Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says the affordability crisis has made life more difficult for seniors, families with children and Alberta’s most vulnerable citizens. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says the affordability crisis has made life more difficult for seniors, families with children and Alberta’s most vulnerable citizens. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Alberta increasing benefits to support ‘most vulnerable’ citizens, says premier

The Government of Alberta has announced it will adjust AISH, Income Support, Alberta Seniors Benefit, and Alberta Child and Family Benefit rates by six per cent to match the rate of inflation.

“The affordability crisis has made life more difficult for seniors, families with children and Alberta’s most vulnerable citizens,” Premier Danielle Smith said in a statement Monday.

“Everyone struggling needs to know that they are not alone. Our government is increasing benefits to help make life more affordable and ensure all Albertans can afford the rising costs of life’s necessities.”

Social benefit programs will be indexed effective Jan. 1, 2023. Albertans receiving AISH and Income Support benefits will see this increase on their January payments, which will be distributed on Dec. 22. Recipients of the Alberta Seniors Benefit will see this increase on their January cheques and recipients of the Alberta Child and Family Benefit will see the increase in their first quarterly payment in February 2023.

Jeremy Nixon, minister of seniors, community and social services, said he’s proud to see the provincial government “taking steps to support seniors and vulnerable Albertans by increasing social benefit payments.”

“These programs are vital to supporting thousands of individuals and families, which is why it is so important to ensure they are kept in line with increasing costs of food, utilities and other essential goods and services,” said Nixon.

Alberta’s government will invest about $45 million in 2022-23 and $173 million in 2023-24 to support indexation of the AISH, Income Support and Alberta Seniors benefit programs, and about $7 million in 2022-2023 and $35 million in 2023-2024 to support the indexation of the Alberta Child and Family Benefit.

Marie Renaud, NDP critic for community and social services, said that in 2018, the Alberta NDP government tied the value of those benefits to the cost of living in the province.

“Re-indexing supports, on a go-forward basis, is the very least this government can do,” said Renaud.

“This move, which only comes six-months before an election, clearly shows this government’s motivation and lack of compassion and understanding of what people have gone through for three devastating years.

“They cannot ignore the fact that people suffered for years during a pandemic and record-high inflation, and must make these adjustments retroactive.”



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