Less pa­per­work for se­niors with dis­abil­i­ties

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - Con­trib­uted

AISH re­cip­i­ents will be au­to­mat­i­cally en­rolled in Al­berta’s se­niors fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance pro­grams once they turn 65, en­sur­ing un­in­ter­rupted ben­e­fits.

Un­til now, AISH re­cip­i­ents had to sub­mit a sep­a­rate ap­pli­ca­tion for provin­cial se­niors ben­e­fits. This is un­nec­es­sary red tape since the gov­ern­ment al­ready has the re­quired in­for­ma­tion.

Auto-en­rol­ment will elim­i­nate an un­nec­es­sary ap­pli­ca­tion process and en­sure AISH re­cip­i­ents will not miss out on provin­cial fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance they may be el­i­gi­ble for as they reach age 65.

“Re­duc­ing red tape for se­niors with dis­abil­i­ties will en­sure our most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens get un­in­ter­rupted ser­vice as they turn 65. Al­berta se­niors built this prov­ince and our gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to find­ing in­no­va­tive ways to re­move bar­ri­ers and im­prove ac­cess to the ser­vices they need,” said Josephine Pon, Min­is­ter of Se­niors and Hous­ing.

The change in process also makes it eas­ier for se­niors with dis­abil­i­ties to nav­i­gate the fi­nan­cial sup­port sys­tem. Civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions play a crit­i­cal role in sup­port­ing these se­niors. Mov­ing for­ward, those or­ga­ni­za­tions will be able to fo­cus more en­ergy and re­sources on other ar­eas of sup­port.

“Stream­lin­ing the en­rol­ment process be­tween AISH and se­niors fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance is a pos­i­tive step in the right di­rec­tion. This change will take some of the pres­sure off AISH re­cip­i­ents as their 65th birth­day nears and it will al­low the or­ga­ni­za­tions which sup­port these in­di­vid­u­als to fo­cus their sup­port in other ar­eas,” said Sheila Serup, chair, Premier’s Coun­cil on the Sta­tus of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties.

The news comes as a wel­come sur­prise to those who work with AISH re­cip­i­ents.

“The change is a wel­come sur­prise to us. We look for­ward to telling AISH re­cip­i­ents they won’t have to worry about fill­ing out ex­tra pa­per­work to ap­ply for provin­cial se­niors ben­e­fits,” said Gail Sop­kow, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Op­er­a­tion Friend­ship Se­niors So­ci­ety.

There are 64,000 AISH re­cip­i­ents and 44 per cent are age 50 or older. Around 125 older adults re­ceiv­ing AISH turn 65 each month and will ben­e­fit from the stream­lined process.

Auto-en­rolling AISH re­cip­i­ents in se­niors ben­e­fits is part of the gov­ern­ment’s Red Tape Re­duc­tion Strat­egy. Un­der the strat­egy, the prov­ince is iden­ti­fy­ing ways to elim­i­nate waste, du­pli­ca­tion and non-es­sen­tial spend­ing to bet­ter fund key pri­or­i­ties.

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