Edmonton

Human Services aims for AISH action plan by year's end

Auditor General Merwan Saher pointed to long delays and inconsistent decisions on eligibility for the program, which provides income for Albertans with disabilities that prevent them from working.

'There is an urgency and it’s a priority for this government,' Human Services minister says

Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir says fixing AISH is a priority for the government. (CBC )

The Alberta government is forming an internal committee to fix problems with the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program highlighted in the latest report from Auditor General Merwan Saher. 

On Monday, Saher pointed to long delays and inconsistent decisions on eligibility for the program, which provides income for Albertans with disabilities that prevent them from working.

The audit, which took place between February and August of this year, found that the department doesn't know what it needs to do to fix the problems.

Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir said Thursday an internal committee, made up of assistant deputy ministers, will come up with a plan by the end of the year.

"I think we are on a very tight timeline," Sabir said. "There is an urgency and it's a priority for this government to get this as soon as practicable."

When Premier Rachel Notley was in opposition in 2013, she called on the Progressive Conservative government of the day to take action on wait times, which were then as long as 23 weeks.

The auditor general's review found some AISH applicants now wait nearly 29 weeks to start receiving benefits. 

The audit found that information on the program was hard to find on the government's web site.

Sabir said his department launched a new web page on Monday that outlines the application process, eligibility for benefits and payment details.

now