Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible to receive AISH?
Your individual situation will be assessed to determine whether you are eligible for AISH. The following list is a general guideline of the AISH eligibility criteria:
- You must have a severe handicap that is permanent and substantially limits your ability to earn a living. Your disability must be the main factor, not your age, lack of education or available jobs. There must not be training, rehabilitation or medical treatment that would materially improve your condition.
- Your income and the income of your cohabiting partner must not exceed the limits allowed under the program.
- Your assets and the assets of your cohabiting partner must not exceed the limits allowed under the program.
- You must be 18 years old or older and not eligible to receive an Old Age Security pension.
- You must be a permanent resident of Alberta.
- You must not be residing in an institution (e.g. a correctional centre or a psychiatric hospital).
- You must apply for all other income benefits you are eligible for (e.g. Canada Pension Plan disability benefits).
For an information sheet on AISH eligibility, refer to the Eligibility Tip Sheet.
How can I apply?
To apply for AISH, complete and print BOTH the AISH Application and the Consent to Communicate/Disclose Information between AISH and Canada Pension Plan - Disability (CPP-D) and mail or drop off BOTH forms to your nearest AISH office.
If you require a printed application package, please contact the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in the Edmonton area or contact your nearest AISH office.
For an information sheet on the application process, refer to the Applying for AISH Tip Sheet.
When AISH receives your completed application package, a two-step review process begins:
- First, your income and asset information is reviewed to determine if you meet the financial requirements.
- Second, if you meet the financial eligibility requirements, your medical eligibility is reviewed. As part of this process, you will be asked to have a medical report completed.
The length of time it takes for AISH to make a decision about your eligibility depends on how quickly you can provide complete documents regarding your application. Inquiries regarding the status of your application should be made to your local AISH office.
What financial benefits are provided?
AISH provides a maximum monthly living allowance of $1,588. Normally, the living allowance is issued at the end of the month for the following month. The living allowance may be reduced if a client and their cohabiting partner receive non-exempt income, or if a client resides in an Alberta government group home. AISH clients on direct deposit receive payments on the dates below. Payments are mailed to AISH clients who receive cheques one day before these dates.
2014 Direct Deposit Schedule of Payments:
December 19 (early payment due to Statutory Holiday)
What health benefits are provided?
AISH provides the following health benefits:
- Prescription drugs
- Essential diabetic supplies
- Emergency ambulance services
- Exemption from the Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) co-pay fees
AISH provides health benefits to assist clients, their cohabiting partners and dependent children with expenses related to their medical needs.
All other available health benefit plans should be accessed first. When a health benefit from another program or source is not equal to a health benefit AISH provides, AISH may cover the difference. A cohabiting partner or dependent child who is living in an institution or does not meet certain citizenship criteria will not be eligible for a health benefit.
For an information sheet on AISH health benefits, refer to the Health Benefits Tip Sheet.
What are personal benefits?
Personal benefits assist clients with specific, one-time or ongoing expenses over and above the monthly living allowance or modified living allowance.
Personal benefits are available to AISH clients who:
- have non-exempt assets of $3,000 or less or who are in circumstances of financial hardship;
- have an identified need; and
- are not eligible to receive the benefit from any other program or source.
Clients must also meet eligibility requirements depending on the type of personal benefit requested.
For more information about AISH personal benefits, including a listing of available personal benefits, refer to the Personal Benefits Tip Sheet.
Can I work and receive AISH?
Yes, you can receive AISH and continue to work. The AISH program is committed to helping clients to be as independent as possible.
Your income and the income of your cohabiting partner are considered in determining eligibility and the level of benefits provided. Most Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allowable deductions and deductions that are a condition of employment are used to calculate net employment and self-employment income.
AISH provides an employment income exemption to allow you and your cohabiting partner to earn more employment income before it affects your AISH living allowance or modified living allowance. For more information about employment income exemptions, refer to the Employment Income Tip Sheet.
If you no longer qualify for AISH due to income from employment, self-employment, or a combination of these and other types of income that are not exempt, you may be eligible for the Alberta Adult Health Benefit (AAHB) program. Once on the AAHB, your eligibility for health benefits will be subject to the AAHB annual renewal process.
Clients who begin receiving the AAHB on or after May 1 will be provided with the benefits until June 30 of the next year, and then will be subject to the AAHB renewal process.
You may qualify for rapid re-instatement of AISH benefits if, for any reason, you should lose your employment or self-employment income. A medical may not be required if reapplication is made within two years and your medical condition has not changed.
If I am able to work, can AISH help me?
AISH staff can connect you to resources that will help you with your employment goals. This includes employment supports provided through AISH and other Alberta Human Services programs. You may also be eligible for AISH employment-related personal benefits to assist you with specific one-time or ongoing employment training expenses over and above the monthly living allowance.
You can contact your AISH worker for more information about employment assistance and supports. If you do not have an AISH worker, you can contact the AISH office nearest to you.
For more information about employment supports offered through AISH and Alberta Human Services, refer to the Employment Supports Tip Sheet.
