March 22, 2019 7:12 pm
Updated: March 25, 2019 8:06 am

SAID program recipients to see more money, tax exempt income

"So we wanted to be able to give them the opportunity when it works for them throughout the year," Paul Merriman said.

Dave Parsons / Global News

Recipients of the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) benefit who are able to work will be able to keep more of their income going forward. As announced in the 2019-20 provincial budget, their income exemption will now be calculated annually and the ceiling will be raised.

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Previously, recipients income would be logged monthly with a certain amount being tax-free. Spread over a year, this added up to $3,900 for individuals, $5,100 for couples and $2,400 for families.

READ MORE: ‘The right balance’: Saskatchewan delivers balanced budget

Starting this summer, exempt income will be spread across the year and the ceiling will be raised to $6,000 per year for individuals, $7,200 for couples, and $8,500 for families.

“What we were told by a lot of our clients is that they were working in the summer hours, and they were maxing out over $500 or $600 in the summer hours and we didn’t want that to be clawed back if they’re not working in the winter hours, so we wanted to try and accommodate their schedules,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said.

“So we wanted to be able to give them the opportunity when it works for them throughout the year.”

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The reverse case also exists, as Merriman said working for the Salvation Army during their Christmas kettle campaign is a common job for SAID recipients.

Social services critic Nicole Rancourt said the Opposition is still working through all details contained in the budget but is glad to see more money coming for SAID recipients.

READ MORE: Sask. government promises more support for mental health and addictions services

“Any increase to income support programs would be something we support because we know that the level of income they’re receiving at this point isn’t helping with the cost of living,” she said.

In addition to these income exemption changes, SAID is receiving a $6.3 million funding increase. The total increase across all income assistance programs in $10 million.

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