Electronic income

Government announces rollout of online applications for Alberta Income Support

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A new portal designed to make it easier for Albertans to access income support is now online.

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Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan announced on Wednesday that the website can now accept online applications for the ministry’s support programs after piloting the process in a “soft launch” in the spring.

The province rolled out a similar online process for the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program in May.

“The new system allows applicants to quickly determine if you meet basic eligibility criteria, reducing hassle and eliminating the hassle they need to find multiple documents everywhere and wait a long time before making a decision,” Luan said. .

Luan said applicants can avoid the hassle of trying to find a government office, a fax machine or submitting documents at a post office.

“All vulnerable Albertans deserve easy access to the supports they need,” he said.

The website, at apply incomesupport.alberta.ca, screens applicants for eligibility and ensures they have all the documents they need to be approved for supports to pay for expenses like food, clothing and housing.

Luan said it will also free up time and reduce the administrative burden for government employees, but in-person support will still be available at local Alberta Supports offices.

Oxford House Foundation of Canada, CUPS Calgary, Alex Community Health Centre, Bissell Center and Boyle McCauley Center participated in the pilot program ahead of Wednesday’s launch.

Earl Thiessen, executive director of the Oxford House Foundation, which runs recovery accommodation, said his support workers found using the portal much faster and easier to navigate than the paper-based process, which often involved visits in many different offices.

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“One of the most important factors when someone is restarting or beginning their journey or starting their financial stabilization process is ease of access,” he said.

Carlene Donnelly, executive director of CUPS Calgary, said with more than 100 people walking through their doors each week, the online process has helped staff help customers navigate the process and get faster turnaround times. fast.

“The difference that makes the difference is that it reduces the risk of homelessness and addiction,” she said.

The government said in a press release that around 12,000 applications are submitted to the AISH scheme each year, while around 8,900 applications for income support were submitted each month in 2021.

Luan’s press secretary, Justin Marshall, when asked if the department expected an increase in applications and approvals, said in an email that the eligibility criteria and assessment will not weren’t changing.

“However, with more job opportunities, increased resources to help people get back to work and a stronger economy, we expect fewer Albertans to access income support,” he said.

NDP opposition spokeswoman Marie Renaud, in a statement on Wednesday, welcomed the decision to make it easier for Albertans to apply, but noted that AISH’s supports were reduced when they were disassociated from inflation in 2019.

“Food insecurity, increased risk of homelessness and substandard housing are the result of the growing poverty that UCP cuts and destructive policy changes have created,” Renaud said.

Despite balancing the budget in February, the UCP government has not reversed its decision to de-index AISH payments to inflation.

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