Can I defer my Old Age Security (OAS) pension benefits and receive AISH benefits?
No, the AISH program requires applicants and clients who are eligible for OAS pension benefits to access these benefits as soon as they are eligible.
The AISH program is designed to provide financial and health benefits to working-age Albertans who have a disability that substantially limits their ability to earn a livelihood. These benefits are provided to help ensure AISH clients are able to cover the cost of their living needs until they transition onto benefits for seniors. OAS pension benefits, in combination with other federal and provincial government financial and health benefits, are designed to help ensure people turning 65 years of age are able to cover the cost of their living needs.
As OAS pension benefits serve the same purpose as AISH benefits, the AISH program requires applicants and clients who are eligible to receive OAS pension benefits to access these benefits as soon as they are eligible. AISH clients transitioning onto these benefits may also be eligible for a number of provincial programs for seniors, including the Alberta Seniors Benefit, Special Needs Assistance for Seniors, Dental and Optical Assistance for Seniors and Alberta Blue Cross Coverage for Seniors.
As the AISH program recognizes a mutual obligation of cohabiting partners to support one another and cohabiting partners income is considered when determining AISH financial eligibility, the AISH program also requires cohabiting partners to access OAS pension benefits as soon as they are eligible.
What do I have to report while receiving AISH?
If receiving AISH, you are required to advise your AISH worker of any changes to your financial, household or medical situation that may impact your eligibility or the amount of financial assistance you receive from AISH.
It is important to inform your AISH worker if your situation changes so that your AISH living allowance can be calculated correctly and your worker can assist you to best meet your changing needs. As an AISH client, you must report the following as soon as reasonably possible:
- any change in your medical condition;
- any change in your situation that permits you to begin work, training or rehabilitation;
- any change in your assets or your cohabiting partner's assets;
- any change in your marital status or change in a cohabiting partner relationship;
- any change in the number of your dependent children;
- any change in your address, phone number or other contact information;
- a move to or from an institution or other facility such as a hospital, including one involving a cohabiting partner or dependent child;
- a permanent move outside Alberta; and
- an extended stay outside Alberta.
For an information sheet about reporting changes to AISH, refer to the Reporting Changes Tip Sheet.
Can I live in a facility and receive AISH?
Yes, if you live in a facility, AISH will provide a monthly modified living allowance consisting of a maximum monthly personal allowance of $315, plus an accommodation rate. The types of accommodations considered a facility by AISH are:
- Nursing homes as defined in the Nursing Homes Act;
- Part of an approved hospital or auxiliary hospital as defined in the Hospitals Act in which a person receives similar care as received in a facility that is not designated as a facility under the Mental Health Regulation;
- A facility or part of a facility approved by AISH as a designated supportive living unit; and
- A residential facility or part of a residential facility approved by AISH in exceptional circumstances when an applicant or client has unique care needs.
AISH uses the rates outlined in the Nursing Homes Operation Regulation of the Nursing Homes Act to set the amounts that can be provided as an accommodation rate.
For more information about benefits provided to AISH clients who live in facilities, refer to the Living in a Facility Tip Sheet. The Alberta government legislation in this section can be accessed from the Queen's Printer.
Can I appeal decisions about AISH?
Yes, you can appeal most decisions about AISH.
AISH decisions can affect many different people including an applicant, a client, a financial administrator, a third party or a sponsor of a landed immigrant. Such a person is referred to as an affected party.
When a decision is made, the affected party is notified in writing of the decision and their right to appeal that decision. If the affected party wishes to appeal the decision, they must provide notice, in writing, outlining their disagreement with the decision and requesting that the matter be referred to the Appeal Panel.
For more information about appealing AISH decisions, including a listing of what can be appealed, refer to the Appealing a Decision Tip Sheet. To request an appeal of an AISH decision, fill out a Notice of Appeal.
For more information contact the Appeals Secretariat office at:
Outside Edmonton or Calgary: call 310-0000 toll free in Alberta and then dial 780-427-2709
What terms are commonly used by AISH?
An impairment of mental or physical functioning or both that, in a director's opinion after considering any relevant medical or psychological reports, causes substantial limitation in the person's ability to earn a livelihood and is likely to continue to affect that person permanently because no remedial therapy is available that would materially improve the person's ability to earn a livelihood.
This term is used to describe a variety of types of relationships. It includes:
- a spouse; or
- a person in a relationship of interdependence.
A relationship of interdependence is a relationship outside of marriage where two people reside together, share one another's lives, are emotionally committed to one another and function as an economic and domestic unit. This may include relationships where two people live together and are partner to an Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement or have a child or adopted child together. It also includes two people who have a relationship described above, are not living together and have a financial interdependency, other than for child support, spousal support or adult interdependent partner support.
An unmarried child or a child who is not in a cohabiting partner relationship, who is living with you, you financially support, and who is:
- under age 18, or
- under age 20 and attending high school.
An informal trustee appointed under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Act to administer a client's financial assistance.
For more information about terms used by AISH, refer to the definitions section in the AISH Online Policy Manual.
Where can I get more information?