deposited or mailed via cheque at a set time, ensuring those needing the funds have access to them in time for payment deadlines. The schedule is as follows:
|Payment Month for 2023||Date Cheques are Mailed||Direct Deposit Date|
|January||December 22||December 28|
|February||January 25||January 30|
|March||February 22||February 27|
|April||March 27||March 30|
|May||April 24||April 27|
|June||May 25||May 30|
|July||June 26||June 29|
|August||July 25||July 28|
|September||August 25||August 30|
|October||September 25||September 28|
|November||October 26||October 30|
|December||November 27||November 29|
Saskatchewan Income Support Benefits And Amounts
The amount you can access through the SIS program differs based on your circumstances. The following factors are assessed regularly, and determine the funding benefit amount:
- If you have a spouse or partner, as this adds to the amount needed to support the family
- If you have children, since children add to the overall basic living expense of the household
- Whether you rent, have a mortgage, or live in a remote northern community, since this plays into the actual cost of living
- If you are working, and whether the income you receive from your job falls below the exempted amount
- Single recipients: $325 exemption
- Couple without dependent children: $425 exemption
- Family: $500 income exemption
Factoring in the above, the benefits are broken down into different categories, each representing a different aspect of regular living expenses.
SIS Basic Benefits
This benefit is meant for regular expenses outside of housing. It refers to the cost of food, clothing, household items, and travel. Paid monthly, the basic benefit for those not in the northern district is $285. If you reside in the northern district, where the cost of living is higher, the benefit is $350 with an additional $65 per child.
SIS Shelter Benefits
Meant to address the cost of rent, mortgage payments, land taxes, and utilities, this accommodation is paid monthly, though the amount depends on your situation. It’s differentiated based on rural and urban costs. If you reside in either Saskatoon or Regina, a single recipient gets $575, and couples without dependent kids get $750. Families with two or fewer children get $974 while families with three or more children get $1,150 per month.
If you reside outside of these two main cities, the benefit amount received is smaller. This is because the cost of housing in urban Saskatchewan is higher than that in the rest of the province. Singles in this category get $525 while couples without dependent kids get $650. Families with up to two children get $750 while families with three or more kids get $850. These payments are monthly and follow the set payment schedule listed above.
SIS Health And Safety Benefits
Meant to address a wide range of issues, this section is broken down into specific categories. These are also assessed regularly to ensure that the recipient both qualifies for the benefits received and that they are getting all the help necessary to thrive. The subsets of this benefit include:
Household health and safety: This benefit is up to $500 and is meant to replace necessary items resulting from a disaster or interpersonal violence. If essential possessions were harmed due to these issues, you can access up to the full amount to replace them. This category also applies to those establishing a new residence as a result of these same causes. Keep in mind that it is designed as a one-time payment.
Stabilization benefit: In the amount of $150 per month, this is meant to support beneficiaries who are facing challenges with keeping stable housing. It can include those relying on shelter accommodations or those staying with friends or family, though have no permanent residence.
Short-term emergency: There is no specified amount for this benefit, largely due to the fact that every emergency is different. Assessed by a Saskatchewan Social Support Worker, if the emergency situation is both unforeseen and would result in harm without support, then the candidate is eligible for this benefit.
Prescribed diet: For recipients of the SIS benefit who require a specific diet due to medical conditions, there is a monthly benefit of between $50 to $150, depending on need. In some cases, it can be a matter of affording the higher cost of specific diets while other situations rely on it to pay for supplements necessary for health.
Travel benefit: Using a specific calculation for mileage, meals, and accommodations, this benefit pays for travel outside of the beneficiary’s community for medical reasons. If you need to travel to the city for a procedure, or other medical appointments, this benefit can cover that extra cost to ensure it does not come out of your regular benefits.
Alternative heating: Access to this benefit depends wholly on where you live. It pays $130 monthly to beneficiaries living in an area where natural gas is inaccessible. It enables those without access to this utility to pay for the fuel to heat their residence.
