Budget's boost for AISH applauded

Agencies say the benefit increase for disabled people in Thursday's budget will mean a huge improvement in their lives.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Deputy Premier Doug Horner applaud after Finance Minister Ron Liepert delivers his budget speech in Edmonton on Thursday. (Ian Jackson/The Canadian Press)

Agencies say the benefit increase for disabled people in Thursday's budget will mean a huge improvement in their lives.

The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program serves about 46,000 people with permanent disabilities who are unable to work.

Recipients currently receive $1188 a month. Starting April 1, monthly payments will be bumped up to $1,588, a $400 increase.

And the amount of income AISH recipients are allowed to earn before their benefits are clawed-back will double from $400 to $800 a month for a single person.

The extra money will give many disabled Albertans a better quality of life, said Colleen Huston, co-ordinator of the Calgary Ability Network.

"We know many people that are stuck at home, they can't afford a bus ticket and they are choosing to stay home just to kind of make ends meet, sitting in the dark not able to turn their lights on."

"And that is not really a high quality of life and so today's such a great day because it's finally nice to be heard by government ," she said.

AISH recipient Pamela Macil said the increase means she can go out for a coffee.