Archive for the ‘Article of Interest’ Category

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
judy.hannah@sacl.org

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 prediger@benchmarkpr.ca.

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
Kathleen.Thompson@sasktel.net
Phone: 306-757-0669

or

Amber-Joy Boyd
Research Assistant
amberjoy.boyd@hotmail.com
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.

PROVINCE CELEBRATES AS SAID PROGRAM TURNS 10,000

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Government of Saskatchewan

PROVINCE CELEBRATES AS SAID PROGRAM TURNS 10,000

More than 10,000 Saskatchewan people with long-term and enduring disabilities now have a better quality of life thanks to enrollment in the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program (SAID).

“I am so pleased that we are helping improve the quality of life of these 10,000 Saskatchewan citizens,” Social Services Minister June Draude said.  “The SAID program supports our government’s goal to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada to live for people with disabilities, and we are deeply committed to supporting this important program for many years to come.”

“I want to thank the Government of Saskatchewan for helping us to help these 10,000 people realize the dignity and independence that they deserve,” Program Implementation Advisory Team (PIAT) Chair Merv Bender said.  “This is a wonderful achievement when you consider that there were only about 2,700 people enrolled in SAID when the program started back in 2009.”

In addition to expanding enrollment, there were also substantial increases to the benefits that SAID members receive.

On top of the $50 increase in January 2012, average benefits are being increased over four years by $100 per month for those living in residential care; $350 per month for those in independent living arrangements; and $400 per month for couples who are living independently.

The first stage of these increases was implemented last June with single individuals receiving an additional $200 per month, couples receiving an additional $230 per month and people in residential care receiving $40 more per month.  This summer, the second stage of SAID increases will be implemented across the province.

SAID features a new benefit structure that combines some allowances available under the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan (SAP) into a Living Income, further distinguishing SAID as a different program of income support than welfare.  This structure was recommended by the Task Team on Income Support for People with Disabilities.

The SAID program was introduced in October 2009 in collaboration with members of the disability community with the goal of providing a dignified income support program for persons with significant and enduring disabilities separate from SAP.  This collaboration will continue on the further development of SAID.

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For more information, contact:

Andrew Dinsmore
Social Services
Regina
Phone: 306-787-8689
Email: andrew.dinsmore@gov.sk.ca

Factsheet of 2013-2014 Provincial Budget pertaining to People with Disabilities

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

a Factsheet outlining the highlights from the 2013-2014 Provincial Budget and its impact on citizens with disabilities can be found HERE:

Text as follows:

2013 – 14 Budget Highlights
Impact on People with Disabilities

 

  • The 2013-14 Budget maintains and expands core services and supports for Saskatchewan citizens with disabilities.
  • The Budget includes more than $34 million in new or enhanced programming and increased funding for program utilization.
  • The Budget makes key investments in areas such as income support, transportation, housing and promoting recreation and sports to people with disabilities.
  • These investments demonstrate Government’s commitment to Saskatchewan’s vision of being the best place in Canada for people with disabilities to live.

Ministry of Social Services:

Income Support:

  • $3.015 million for enhancements to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) Program. Benefit enhancements (starting in 2012-13) include:

–       Couples:  Benefits will increase by an additional $400/month over four years.  Cumulative monthly increase by year: $230 / $290 / $345 / $400.

–       Single Individuals:  Benefits will increase by an additional $350/month over four years.  Cumulative monthly increase by year: $200 / $250 / $300 / $350.

–       Persons in Residential Care:  Benefits will increase by an additional $100/month over four years. Cumulative monthly increase by year: $40 / $60 / $80 / $100.

  • $418,000 is being committed for the indexation of the SAID living income benefit that pertains to shelter allowances.

Housing:

  • $1.19 million increase for the Saskatchewan Disability Rental Housing Supplement as more households access the program and to keep pace with increases in the rental market.

