DISC calls on provincial government to cancel changes to programs that will impact people with disabilities
REGINA – The Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) today called upon the provincial government to cancel its proposed changes to reduce benefits for people with disabilities.
Last month the Ministry of Social Services announced that it would remove the exemption of the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement when calculating benefits for those who receive shelter benefits under the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan (SAP) and the Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability (SAID) program. Due to public outrage, the government has since announced that those changes are currently on hold while the Ministry conducts a review.
“We are concerned that people with disabilities who receive these benefits are currently living under a cloud of uncertainty since the decision is on hold. This is creating undue stress and anxiety among those who already face daily challenges. People are still living under the threat of having their benefits removed and the possibility of being unable to afford the basic necessities of life. It’s time for the government to cancel these changes altogether and allow these people to live in dignity,” said DISC Chair Judy Hannah.
The proposed changes will impact an estimated 2,700 people in the province. Since each case will have to be reviewed to determine if his/her benefits will end, this will create a significant increased workload on Social Services staff, who are already struggling with caseloads. DISC members have been experiencing an influx in calls of concern from their clients who are worried about being unable to make ends meet.
“Simply putting the decision on hold does not reduce the level of angst and worry in the community. The decision must be cancelled and then we can discuss ways to make Saskatchewan the best province in the country for people with disabilities to live, despite the current economic downturn,” said Hannah.
SAID is an income support program for people with significant and enduring disabilities that are of a permanent nature, substantially impacts daily living activities, and require assistance in the form of an assistive device, assistance of another person, a service animal, or other accommodation. SAP is a program for families and individuals who, for various reasons, including disability, illness, low income or unemployment, cannot meet their basic living costs.
DISC was formed in 2007 by a large cross section of disability advocates, consumers and organizations across Saskatchewan that are committed to advocating for a respectful, dignified and adequate income support system.
For further information, please contact Pat Rediger at (306) 522-9326 or [email protected].