DISC Applauds Changes to Income Exemptions

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release March 26, 2019

DISC Applauds Changes to Income Exemptions

REGINA – The Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) applauds the provincial government’s plan to increase in income exemption levels for those who receive benefits through the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program (SAID). The changes were announced on Wednesday, March 20, as part of the 2019-20 provincial budget.

“We are pleased that individuals who receive SAID will be able to keep more of their hard-earned cash in their pockets. Increased income exemptions has long been a top priority of DISC. We applaud the Ministry of Social Services for listening to stakeholders and responding with this change. ” said DISC Chair Alaina Harrison. “These changes will have a real and positive impact for those who are able to supplement their SAID benefits with employment”.

SAID income exemptions will be increased, simplified and spread over a year, rather than month by month, with changes that come into effect in summer 2019. The new income exemption amounts will be $6,000 for a single person, $7,200 for a childless couple, and $8,500 for families.

The change from a monthly to an annualized exemption means that earners can work seasonal jobs and spread the earnings across the year. DISC also appreciates that the Ministry of Social Services has simplified the income exemption calculation by moving from a mixed formula to a flat rate exemption, providing greater clarity for both earners and employers on how many hours can be worked before having to worry about accidentally incurring an overpayment from Social Services.

DISC members participated in consultations on income exemptions with the Ministry of Social Services in the late fall. During consultations, members advocated for a higher exemption as well as an annualized calculation.

Dave Nelson, a long-time DISC member and Associate Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Saskatchewan Division said: “we are very happy with the changes made to the earnings exemption limit made by the government in their recent budget announcement. These changes will help persons on SAID to be able to earn more and spread out limits over time. “

DISC is a coalition of nearly 50 member organizations from across Saskatchewan, formed by a large cross section of disability advocates and people with lived experience. We speak with one voice in advocating for a respectful, dignified and adequate income support system with increased funding for people living with disabilities. DISC was part of the Government and Community Task Team that launched SAID in 2009.
DISC looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government of Saskatchewan on the further improvement of the SAID program.

For further information, please contact Alaina Harrison at 306-531-5107 or [email protected]

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