Archive for the ‘Article of Interest’ Category

DISC letter to Minister Harpauer

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Below is a letter sent from DISC to minister Harpouer this morning:

2016-letter-re-SAID-concerns-to-Minister

DISC letter to Minister Harpauer

Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC)
3031 Louise Street
Saskatoon, SK
S7J 3L1
August 11, 2016
Honourable Donna Harpauer
Minister of Social Services
Room 303, Legislative Building
2405 Legislative Drive
Regina, SK S4S 0B3
Dear Minister Harpauer:
I am writing on behalf of DISC (Disability Income Support Coalition) to express our deep concern regarding changes that have been announced for some recipients of the SAID (Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability) Program. We have previously shared these concerns with Ministry officials.

 
First, we recognize that the Government of Saskatchewan is dealing with a challenging financial situation at this time. We also recognize that the SAID Program should be run as efficiently and effectively as possible. We recognize that perceived equity in the program is important. At the same time we feel it is important to reinforce the idea that treating all individuals with very complex needs and multiple barriers the same is, by definition, not treating persons fairly. While we understand the need for equity in the program we feel that the process that has been implemented is unacceptable.
SAID was clearly and unequivocally designed as a long-term, secure income replacement program as outlined in the Principles in Recommendation 1 of the Final Recommendations document (May 13, 2009). As such, removing any benefit from persons already in the program should be done only in the rarest of circumstances and subject to an individual assessment of the impact that reduction of benefits will have on each individual involved. With this in mind, the reduction in the housing subsidy in our opinion should only be reduced down to, but not below, the level of the actual rent of the individual involved. If this is not feasible, then a notice period of one year whether there is a lease signed or not, should be given to allow the individual involved time to adjust their life style and residence. This should be done if, and only if, a thorough assessment by the worker, client and an advocate if available, determines that the impact of the change will not be detrimental to the person involved.

We are particularly concerned that the current letters being sent out advise that the reduction in income will come into effect for October 1, 2016. This means that SAID beneficiaries will need to give notice on August 31st if they need to move out on September 30th because they can no longer afford their rent. This does not provide an adequate notice period. We are concerned that these changes might leave people who are already vulnerable without adequate housing as winter approaches. We are talking about individuals losing their homes.
We note that people are being encouraged to talk to their Assured Income Specialist (SAID worker). The logistics of 2,700 people being able to have a meaningful conversation with their worker before they would have to give notice will be challenging and, again, reinforces our concerns that the proposed notice period is too short.
In summary, DISC is asking that the Ministry slow down the process of implementing this change in order to allow time for a thorough assessment of the necessity for and the impact of any change on each individual situation. A slowdown of the process would also
allow individuals to truly understand and adjust to the implications of the changes to their personal situation. Furthermore, we are asking that if a reduction in any housing subsidy is needed that it be at most lowered to the level of the actual rent, but not below the actual rent.

 
It is critically important to the success of SAID that persons involved in the program have a sense of security and stability to allow the sense of citizenship the program was designed to encourage and support as outlined in both the Principles and Recommendation 3 of the Final Recommendations (May 13, 2009). We feel it is important that SAID truly be an assured source of income for those who rely on it for security in their lives.
In the final analysis, it is easy to provide support for a program such as SAID in good economic times. The real test of the program, and with respect to the government standing behind the program, is to provide that sense of support and care to thousands of persons with severe and enduring disabilities even when, as inevitably happens, times get rough economically for our province. Thank you for your attention to our concerns regarding this critically important matter.
Considering the imminent impact of the changes currently under way, DISC requests that our concerns be addressed no later than August 25th and that we receive a response by that date.
Sincerely,
Judy Hannah
Chair, DISC
cc. Premier Brad Wall
Greg Miller, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Social Services
Constance Hourie, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Social Services
Elissa Aitken, Executive Director, Ministry of Social Services

2016 table of organizations who will provide support to individuals applying for SAID or dealing with issues related to SAID

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

2016 table of organizations who will provide support to individuals applying for SAID or dealing with issues related to SAID

Can be found here, or text of this document can be found below.

Organizations that will provide support to individuals who are applying for SAID

People may need to leave their contact information with an organisation for call-backs.

