Changes to AISH rules will be a huge relief for families looking to plan for the future.
Bill 5 passed first reading in the Legislature on Monday, March 19, and if passed will allow families and guardians to set up trusts to provide for persons with disabilities without negatively affecting their eligibility for the AISH program.
The Executive Director with Foothills SNAPS in High River, Orvella Small says it's very good news.
"It's a positive change," said Small. "Families will be able to look at their wills in a different way. Even extended families will be able to support their grandchildren and nieces and nephews if they want to."
Under the current rules as soon as a AISH recipient gets an inheritance or a trust fund they immediately lose access to their funding, even before anything is probated which leaves them without any funding at all.
"Which makes it very difficult for them."
Small adds the inheritance or trust fund should be used for when AISH funding stops at age 65.
"There are many individuals who will not have been employed and have not built up any CPP to access. So all they will have is the old age pension which really puts people at a disadvantage. So by families being able to leave a trust will allow for those individuals to not live in that manner."
This will also give families peace of mind knowing their loved ones are taken care of once they are gone.
"It certainly makes it a lot more feasible, when families are making the decision, knowing they are not going to be here to support their son or daughter and knowing that they can support them by leaving some funding so they can carry on in life."
"To be fair it will be a huge peace of mind for families knowing they can do this and their sons and daughters will be taken care of."
The bill will allow families, guardians and AISH recipients to set up trusts to provide for persons with disabilities without negatively affecting a person’s eligibility for the AISH program.
Under the proposed legislation, a one-year grace period would come into effect to allow people time to move an inheritance or other lump sum payment into a trust or other exempt asset.
- The AISH program provides a living allowance, health benefits, and supplementary benefits to eligible adult Albertans with a permanent disability.
- Close to 60,000 Albertans receive AISH benefits.
- The treatment of trust income is not changing and may affect the level of an AISH client’s monthly living allowance.
- An applicant’s age, residency, financial and medical situation are considered when determining eligibility for the AISH program.
- The amount of the monthly living allowance an AISH client receives depends on any other income they or their spouse/partner have.
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