SAID Program Liberates People from Welfare Status
Persons with disabilities are benefiting from another promise our government is working hard to keep. That is to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada for disabled persons to live.
Improvements to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities (SAID) program will see benefits increase significantly over the next four years. Several allowances under the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan (SAP) are being restructured into a single “Living Income”, distinguishing SAID as a non-welfare support.
There are several key differences between SAID and SAP:
• Benefits – the benefits for SAID are currently $50 higher than for SAP. A commitment has been made to further increase the benefits for SAID, starting later in 2012.
• Benefit Structure – the Task Team on Income Support for People with Disabilities recommended in their final report (2009) that SAID benefits include three main components:
--Exceptional Need Income
The Ministry has been working with the disability community on the development of each of these components.
• Supplementary Health Benefits – SAID recipients will continue to receive the same coverage through the Ministry of Health that is now provided through SAP.
• Effective January 1, 2012, SAID beneficiaries living in residential care received a $50 per month benefit increase.
• SAID beneficiaries can now also receive an inheritance or life insurance payment of up to $100,000 without any change in their ongoing benefits.
• Over the next four years, benefits will increase by:
--$100 per month on average for individuals living in residential care settings;
--$350 per month on average for individuals living independently ($200 beginning June 2012); and
--$400 per month on average for couples ($230 beginning June 2012).
It is important that people with disabilities live with dignity and independence. Saskatchewan now has a unique income support program that responds to the needs of people with significant and enduring disabilities. The stigma of ‘welfare’ dependence has been removed.
Beginning June 2012, SAID was be expanded to include people who are living independently. The expansion of SAID enrolment is underway with disability impact assessments being conducted by a third-party, the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. Currently, SAP recipients who have a disability and who are living independently are being assessed for eligibility for SAID. These assessments began in January 2012 and are still taking place across the province.
The recent changes to SAID have been publically welcomed by the Disability Income Support Coalition, through a thank you to Premier Wall on its website. The Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities has also documented the government’s announcements regarding SAID, and offers assistance to people who wish to apply for the program.
The SAID program was introduced in October 2009 in collaboration with members of the disability community with the goal of providing a dignified income support program for persons with significant and enduring disabilities separate from SAP. This collaboration will continue on the further development of SAID.
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