AISH and EI request during COVID-19
The following is a letter we have written to Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney, on Thursday March 19, 2020. It is also available in a PDF.
Re: AISH and EI (Employment Insurance)
As our provincial government and the Federal government act to protect workers by either easing access to EI and/or implementing other financial measures when employment is lost or at risk, we are asking you to consider doing the same for individuals on AISH who are working and eligible for EI. In addition, to ensure rapid AISH reinstatement is in place, for any eligible individual who loses their employment.
Alberta has an excellent incentive approach within AISH to encourage individuals to work and earn additional income over and above their AISH benefit. However, this is less the case with respect to EI.
Currently, if an individual on AISH loses their job, they are required to apply for EI. However, if they are deemed eligible and receive EI benefits, these benefits are deducted dollar for dollar from their AISH income. Although the essential purpose of EI is to replace, to some degree, lost income, individuals on AISH do not have this essential benefit. Whatever income was lost upon their cessation of employment remains lost. This is very challenging for individuals with developmental disabilities living on a very limited income and trying to maintain shelter and food security.
We are asking the government to take into account individuals on AISH who have been working and whose employment may be in jeopardy and extend comparable protections and supports to them as is being done or contemplated for other working Albertans.
We look forward to your response and hope the government might be open to considering this action.
Trish Bowman, Chief Executive Officer
Barb MacIntyre, President