601 Outreach Centre, Saskatoon 1-306-242-5005

CMHA Sask. Division Office Regina 1-306-525-5601
CMHA Battleford Branch 1-306-446-7177
CMHA Moose Jaw Branch 1-306-692-4240
CMHA Regina Branch 1-306-525-9543
CMHA Saskatoon Branch 1-306-384-9333
CMHA Swift Current Branch 1-306-778-2440
CMHA Weyburn Branch 1-306-842-7959
FASD Network of Saskatchewan Inc. 1-866-673-3276
Gary Tinker Federation (La Rongs) 1-306-425-4374
Neil Squire Society: Regina 1-306-781-6023
La Ronge 1-306-425-6612 (through Gary Tinker Federation)
Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry – Bonnie Morton and Peter Gilmer 1-306-352-6386
Saskatchewan Association for Community Living: 1-306-955-3344
Regina 1-306-790-5684
Prince Albert 1-306-763-5604
Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services 1-800-667-6575 Saskatoon 1-306-665-6575
Regina 1-306-352-3323
Saskatoon Housing Coalition Saskatoon 1-306-655-4979 Ext. 223
Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities Regina 1-306-569-3111
Other locations 1-877-569-3111
Saskatoon Equal Justice for All 1-306-653-6260 or 1-306-380-6261
Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan Inc.
Regina – 1-877-582-4483
Saskatoon – 1-888-282-0186

The Challenges of Living on SAID 2016 Video

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Watch our video “The Challenges of Living on SAID 2016″

The Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) is an income support program for people with significant and enduring disabilities. In the following video, you’ll meet a group of SAID recipients and learn how rising costs are creating challenges for daily living. Please visit it here: https://youtu.be/7lq3A4msAdk

Don’t have 6 minutes? Check out our 1 minute teaser video HERE

What the candidates “SAID”

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

WHAT THE CANDIDATES “SAID”
Want to get involved? DISC is hosting 2 all candidates forums in March, one in Saskatoon and one in Regina, please come out and support DISC!

Facebook event for Regina forum

Facebook event for Saskatoon forum 

Feel free to share the following poster with your networks:

Poster – All candidates forum

Media Release – Jan 19, 2016

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release                                                                                                            January 19, 2016

 Additional $250 a Month for Disability Funding Program an Election Priority for DISC

REGINA – In the upcoming provincial election, the Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) is asking all candidates, no matter their political affiliation, to advocate for an increase to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) funding program by $250 per month per person in order to reach a meaningful, socially acceptable level of income for people with disabilities.

“An extra $250 would mean all the difference to SAID recipients,” said DISC Chair Judy Hannah. “We are hoping this is an issue that all political candidates will take very seriously and adopt into their platforms leading up to and beyond election night.”

SAID is an income support program for people with significant and enduring disabilities. While previous increases to the SAID program have allowed recipients to enjoy a greater quality of life than in the past, the rapidly increasing cost of living in the province has affected SAID recipients in many ways.

Hannah noted that many of these people on the program have special dietary requirements and must eat a healthy diet, but purchasing the ingredients to make wholesome meals is often beyond their price range. SAID recipients are frequently forced to inconvenience their friends and family to get rides due to high transportation costs. Many recipients can’t even keep a roof over their heads due to the absence of housing that is both accessible and affordable. The struggle to afford even these necessities means SAID recipients are forced to live month to month and are unable to save any money, which can be devastating if an unexpected emergency arises.

“An extra $250 would allow SAID recipients to afford the basic necessities of life, save for a rainy day and be able to have the money to go out for coffee with friends, visit family or even buy a Christmas present – things we all take for granted, but are not available to many people on SAID,” said Hannah.

DISC has unveiled a new video that explores the lives of people with disabilities relying on SAID funding. To view the video, visit www.saskdisc.ca.

DISC will be hosting two all-candidate forums in March, in Regina and Saskatoon, where it invites the public, media and all parties running for office to attend for a meaningful discussion about providing an adequate level of funding for people with significant and enduring disabilities. The first forum is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. on March 3 at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon (715 Broadway Ave). This will be followed by the Regina forum on March 10 from 7-9 p.m. at the Glencairn Neighbourhood Recreation Centre (2626 Dewdney Ave E).

The Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition was formed by a large cross section of disability advocates, consumers and organizations across Saskatchewan that are committed to advocating for a respectful, dignified and adequate income support system.

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For further information, please contact Pat Rediger at (306) 522-9326 or [email protected].

SAID Program Handbook

Friday, November 13th, 2015

The Saskatchewan Assurance Income for Disability (SAID) Program Handbook is available for download by visiting the link below:

http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/details.cfm?p=75718

DISC – Letter to the Editor

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

(Please feel free to share this on your websites)

DISC
Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition

August 4, 2015

Dear Editor,

Subject: DISC requests government to renew commitment to assist people with disabilities

In 2011, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall stated it was the government’s “vision and goal to make our province the very best place in Canada to live for those with disabilities.” Since that time, the provincial government has increased funding to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program, which has made a significant difference in the lives of people throughout the province who have severe and long-term disabilities. The current level of funding per month for a person with a disability is approximately $1,300.

