AISH changes aim to up accessibility
The province is looking to eliminate a rule that currently prevents people with trust funds from also receiving benefits under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Act.
Advocates say the law has had the unintended effect of leaving some children without AISH benefits after their parents die.
If passed, new legislation proposed Monday would allow families, guardians and AISH recipients to set up trusts without the trustee being disqualified from AISH eligibility.
At a news conference, Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir announced Bill 5, The Act to Strengthen Financial Security for Persons with Disabilities.
Currently, only people with non-discretionary trusts are eligible for AISH benefits. The change would allow all trusts to be an allowed asset.
Bill 5 also introduces a oneyear grace period for AISH recipients who receive a payment such as an inheritance or gift, which are considered non-exempt assets, to place that money into a trust so they don’t lose their benefits.
The bill was inspired by a private member’s bill by CalgaryCurrie MLA Brian Malkinson, which did not ultimately pass. Malkinson learned from a constituent that inherited assets were causing people to lose their AISH supports after they lost a loved one.
The bill is welcome news for Tina Trigg, who moved to Alberta from Ontario and was “completely floored” to learn of the discrepancy between provinces when setting up her will for her daughters, including Sanna, 11, who has a developmental disability.
Sabir said the bill is expected to come into force on April 1.