Payment changes to AISH and Income Support Benefits causing issues for recipients

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AISH and Income Support Benefit payment changes causing issues for recipients – Jan 28, 2020

Alberta recipients of Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and the Income Support Benefit are dealing with changes to their programs that they say will have negative effects.

Global News spoke to Jacqulyn Gaschnitz, who relies on the Barrier to Full Employment (BFE) program. When she checked her bank account Tuesday, the payment she received was $97 short of the usual amount.

Others who rely on the BFE told Global News they’ve had the same shortfall.

“Well, there goes transportation,” said Gaschnitz. “If I have to take a cab somewhere, if my kid gets sick and I have to take him to the doctor, I can’t cab him.

“I’m supposed to go stand out by a bus because I don’t have that extra bit of money that was meant for transportation.”

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READ MORE: Rally held at Alberta legislature against provincial cuts

The UCP said in a statement that it was focusing on funding transit for low-income people.

Budget 2019 dedicated $9.5 million to continue the Low Income Transit Program (LITP) in Edmonton and Calgary,” read a statement from Diane Carter, press secretary for the Alberta Ministry of Community & Society Services.

“The benefit an AISH or Income Support client receives fully covers the cost of a transit pass.”

This follows another change to the AISH and Income Support payments: beginning March 1, those who receive them will be getting their payments on the first of each month.

Currently, the payments are made a few days before the beginning of the month.

“[It] means you’re in a mad rush to pay your rent, to pay your bills, to pay everything because it’s the first of the month,” said Gashnitz.

“What if your cheque doesn’t come in on time and your file is frozen and it’s the first of the month, and you go and check your bank account and it’s empty?”

READ MORE: Alberta budget 2019 full of ‘broken promises,’ bad news for taxpayers: officials

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To address concerns, people relying on AISH and Income Support are holding a town hall meeting Feb. 8 at the University of Alberta.