Life on $26 a day – DISC Media Release

DISC
Media Release

For immediate release
Sept. 2, 2011

 

Life on $26 a day

 On social assistance, a single person with a disability receives $784 a month. That total is divided as follows: $459 for shelter; $255 for food, clothing and other personal needs; a $50 disability allowance; and a $20 travel allowance. This funding can be reduced to a total of $26 per day, with $8.50 earmarked for personal expenses, and $15.30 set aside for shelter each day. It is difficult to imagine three quality meals each day purchased with $8.50, even without the cost of medication, household items, clothing and other expenses subtracted.

“It is a tight rope that people with disabilities walk every day,” says Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) Chair Judy Hannah. “The money they receive from social assistance is not sufficient for the necessities of life, and as a result people with disabilities are forced to make decisions between things like their medication and food.”

Hannah adds the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) Program, launched by the Government of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2009, has helped some people with disabilities. SAID is a mechanism providing income to people with disabilities that is an alternative to social assistance, and though advancements have been made to SAID, Hannah says it remains insufficient: “The reality is that there are not enough people receiving income through SAID, and those who are enrolled in the program still don’t receive an adequate amount.” At present, less than 3,000 people with disabilities are enrolled in SAID and only small increases have been promised to the level of support delivered by SAID.

DISC, and each of its 38 member organizations, is dedicated to working cooperatively with the Province to increase the number of people enrolled in SAID, and increase the level of income for both those already enrolled in the program and those who will be enrolled in the future. The Government of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Social Services have already taken steps to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the province, but there is a great deal left to be done. DISC anticipates a productive future relationship with the Province that will benefit people with disabilities.

“The people who stand to gain from the SAID program are either limited in their ability to work or entirely unable to work,” says Hannah. “These are people who want to work, but their disability makes that very difficult. People with disabilities must overcome many hurdles, and struggling to make ends meet on $26 a day should not be one of them.”

On Nov. 7, 2011 Saskatchewan will go to the polls. DISC encourages all voters and candidates to keep the needs of people with disabilities in mind through this election season. Voice your opinion and support the expansion of the SAID program. For more information visit DISC online at www.saskdisc.ca, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saskdisc or on Twitter, @DISCsk.

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For further information on DISC, please contact Judy Hannah at (306) 955-3344 ext. 112.

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