DISC calls for broader support for people with disabilities – DISC Media Release

Media Release

For immediate Release
Aug. 3, 2011


DISC calls for broader support for people with disabilities

Could you manage on $26 a day? What kind of life would you live on less than $800 a month? If you had to make the choice between your rent, food and medication, which would you choose? Unfortunately, decisions like these are routine for many people with disabilities in Saskatchewan, who live in poverty. A disability of any kind can eliminate or reduce an individual’s capacity to work, and for this reason people with disabilities often require financial support from government. People with disabilities struggle with the barriers imposed by their disability every day, and poverty is an added obstacle they should not need to face.

The Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) Program was launched by the Government of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2009. At that time only a limited number of individuals with disabilities were enrolled on the program and there was no increase to the benefit rates for those individuals.  SAID operates independently from social assistance and is meant to be responsive to the unique needs of people with disabilities. With SAID, people with disabilities do not need to reconfirm their disability every year, and they are free from the stigma of receiving welfare. SAID shows promise as a program that will give people with disabilities more dignity. However, the program needs to be expanded to provide support for more people with disabilities. The government has projected an enrolment of 8,000 to 10,000 individuals on SAID, but present enrolment is under 3,000.

The Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) and its 38 member organizations are pleased with the long-term plans for the program, and the improvements that have been made since its inception. The Government of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Social Services have taken important and significant steps to improving living conditions in Saskatchewan for people with disabilities.

These improvements, however, have not dealt with the root of the problem for the people intended to be in the SAID program, i.e. increasing benefits to a meaningful and realistic level.

DISC representatives have been working with government in an effort to develop, expand and improve support for people with disabilities through the SAID program. DISC values its relationship with government, and anticipates a fruitful future relationship that will benefit people with disabilities in Saskatchewan. With this spirit of cooperation, DISC would like to encourage the provincial government to expand the reach of the SAID program by enrolling a greater number of recipients into the program, who are eligible for funding.

“We understand that these things take time to develop, and that the government must follow certain procedures to expand programs and allocate funds,” said Chair of DISC Judy Hannah. “However, each passing day is a period of struggle and deprivation for people with disabilities in Saskatchewan waiting to be enrolled in SAID.”

Saskatchewan has an election approaching on Nov. 7, 2011. DISC encourages all candidates for election to the legislative assembly, no matter their political affiliation, to put a priority on moving the SAID program forward and to provide a meaningful, socially acceptable level of support for those on the SAID program. Further to this, members of the public are encouraged to voice their support for the expansion of SAID. For more information, visit DISC on the web at www.saskdisc.ca, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saskdisc or on Twitter, @DISCsk.


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

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