Specialized Programs / Other Initiatives:

  • $8.94 million for recruitment and retention salary increases for Community Based Organizations providing supports for people with disabilities within the Community Living Service Delivery sector;
  • $3.33 million for a general Level of Care (LOC) increase for CBOs providing services to people with disabilities within the Approved Private Service Home Sector;
  • $5.20 million to annualize the final commitments made in 2013-14 to complete the multi-year initiative to provide services to the 440 people with intellectual disabilities who were on a waiting list for specialized residential and/or day programs;
  • $1.20 million for operational funding to serve an additional 20 individuals with disabilities who have emerging needs;
  • $2.70 million in increased funding to assist those with disabilities transitioning from the Child and Family Services system;
  • $600,000 to provide intensive Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) prevention programming to pregnant women at high-risk of have a child with FASD;
  • $105,000 to the Cognitive Disability Strategy (CDS);  and,
  • $100,000 to the Canadian Paraplegic Association as part of the Rick Hansen Foundation Initiative for peer support, rehabilitation counselling and outreach services to engage Aboriginal people with disabilities who have sustained a spinal cord injury.

Ministry of Health:

  • $2.50 million increase to the Saskatchewan Aids to Independent Living (SAIL) program to maintain benefits for people with long-term disabilities (orthotics, prosthetics, rehabilitation/mobility equipment, oxygen, and insulin pumps for children); and,
  • $200,000 for Spinal Cord Research as part of the Rick Hansen Foundation Initiative.

Ministry of Government Relations:

  • $325,000 increase in funding for the Transit Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (TAPD) program, which will accelerate the renewal of the ParaTransit fleet and allow for the expansion to additional eligible municipalities.

Ministry of Government Services:

  • $700,000 will be allocated to improve the physical accessibility of government buildings for people with disabilities.

Other Initiatives:

  • $791,000 to the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport in partnership with Sask Sport Inc. for funding to high-performance athletes with disabilities ($47,000) a sport participation program for people with disabilities ($232,000) as part of the Rick Hansen Foundation Initiative and core funding ($512,000) to disability sport organizations;
  • The 2013-14 Budget also includes disability related tax credits. The Disability Tax Credit, Disability Supplement, Caregiver Tax Credit and Infirm Dependent Tax Credit have all been increased from $8,803 in 2012 to $8,979 in 2013; and,
  • $100,000 from the Office of the Provincial Secretary to fund the Clayton Gerein Legacy Fund, also part of the Rick Hansen Foundation Initiative.
MINISTRY INITIATIVE   FUNDING
Social Services SAID Living Income Enhancements

Indexation of SAID Benefit (Shelter)

Community Living Waitlist Initiative and Emerging Needs

Recruitment & Retention increase to CBO’s

Level of Care increases to CBO’s in the Approved
Private Service Home sector

Disability Rental Housing Supplement

Children transitioning from CFS to CLSD

FASD Prevention

Canadian Paraplegic Association outreach funding
(Rick Hansen Foundation Initiative)

Increase to Cognitive Disability Strategy

Total Social Services

$
$
$
$

$
$
$
$

$
$
$

 3.02 M
0.42 M
6.40 M
8.94 M

3.33 M
1.19 M
2.70 M
0.60 M

0.10 M
0.11 M
26.80 M

Health Saskatchewan Aids to Independent Living

Spinal Cord Injury Research

Total Health

$
$
$

 2.50 M

 0.20 M

  2.70 M

Government Relations Transit Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (TAPD) Program

$

  0.325 M

Government Services Improve accessibility to Government buildings for people with disabilities

$

0.700 M

Parks, Culture and Sport High Performance Athlete Assistance and increased
recreation opportunities for People with Disabilities

$

0.791 M

Office of the Provincial
Secretary
Clayton Gerein Legacy Fund (Rick Hansen
Foundation Initiative)

$

0.100 M

  2013-2014 Provincial Budget Total

for Disability Services and Supports

$

34.11 M

 

PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Government of Saskatchewan
News Release May 30, 2012

PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program is expanding enrolment and increasing benefits for program participants as it moves away from a welfare model toward a Living Income structure that offers more financial independence.

“The SAID program supports our government’s goal to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada to live for people with disabilities,” Premier Brad Wall said. “To support this objective, we are making substantial investments to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through better benefits, increased enrollment and more independence. This was the biggest financial commitment we made during the election, and we are proud to fulfill that promise today.”

“These enhancements to SAID will make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities in our province,” Program Implementation Advisory Team (PIAT) Chair Merv Bender said. “We are proud to collaborate with the Government of Saskatchewan to help people with disabilities realize the dignity and independence that they deserve.”

