Alberta reforms AISH process, allows online applications

Alberta is making it easier to apply for provincial funding for those with disabilities.

New forms for those with disabilities simplifies language to remove barriers

Community and Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir poses with Alberta MLAs and AISH clients to discuss the province's new AISH guide. (Government of Alberta)

Alberta is making it easier to apply for provincial funding for those with disabilities.

The government announced Monday that it's new Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) application forms are shorter and use plainer language to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from getting the support they need. 

Those applying for assistance and their doctors can also now fill out their forms at the same time, when before the form had to be filled out by an applicant and then submitted to their doctor, lengthening the wait time before it could be approved. 

There's also now an online option for applicants to submit their forms. 

"We are making changes so that the program is easier to access, more consistent and responsive to Albertans' needs," said Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir in a release. 

Other changes to the program include:

  • The end of the "earning a livelihood" policy, which limited the number of hours an applicant could work to be eligible. 
  • A streamlined application process.
  • A new guide and additional training for staff on eligibility.
  • An updated appeal form and centralized appeal process. 

More than 55,000 Albertans rely on AISH, which provides health and financial supports to people with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities. In 2016, 12,000 people applied for the program.

The changes were made based on recommendations outlined in an auditor general report in November 2016, which found "long-standing issues related to the program's application process, how the program is monitored and reported on, and the program's overall efficiency," according to the new AISH action plan.

People are eligible for AISH if they are an adult living in Alberta, have a permanent medical condition that limits their ability to earn a living and meet criteria for financial eligibility.