Unfortunately, the cost of living is continuing to escalate beyond the increases to SAID. That is why the Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) is asking the government to renew its commitment by increasing SAID funding by $250 per month per person. We already know that low oil prices are beginning to have an impact on the province’s economy and that impact is even more significant among Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable populations. Whether it means finding an accessible apartment, paying for a mobile device which provides security and connection to community, paying for paratransit, or covering the extra cost of medication and food not already covered under the program, it doesn’t take long for SAID funds to disappear.

By increasing SAID funding by $250, the government will be providing people with disabilities with the financial ability to cover the costs of the basic necessities to live. We realize the challenges the government faces in balancing the budget each year, but a commitment to increasing funding on an incremental basis will provide a source of hope for the thousands of people in this province who have a disability. A survey by one of our member organizations, the Canadian Mental Health Association, discovered that over 88 per cent of Saskatchewan residents believe people with disabilities should receive $1,600 or more per month. This indicates there is significant public support for this issue.

On behalf of DISC, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation for the support we have received from the provincial government in recent years. We look forward to continuing to work together to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada to live with a disability.

Yours sincerely,

Judy Hannah

DISC Chair
3031 Louise St
Saskatoon, SK S7J 3L1
Phone: (306) 955-3344
Fax: (306) 373-3070
[email protected]

DISC Seeking Additional $250 a Month for Disability Funding Program

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

DISC
Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release                                                                                                              June 23, 2015

DISC Seeking Additional $250 a Month for Disability Funding Program

REGINA – With the cost of living continuing to escalate in Saskatchewan, people with disabilities are having difficulties making ends meet. That is why the Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) is asking the provincial government to increase the funding to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program by $250 a month per person.

“In 2011, Premier Brad Wall stated it was the Saskatchewan Party government’s ‘vision and goal to make our province the very best place in Canada to live for those with disabilities.’ While major steps have been taken toward this goal, increasing SAID funding by $250 per month will help us reach the next level in quality of life,” said DISC Chair Judy Hannah.

DISC brings together 38 disability advocacy organizations and individuals to speak with one voice in support of a more respectful income program, with increased funding for people living with disabilities. DISC was part of the Government and Community Task Team that launched SAID in 2009.

Currently, a single person with a disability receives, on average, $1300 per month from social assistance. This leaves the single person with a disability on welfare supporting him or herself on roughly $43 a day. Whether it means finding a wheelchair accessible apartment, paying for paratransit, or spending extra money on medication or healthy food to adhere to a doctor-ordered diet, it does not take long for this money to disappear.

“We already know that low oil prices are beginning to have an impact on the province’s economy. That impact is even more significant among Saskatchewan’s must vulnerable populations,” Hannah said. “Increasing funding by $250 will provide disabled people with the financial ability to cover the costs of the basic necessities to live.”

A recent survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association indicated there is substantial public support for increased funding to people with severe and long-term disabilities. Approximately 39% of 2,237 people surveyed throughout the province indicated that $2,000 per month was a socially acceptable amount of funding for these individuals.

“The results of this survey indicate that more adequate funding is required for people with severe and long-term disabilities to have a life with dignity,” said Dave Nelson, CEO of the Saskatchewan Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

DISC was formed by a large cross section of disability advocates, consumers and organizations across Saskatchewan who are committed to advocating for a respectful, dignified and adequate income support system. DISC members have joined together to speak as one voice, working towards a distinct (or separate) income system for people with disabilities that will be built on our common vision and principles.

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For further information, please contact Pat Rediger at (306) 522-9326 or [email protected].

Impact of SAID Survey

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
The Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) is doing a study of people who are on Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID). Anyone who is on SAID is asked to participate in this voluntary and anonymous survey. No personal information is recorded. DISC will discuss the results of the study at an upcoming DISC meeting which you are welcome to attend. The study findings will be presented to the Ministry of Social Services. 

Please forward this message to individuals that you know who are on SAID and to organizations that work with people on SAID. Here is the web link to the survey. 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N7FWQ5T

People on SAID can complete the survey on-line anytime between April 2 and May 2, 2015. Anyone wishing to complete the survey on the telephone can call the researchers at either of the numbers below. As well, please do not hesitate to contact the researchers if you have any questions or comments about the survey.

Kathleen Thompson, PhD
Lead Researcher
[email protected]
Phone: 306-757-0669

or

Amber-Joy Boyd
Research Assistant
[email protected]
Phone/Text: 306-570-1442

Thank you for your consideration in recruiting participants for this important and timely survey of people on SAID.

Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability Rates (SAID) Card

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Click HERE to see the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability Rates (SAID) Card for 2013. This reflects the June 2013 increase.

SaskDISC.ca - Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition
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