In addition to the $50 benefit increase SAID beneficiaries received in January 2012, the government committed to significant benefit increases to SAID over the next four years. Minimum increases beginning in June 2012 are as follows:

  • $40 per month will be provided to those living in residential care settings;
  • $200 per month will be provided to single individuals who live in independent arrangements; and
  • $230 per month will be provided to couples who live in independent arrangements.

This year, clients in independent living arrangements will receive, on average, an increase of $270 per month.

Another important change to SAID is a new benefit structure that combines several allowances available under the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan (SAP) for food, shelter, household items, travel and other person needs into a single Living Income. This change further distinguishes SAID as a non-welfare support. Through its simplified benefit structure and reduced reporting requirements, the Living Income benefit will provide beneficiaries with more choice in their decisions and control over how to spend their money. It will also ensure that people with similar needs are treated more equitably.

The expansion of SAID enrolment is underway with disability impact assessments being conducted by a third-party, the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. Currently, SAP recipients who have a disability and who are living independently are being assessed for eligibility for SAID. These assessments began in January 2012 and are still taking place across the province.

The SAID program was introduced in October 2009 in collaboration with members of the disability community with the goal of providing a dignified income support program for persons with significant and enduring disabilities separate from SAP. This collaboration will continue on the further development of SAID.

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For more information, contact:

Andrew Dinsmore
Social Services
Regina
Phone: 306-787-8689
Email: andrew.dinsmore@gov.sk.ca

http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=4e5e75c3-fc94-4ee4-8cf6-d1f5a333e131

 

THRONE SPEECH – Government of Saskatchewan

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Government of Saskatchewan News Release – December 5, 2011

THRONE SPEECH KEEPS ELECTION COMMITMENTS AND KEEPS SASKATCHEWAN MOVING FORWARD

Fulfilling its election commitments, living within its means and keeping the province moving forward – those are the principles outlined today by the Saskatchewan government in the first Throne Speech of its second term of office.

Premier Brad Wall said the Throne Speech outlines the government’s plan to keep the commitments it made in the recent provincial election campaign. These include:

  • continued economic and population growth;
  • further improvements to Saskatchewan’s highways;
  • improving the availability and affordability of housing;
  • introducing a new Saskatchewan First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit;
  • extending the Active Families Benefit to all children under 18;
  • introducing a new Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship available to all new high school graduates starting in 2012;
  • introducing a new Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings to help parents save for their children’s education;
  • increasing support for low-income seniors through the Seniors Income Plan;
  • introducing a new Seniors Personal Care Home Benefit to assist low-income seniors with the cost of residing in a personal care home;
  • adding 2,000 new childcare spaces;
  • improving support for persons with disabilities by increasing both support levels and access to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program;
  • increasing support for autism;
  • continuing to reduce surgical wait times;
  • improving access to health care services in rural communities;
  • improving services for persons with diabetes;
  • making communities safer by hiring new police officers to closely monitor repeat offenders;
  • continuing to improve Saskatchewan’s provincial parks; and
  • introducing a new $2,500 per year Community Rinks Affordability Grant.

“These measures will keep our province moving forward and will make life more affordable for Saskatchewan people,” Wall said. “Most importantly, they are sustainable and will be achieved within a balanced budget.”

The Throne Speech also outlined the government’s legislative priorities, which includes legislation to:

  • extend notice periods for rent increases from one month to a year for rental property owners who chose not to participate in the tenant assistance initiative established by the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association;
  • strengthen the enforcement of maintenance orders;
  • increase penalties for those who fail to pay fines;
  • strengthen the ability of corrections officers to crack down on drug-related, gang-related and other illegal activity within our correctional institutions;
  • more clearly define the powers and responsibilities of the Children’s Advocate;
  • introduce degree granting legislation providing more opportunities for our students while protecting the tradition of excellence associated with Saskatchewan degrees;
  • streamline the business registration process across the three western provinces under the New West Partnership Trade Agreement; and
  • ensure that any future provincial election campaigns do not overlap with a federal election campaign.

The fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly is expected to last two weeks – enough time to debate and pass the Throne Speech and introduce several pieces of legislation that will be passed during the spring sitting.

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For more information, contact:

Kathy Young
Executive Council
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0425
Email: kathy.young@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-526-8927
http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=b9c248ec-b7b2-49a6-9b5f-bde182bb0175

 

Full Throne Speech can be found here:

http://www.gov.sk.ca/adx/aspx/adxGetMedia.aspx?mediaId=1593&PN=Shared

Quotes of note are as follows:

“An important part of my government’s vision is that if one has a disability, Saskatchewan should still be the best place to live.

