This post covers AISH payment dates for 2021, what is AISH, the eligibility and the benefit amounts.
The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) is a government of Alberta financial assistance program that is targeted towards adult residents with disabilities that limit their ability to work or earn a living.
Benefits are paid monthly and eligibility for the program is determined based on the applicant’s age, medical conditions, residency, and financial status (income and assets).
We’ll get into these in details later in the post.
But first, let’s look at the AISH payment dates for 2021.
AISH Payment Dates 2021
Effective March 2020, the Alberta government made changes to when the payments are made. The monthly payments are now received on the first day of the month, or the last business day of the previous month, if the first day falls on a weekend or holiday.
AISH benefits will be paid for each month of 2021 on the following dates:
|Month of Assistance||AISH Payment Dates|
|January 2021||Dec 29, 2020|
|February 2021||February 1, 2021|
|March 2021||March 1, 2021|
|April 2021||April 1, 2021|
|May 2021||April 30, 2021|
|June 2021||June 1, 2021|
|July 2021||June 30, 2021|
|August 2021||July 30, 2021|
|September 2021||September 1, 2021|
|October 2021||October 1, 2021|
|November 2021||November 1, 2021|
|December 2021||December 1, 2021|
In addition, benefits for January 2022 will be paid by late December 2021 since January 1 2022 would be a public holiday.
Payments are usually made at midnights on these dates. If you’ve signed up for direct deposit, you can expect to receive your payment on these dates.
Otherwise, you should receive your cheque in the mail on or within 3 days of each month’s payment date.
To ensure you receive the benefits on each AISH payment dates, you can sign up for direct deposits. Check this page for details on how to set it up.
What is AISH?
AISH is a financial and health benefits program that provides support to residents of Alberta that have a severe disability that limits their ability to work. The support is provided through a monthly living allowance and on-going medical coverage for various health services.
The program was introduced in 1979 and now supports about 70,000 Albertans.
It is similar to the ODSP social assistance program from the Ontario Government.
AISH Benefits Amount
There are 4 different benefits under the AISH program and the amount you can get under each one varies.
Monthly Living Allowance
You can receive either the standard or modified living allowance depending on where you live: within the community or at a facility.
Standard Living Allowance: The program was introduced in 1979 with a standard living allowance of $370 but it has since grown to the current amount of $1,685.
The allowance is for those that live in private residences including a house they own or rent, with families or even homeless.
Modified Living Allowance: This is for applicants that live in approved nursing homes, auxiliary hospitals, or other designated supportive living facility (DSL). You can receive up to $322 as personal allowance rate and up to $2,120 depending on the type of accommodation.
AISH Child benefit pays a monthly benefit to offset the cost of raising dependent children. It is $200 per month for the first child and $100 for each additional child.
Beneficiaries receive a AISH Health Benefits Card to access a number of health services including dental, prescription, optical, diabetic supplies, emergency ambulance and Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL).
Finally, there is the personal benefits that provides extra monthly or one-time payments in addition to the ones above.
The 3 types of benefits covered are health-related, benefits for dependent children and other personal benefits.
To access the extra support, you need to demonstrate a need, have a financial hardship, and own assets below $5,000.
For more information about the benefits and how much you can get, visit this AISH page.
You can also check this financial summary of all the AISH benefits.
Each applicant’s eligibility for AISH is accessed under 4 distinct criteria: Medical, age, residency and financial.
An applicant must satisfy all 4 to be eligible for the benefit
AISH applicants must have a medical condition or severe handicap that limits their ability to earn a living, and the condition is likely to remain permanent.
In addition, the medical condition must be the main reason why the applicant’s income earning capacity is constrained. Other factors like the level of education don’t count.
You must also satisfy these conditions:
- Take advantage of any available rehabilitation; and
- Continue to look for, maintain or accept reasonable employment.
The applicant must be 18 years and above and not eligible for Old Age Security Pension. That is, AISH benefit stops at 65. Even if you decide to delay OAS till 70, you will still be ineligible for AISH.
AISH applicants can apply up to 6 months before they turn 18. So it is possible to apply for AISH before turning 18, but benefit payments will only start once they turn 18.
Obviously, you must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent resident that lives in Alberta. Applicants must have and show a proof of established residence in Alberta before they can start their AISH application.
Also, anyone in a mental health facility or correctional facility is ineligible for AISH.
If you, your partner or dependent children, will be leaving Alberta for more than 30 days, you’re expected to report it to your AISH case worker. The information is used to determine your on-going eligibility for the program.
The financial criteria is tested under 2 sections: income and assets. An applicant’s income and assets, and that of their spouse or partner must not exceed the limits set by the program.
You can continue to work and still be eligible for the AISH benefit. In fact, the program encourages applicants to work as much as they can.
Also, you must apply for all other benefits and income you’re eligible for including Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan Disability or Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB).
In general, the total income reported on your tax returns, and that of your partner, will be used by AISH. But how each income is treated will depend on the type, who receives it and whether the applicant has a spouse/partner and any dependent children.
