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.