Change In Circumstances
Life is constantly in flux, and this subset of the SIS benefit arrangement is meant to address the fluctuating circumstances of beneficiaries. Like the other benefits, it is categorized according to the situation. The topics include:
Employment and training: This benefit offers $140 to assist with the costs of commencing a new training program or starting your career.
Children’s benefit: Offering $400, this amount is paid to a parent who is otherwise ineligible for the Canada Child Benefit. It is meant to pay for items like food, clothes, household supplies, and other day-to-day expenses of having a child.
Child care benefit: Unlike the above benefit, this is meant to account for the short-term expenses of child care while the beneficiary is pursuing employment. In the amount of $30 per day, it helps cover the cost of a babysitter or daycare while you attend job interviews.
Relocation benefit: Ranging between $200 and $300, this amount is meant to help with moving expenses resulting from health requirements, emergency situations, evictions (where the client was not at fault), and beginning work in a new area. It is also available to those seeking residence in a more affordable area, enabling them to work within the Shelter Benefit amount. Whether you get two or three hundred dollars depends on the size of your household.
Travel benefit: If you need to travel outside of your area to attend a job interview, commence training, or begin work, you can access the same fixed rates for mileage, shelter, and meals as for the medical travel benefit.
Security deposit: This benefit is meant to cover the cost of the damage (or security) deposit on your residence. It is available up to the maximum amount of the Shelter Benefit.
Funeral benefits: Available to support those dealing with funeral expenses, this funding assists in covering the cost of funeral services.
Who Is Eligible For The Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) Program?
In order to be eligible for this social support program, you must meet the following criteria. If you are living with a spouse or partner, then these factors must apply to them as well. The threshold is set to make the program accessible to:
- Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or those with refugee status
- Saskatchewan residents
- Those of the age of majority (over the age of 18)
- Individuals with low income or no income
- Those who have made every other attempt to support themselves.
The program is meant as a means of last resort, helping ensure that only those who truly need the benefits are eligible. If this describes you, in order to facilitate approval, it is helpful to document your pursuits as you go. Keep track of your attempts to gain employment, get training, find affordable housing, and reduce your expenses. By offering substantiating documentation to prove the merit of your claim, you can expedite the process by reducing the need for back-and-forth communications.
How Do You Apply For The Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) Program?
It’s fairly easy to apply for this program, and the application can be completed either online or over the phone. In order to make it as smooth a process as possible, be sure to have the following information with you:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN) and Saskatchewan Health Services (HSN) number
- Details about those in your household, including SIN and HSN details
- Income details, supported with pay stubs or bank records
- Proof of living situations such as a lease or mortgage paperwork
- An active bank account held in your name, whether it is joint or individual
- Your direct deposit authorization form completed
- Information related to any other monies such as savings, cash on hand, investments, RRSPs, and any other income like stocks and bonds
- Details relating to property, including real estate, equipment, and vehicles
- Information on other benefits you are currently receiving, including pensions
From the time you submit your application, you get a period of 30 days to supply all of this information, lest the benefits be impacted or halted. Keep in mind that, if you apply as a couple, you must complete the application together. To be classified as a couple, you are either married or have lived together for upwards of three months. It also includes situations where you are living with your partner who is the parent of your child(ren). Finally, should you be socially construed as a couple, in that the public would make the assumption that you are a couple, then you must apply together.
Life is ever-changing, and for those who are unable to meet basic expenses without support, that can be a very frightening thing. The Saskatchewan Income Support system is there as a safety net, helping prevent the province’s vulnerable population from falling through the cracks. It offers each person the ability to live securely, ensuring human dignity of each individual, regardless of their social circumstance. You deserve to be able to live without constant fear of expenses; so, if you feel that you qualify for this benefit, submit an application. It is straightforward and structured in a fair and just manner. Everyone deserves security, and with the social assistance in Saskatchewan, it’s within reach.