AISH eligibility

To be eligible for AISH, you must meet general and medical criteria.

General criteria

Age and residency

  • you’re at least 18 years old and not eligible to receive an Old Age Security pension
  • you live in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • you aren’t in a correctional facility or some mental health facilities such as Alberta Hospital Edmonton

Financial

  • you and your spouse or partner must apply for all other income you may be eligible for, such as Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D), employment insurance (EI) or Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) benefits
  • you and your spouse or partner don’t have income or assets that are higher than the AISH program allows
  • you can work and be eligible for AISH – clients are encouraged to work to the extent they are able

Income

  • AISH typically considers income reported on your income tax form and your spouse or partner’s income tax form
  • AISH does not consider a dependent child’s income
  • some income like cash gifts, income tax refunds and registered disability savings plan (RDSP) payments are exempt – these are not counted and do not affect your AISH monthly living allowance
  • some income is non-exempt or partially exempt – it is counted at full or partial value and may affect your AISH monthly living allowance:
    • employment income such as a wages paid by an employer, a training allowance or severance pay
    • self-employment income such as business, farming or professional income
    • passive business income such as interest, dividends, capital gains, trust and rental income
    • pension income such as Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D), employment insurance (EI) and Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) benefits
  • before exemptions are applied, allowable income deductions are applied such as most Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employment deductions like CPP and EI
  • different types of income exemptions apply depending on:
    • the income type
    • whether you’re single or in a family with a spouse or partner and / or dependent children, and
    • who receives the income

AISH income exemptions

  • the Single Exemption applies to:
    • a single applicant or AISH client
    • a couple, with no dependent children, who are both eligible for AISH – each partner or spouse receives the single exemption
  • the Family Exemption applies to:
    • a single applicant or AISH client with dependent children
    • a couple, with or without dependent children, where one spouse or partner is eligible for AISH – the income of each partner or spouse is combined under the family exemption
    • a couple, with dependent children, who are both eligible for AISH – one spouse or partner receives the family exemption and one receives the single exemption. The exemption applied to each spouse or partner is decided based on what benefits the family the most

Income exemption table

  Single exemption Family exemption
Employment / Self-employment Income
  • first $800 of income is not counted
  • 50% of additional income between $801 and $1,500 is not counted, up to $1,150 maximum
  • first $1,950 of income is not counted
  • 50% of additional income between $1,951 and $2,500 is not counted, up to $2,225 maximum
Passive Business Income and Pension Income Received by a Spouse / Partner Who is Not Eligible for AISH
  • first $200 of income is not counted
  • 25% of any amount over $200 is not counted
  • first $775 of income is not counted
  • 25% of any amount over $775 is not counted
Pension Income Received by a Client
  • non-exempt (full amount counted) – the amount is deducted dollar-for-dollar from the monthly living allowance
  • non-exempt (full amount counted) – the amount is deducted dollar-for-dollar from the monthly living allowance

To see how employment income exemption is calculated, see AISH Employment Income Exemption Calculation Examples(0.46 MB).

The Income Category Table (0.09 MB) and the Income Type Exemption Table (0.1 MB) show you how AISH considers income.

Assets

  • assets are items of value like cash, investments, property and vehicles that are owned by the applicant, client or their spouse or partner
  • AISH treats assets as exempt (not-counted) or non-exempt (counted)
  • exempt assets include things like:
    • a home or quarter section you live in
    • a vehicle
    • a second vehicle adapted for a disability
    • clothing
    • reasonable household items
    • RDSP
  • non-exempt assets can’t be worth more than $100,000 when they’re added together and may include:
    • cash
    • chequing or savings accounts
    • tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs)
    • registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs)
    • cash inheritances
    • a recreational property or home
    • recreational vehicles

Medical criteria

  • you must have a disability that is likely to remain permanent
  • your disability must be the main factor limiting your ability to earn a living, not other factors such as your education level
  • AISH considers whether training, rehabilitation or medical treatment will help you to work enough to earn a living