Income is classified as either exempt, partially exempt or non-exempt:
Exempt Income are those that won’t count towards calculating the monthly living allowance you can get. These include cash gifts, registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), registered disability savings plan (RDSP) payments, and income refunds.
Partially exempt income under AISH count towards the monthly allowance but not at full value. Employment income, passive or self-employment income all fall under this category.
Finally, non-exempt income reduces the AISH monthly living allowances at full value. They include other government benefits like Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan Disability or Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB).
Items of value owned by you or your spouse are considered in accessing your AISH eligibility. These include investments, cash, vehicles, properties and so on.
Like income, there are exempt and non-exempt assets.
Exempt assets are clothing, vehicle (including a second one adapted for a disability), the home you live in, a trust and registered disability savings plans (RDSPs).
Non-exempt assets under AISH are cash, cash inheritances, recreational home and vehicles, chequing and savings accounts, tax-free savings accounts (TFSA) and registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs).
Together, the non-exempt assets must not exceed $100,000.
Temporary asset exception: You have 365 days to invest any money AISH does not consider as income in an exempt asset.
If uninvested after the cut-off, the money will be treated as non-exempt and may affect your AISH eligibility. Examples include inheritance, gifts and proceeds from the sale of a primary home or vehicle.
To maintain eligibility for AISH, each applicant and their cohabiting partners have certain responsibilities and things to do. Some of these include:
- Continue to reside in Alberta
- Use benefits for the intended purpose; and
- Report changes to their circumstances as soon as possible
The changes in circumstances that must be reported are broad. They include changes to your residency status, income, employment status, number of dependent children, medical condition, cohabitation status and so on.
You can find a list of all the conditions and changes that must be reported by visiting the Human Services Ministry of Alberta website.
AISH may request for a review of your circumstances at any time. The cost of any medical test, if any, will be covered by the program.
Eligible Disabilities For AISH
Several disabilities and disorders qualify for AISH benefit. The physician is expected to provide details of the applicant’s conditions and diagnosis while filling PART B of the AISH application.
The disabilities that qualify for AISH can be categorized into 3 groups:
Multi-system Disorders: Cancer, HIV/AIDS, lupus, scleroderma, and other multi-system disorders
Neurological Disorders: Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, dementia, dyslexia, ADHD and other neurological disorders
Muscular-skeletal disorders: Amputation, Arthritis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and so on
Renal Disorders: Kidney disease and chronic renal failure
Cardiovascular disorders: heart attack, heart disease, pulmonary embolism
Respiratory disorders: Asthma, sleep disorder, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Sensory disorders: Deafness, blindness, visual impairment, hearing impairment etc.
Also included under physical disorders are Gastrointestinal disorders, Endocrinology disorders, and other disorders.
Anxiety, personality disorder, substance abuse disorder (alcohol and drugs), depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental illness
Cognitive / Developmental
This includes Down syndrome, moderate, mild or severe/profound developmental disability, and other developmental disability
How do you apply for AISH benefit?
Download and complete the Part A (Applicant Information) of the AISH application form. The Part B (Medical Report) will be filled by your Doctor.
Once done, the forms can be submitted through any of the options below:
- Submit online
- Fax: 1-877-969-3006 (toll free) or 587-469-3006 (Edmonton area)
- Mail: PO Box 17000 Station Main, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4B3 ; or
- Take them to the nearest AISH office (over 30 across Alberta)
You can download the forms and the guides to filling them here.
If your application for AISH benefits is not approved, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons and the next steps you can take such as providing additional information or appealing the decision.
You’ll have 30 days to appeal an AISH decision in writing. If you need more time, you can request for extra time to file the appeal but the request must be made within the 30 days window.
AISH Payment Increase
Unfortunately, there are no plans to increase the AISH benefit payments for now.
The current maximum allowance of $1,685 came after a 7-year pause since the last increase in 2012 when the benefit was $1,588.
Indexation, that gradually increase the benefit in line with rising cost of living annually, was introduced by the NDP government in 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2019. But it is now on hold by the UCP government to address the budget deficit.
While there have been reports of a review to the AISH benefit program for 2021 and potential cuts, the government has ruled out any reduction in the benefit payments.
But it is safe to say that there’s a slim chance that the AISH benefit will be increasing any time soon.
FAQ for AISH Benefit
It is $1,685 per month for the standard living allowance (basic benefits) for beneficiaries living in the community. Those living at a facility can receive up to $322 per month as personal allowance rate and up to $2,120 depending on the type of accommodation. You can receive extra benefits over and above the basic benefits if you can demonstrate a need for it.
The are no plans to increase the AISH payments for the 2021 benefit year. In fact, indexation that increases the benefit payments in line with cost of living was suspended in 2020.
AISH benefit payment stops at age 65. At that age, beneficiaries can access Old Age Security (OAS) Pension. Even if they decide to delay OAS till 70, they will still be ineligible for AISH.
No, the payment received under the AISH program are not taxable.
The monthly AISH benefits are paid on the first day of the month, or the last business day of the previous month, if the first day falls on a weekend or holiday.