Status: Bill 26 received Royal Assent Dec. 11, 2018
Ministry responsible: Community and Social Services

Overview

All Albertans deserve to live with dignity and provide for their families.

Bill 26: An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities will increase financial supports for 250,000 Albertans – including people with disabilities, low income families and seniors.

This is one of the many actions being taken to reduce poverty and ensure the economic recovery reaches all Albertans.

Legislation details

The following changes would come into effect on Jan. 1, 2019:

  • Core and supplementary benefit rates will increase for people who receive:
    • Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)
    • Income Support
    • Alberta Seniors Benefit and related special needs assistance program
    • minimum monthly disposable income while living in lodges, long-term care and designated supportive living
  • Benefit rates will go up each year to keep up with inflation – as measured by Alberta's Consumer Price Index – to help people manage rising costs of living.
  • The amount of income an AISH recipient or their spouse can earn from employment or passive sources without affecting their benefit amount will increase. The exemptions for pension income earned by the spouse of an AISH client will also increase.
  • The child allowance benefit for AISH will increase from $100 per child to $200 for the first child and $100 for each subsequent child.
  • The amount of savings or assets a person can have when determining eligibility will go up for:
    • AISH child allowance
    • AISH supplementary personal benefits
    • Income Support

Examples of benefit rate increases

The following benefits will go up on Jan. 1, 2019. Benefits will be indexed annually to keep pace with inflation.

Rates will change depending on a person’s needs and family size.

The table shows examples of the core monthly rate increase for single people with no children.

Benefit - core rate examples for single people with no children Current rate New rate on Jan. 1
AISH $1,588 $1,685
Income Support (expected to work, private housing) $627 $745
Income Support (barriers to full employment, private housing) $809 $866
Income Support (learners, private housing) $847 $866

The table below shows examples of the core monthly rate increase for single people with two children.

Benefit - core rate examples for single people with two children Current rate New rate on Jan. 1
AISH $1,788 $1,985 (includes $200 for first child and $100 for each subsequent child)
Income Support (expected to work, private housing) $997 $1,293
Income Support (barriers to full employment, private housing) $1,208 $1,414
Income Support (learners, private housing) $1,527 $1,568

Examples of eligibility changes

  • The value of a person’s assets (vehicle, savings accounts, etc.) are considered when determining if they are eligible for benefits.
  • The asset limits to access the following programs will go up on Jan. 1, 2019 to allow people to save for their future and regain their independence:
Benefit Current asset limit New asset limit on Jan. 1
AISH child allowance $3,000 $100,000 (same as general AISH eligibility)
AISH personal benefits $3,000 $5,000

AISH income exemptions

  • Income that AISH recipients and their spouses earn from other sources are also considered when determining their AISH benefit amount – including employment, pension or passive business income from interest or investments.
  • The income exemption thresholds for AISH will also go up on Jan. 1, 2019:

AISH employment income

The following income exemptions will apply, making it possible for clients and their spouses to earn more employment income without affecting their AISH benefits.

  Fully exempt 50% exempt Maximum total exemption
  Current New Current New Current New
Single Up to $800 Up to $1,072 $800 - $1,500 $1,072 - $2,009 $1,150 $1,541
Family/Couple (combined income) Up to $1,950 Up to $2,612 $1,950 - $2,500 $ 2,612 - $3,349 $2,225 $2,981

AISH passive/spousal pension income

The following income exemptions will apply, making it possible for clients and their spouses to earn more passive income without affecting their AISH benefits.

  Fully exempt 25% exempt
  Current New Current New
Single Up to $200 Up to $300 Remaining amount Remaining amount
Couple (combined income) Up to $775 Up to $875 Remaining amount Remaining amount

Timeline

Bill 26 has passed in the Alberta legislature.

Clients will receive the new benefit rates beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

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