The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) is a financial and health benefit available to Alberta residents with a permanent medical disability that prevents them from working.
AISH benefit payments are paid out monthly, and the amount varies depending on income, assets, and the number of dependent children.
The AISH program has been around since 1979, and it was one of the very first financial assistance programs for the severely handicapped.
Other programs in Alberta for those with disabilities include Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL), Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP), and the Alberta Grant for Students with Disabilities.
Programs similar to AISH in other provinces include the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID).
Read on to learn about AISH payment dates in 2023, amounts, and how to apply.
AISH Payment Dates 2023
The payment dates for AISH were recently updated to the first of the month. For months where the first day falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment date is the last business day of the previous month.
The AISH payment dates in 2023 are:
- December 22, 2022 (January 2023 benefits)
- February 1, 2023 (February benefits)
- March 1, 2023 (March benefits)
- March 31, 2023 (April benefits)
AISH payments are made via direct deposit to your bank account. To sign up for a direct deposit, you need to complete a Direct Deposit Registration Form and provide it to AISH along with a void cheque.
You can also receive payments via cheque.
What is AISH?
The AISH program provides a mix of health and financial benefits to Albertans who are unable to earn a living as a result of a debilitating or permanent medical condition.
The financial benefits include a:
- Monthly living allowance
- Child benefits
If you rent or own a house, you may qualify for a living allowance of $1,787 per month.
For those living in an approved nursing home or auxiliary hospital, a modified living allowance comprising a personal allowance rate ($342) and accommodation rate (up to $2,201) is provided.
The monthly benefit for dependent children is $212 for the first child and $106 for each additional child.
A variety of health benefits are also available through AISH, including:
- Prescription drugs
- Dental services
- Optical services
- Diabetic supplies
- Ambulance services
Eligible individuals can access these benefits using their AISH Health Benefits Card.
Who Qualifies for AISH Benefits?
To qualify for AISH, a combination of factors are assessed, and you must meet specific age, residency, financial and medical requirements.
Age: You must be at least 18 years of age and not be eligible for Old Age Security (OAS).
Residency: You must be a resident of Alberta and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. In addition, you cannot be incarcerated or live in a mental health facility.
Medical: You must have a severe handicap that significantly impacts your ability to work and earn an income. In general, you should have an impairment that:
- Affects your mental and/or physical functioning
- Limits your ability to earn a living
- Will likely continue to permanently hamper your ability to earn a living
While receiving AISH benefits, you are expected to continue to look for work and utilize available rehabilitation, training, and medical treatment that can help you take on gainful employment.
Financial: Your income and that of your spouse or partner impact your eligibility for AISH. Income is treated as either exempt, partially exempt, or non-exempt for the purposes of determining your eligibility for AISH.
Exempt income includes income tax refunds, Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) payments, death benefits, cash gifts, and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) payments.
Partially-exempt income includes employment income, self-employment income, passive business income, retirement allowance, spousal income from the CPP, EI, OAS, Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and more.
Your assets and investments are also considered. However, assets such as your primary residence and means of transportation (e.g. a car) are excluded.
To qualify for AISH, your non-exempt assets, such as cash, TFSA, RRSP, and savings, cannot exceed $100,000.
What Disabilities Qualify for AISH?
A medical report is part of the AISH application and is completed by a physician. Some of the medical conditions listed on the physicians’ guide are:
Neurological disorders: Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, paraplegia, muscular dystrophy, brain injury, dementia, learning disabilities, quadriplegia, cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson’s, and other neurological disorders.
Multi-systemic disorders: Cancer, AIDS, connective tissue disorders (e.g. lupus), and other multi-systemic disorders.
Cardiovascular disorders: Including heart disease, heart attack, and pulmonary embolism.
Respiratory disorders: Including respiratory diseases, e.g. COPD, asthma, and sleep disorder.
Musculoskeletal disorders: Arthritis, amputation, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, low back pain syndrome, spinal stenosis, etc.
Gastrointestinal disorders: Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
Renal disorders: Kidney disease and chronic renal failure.
Endocrinology disorders: Cystic fibrosis, diabetes, obesity, and other endocrinology diseases
Sensory disorders: Blindness, visual impairment, deafness, hearing impairment, and other sensory disorders.
Mental health: Psychosis, depression, bipolar mania, anxiety, personality disorder, substance use disorder, PTSD, and other mental illnesses.
The list also includes various cognitive and developmental disorders.
Having one or more of these disabilities/disorders is not a guarantee that you are eligible for AISH. Your medical history, level of impairment, potential treatment options, and prognoses may impact your final assessment.
How To Apply for AISH
To apply for the AISH benefit, complete Part A of the AISH application form and have your physician complete the medical report in Part B.
Submit your completed application form and other documents to AISH by either mailing them to P O Box 17000 Station Main, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4B3 or faxing them to 1-877-969-3006.
You can appeal it in writing within 30 days if your application is not approved.
How Much AISH Will You Get?
The basic living allowance is $1,787.
If you are living in an approved hospital or nursing home, the accommodation rate is paid as per the Nursing Homes Operation Regulation, and you receive a personal monthly allowance of $342. The maximum accommodation room rate payable is $2,201 or $72.35 per day.
AISH recipients with dependent children receive $200 monthly for the first child and $100 for each additional child.
You are encouraged to work and earn income while on AISH.
As a single individual, you can earn up to $1,072 in employment income per month without impacting your AISH payments. Income between $1,072 and $2,009 is 50% exempt.
Income exceeding $2,009 per month is clawed back at a rate of 1:1 from your AISH payment.
For a family, up to $2,612 in employment income is exempt when determining your AISH eligibility. income between $2,612 and $3,349 is 50% exempt, and income exceeding $3,349 is subject to a 1:1 clawback of AISH benefits.
AISH recipients can also qualify for additional emergency and personal benefits. Click here for the updated list.
Will AISH Increase in 2023?
As part of the Alberta Affordability Action Plan, AISH is increasing in 2023 by 6% and will be indexed to the cost of living (inflation) going forward.
The Living Allowance is increasing from a maximum of $1,685 monthly to $1,787, and the modified living allowance increases from $322 to $342. Child benefits have also increased.
- GST Payment Dates
- Canada Disability Benefits and Payments
- CPP Survivor and Death Benefits
- CPP and OAS Benefits After Death
AISH Benefit FAQs
AISH recipients can work and earn employment income without losing AISH benefits. Employment income up to $1,072 is fully exempt for single individuals and up to $2,612 for a family unit.
At age 65, AISH recipients automatically become enrolled for provincial seniors benefits when AISH ends. Recipients may qualify for OAS, GIS, and CPP benefits.
The maximum living allowance for 2023 is $1,787 per month.
AISH has increased by 6% in 2023. Eligible recipients will also receive an additional $100 in monthly Affordability Payments for six months between January and June 2023.
Have a question about AISH benefits? Leave them in the comments.