The provincial government is making a significant policy change to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program.
As of Sept. 1, 2017, it will no longer be available when a person turns 65 and starts receiving Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. People who do not receive OAS benefits will still be eligible for SAID.
The change will not impact those already on the program and government claims the change will impact 10 people a year going forward.
Introduced in 2009, SAID offers assistance to people living with chronic, enduring disabilities from the age of 18 and up.
The change is being done for the long-term sustainability of SAID.
“Obviously on a go forward basis, we’re constantly reviewing all of our programs and services and will continue to do that,” Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. “When you turn 65 and you are eligible for an old age security (OAS) benefit there are a range of programs and services for seniors out there.”
Those programs include, federally, the OAS, guaranteed income supplement (GIS), the GIS top-up depending on the person’s income level. There is also the province’s seniors’ income plan.
Beaudry-Mellor added these programs more than offset the loss of SAID at 65.
The NDP maintains this is another cruel move from a government looking for money.
“Real people rely on this support and it’s real people who will suffer because of this Sask. Party cut,” interim NDP leader Nicole Sarauer said.