AISH changes aim to up ac­ces­si­bil­ity

StarMetro Edmonton - - News - Omar Mosleh

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.

Metro

Tina Trigg.

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