It should be a place where one can find the best services, the best supports, the most dignity and the most opportunities.

Work toward this goal began in 2009, with the establishment of the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program.

Today, this program helps about 3,000 Saskatchewan people living in residential care.

During this session, my government will introduce significant expansions to this program.

Direct benefits will be provided to up to 7,000 additional individuals living outside of the residential care system.

Further, benefits will increase over the next four years by $100 per month for those in residential care, $350 per month for a single person living outside of residential care and $400 per month for a couple.”

SAID expansion offers hope – An Article of Interest

Monday, October 31st, 2011

SAID expansion offers hope

Published on Oct 31, 2011 in the StarPhoenix
By Jordon Cooper Jordon@jordoncooper.com

The vast majority of the men who I see at the shelter where I work come and go as their situation in life changes.

Some decide that it will be their home, and become like family. The shelter is not an assisted living facility, but we do have longerterm rooms and provide a level of care that matches what these men need.

A combination of aging and deteriorating health means that eventually some have to move from our facility into a care home. It’s a hard day for both them and the staff. Losing one’s independence is a traumatic thing to deal with, no matter where you are at in life.

The Saskatchewan government announced back in 2009 a program called the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability. The SAID program did three things: It moved people from the Saskatchewan Assistance Program, it streamlined the process of getting disability benefits and it paid out benefits on a green cheque.

A new cheque, but no new money. It didn’t feel like much progress was made. When it was first announced, I thought it was more about manipulating Social Services statistics than anything else.

When Premier Brad Wall on Oct. 17 made the SAID program the Saskatchewan Party’s largest election promise, I was surprised. He expanded the program to include the estimated 7,000 persons with significant and ongoing disabilities who are living independently, from the current 3,000 people who are assessed as needing Level 2 care and living in residential care homes.

There is new money for both groups. For those who live in a care facility and have their needs met by the facility, there will be more money for personal needs. For those who live independently, funding will eventually increase to a maximum of $350 a month if you are single, and $400 for couples.

The money does two things. For those living independently, it allows them to maintain their freedom and frees up beds and resources for those who need the help. It also gives them a measure of freedom and dignity that is hard to achieve at current Social Services rates.

But the program isn’t perfect. While there is $4 million for autism, even Wall admits there is more work to be done to realize his goal of making Saskatchewan the best place to live in Canada for people with disabilities. The funding is a good start, but the list of what needs to be done is long.

There are too few mental health group homes, it can be difficult to access services needed by those living independently, and there is the issue of concurrent disorders. To address them all will take time.

The process to create SAID started in 2006, and it’s been five years to the announcement date. While the timeline can be discouraging, the emergence of a strategy to tackle complex social issues is encouraging.

While expanding SAID is a good policy, it was a yawner as a campaign promise. As of Wednesday, a Youtube video of the announcement had a total of eight views. Even the NDP liked the announcement.

Dwain Lingenfelter told the Regina Leader-post: “I think anything we can do to help families who have a member with disabilities is a good thing. We’ll want to look at it and compare the system we have in place to what has been announced and what we’re proposing.”

Beyond an awkward reference to it by Wall during the leaders’ debate, the promise has been barely been mentioned since the announcement.

While the announcement may have been boring politics, Wall’s statement that he wants Saskatchewan to be the best place for people with disabilities gives some hope that his government is ready to tackle some of the social issues we face as a province head on, rather than just manage them. The promised $33.3 million in the fourth year of the program isn’t a lot of money, but it provides a significant upgrade in quality of life for more than 10,000 Saskatchewan residents with disabilities.

The policy will also provide a framework for the Wall government to deal with other social ills, whose symptoms are expressed in such things as higher food bank usage and an increasing number of homeless in our cities.

As SAID has shown, targeting spending at a defined problem can make a big difference in people’s lives without having to spend a lot of money. Let’s hope the government uses the same approach in tackling other social issues.

The list is long, but it looks like Wall will have another four years to work on it.

http://www.leaderpost.com/news/provincial-election/COOPER+SAID+expansion+offers+hope/5631613/story.html

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