Saskatchewan people with low incomes are beginning to receive higher monthly benefits this month, as a result of the $26.6 million increase to income assistance benefits announced in the 2023-24 Provincial Budget.
"This year's Social Services budget includes significant investments in income assistance programs to help people, families and seniors meet their basic needs," Social Services Minister Gene Makowsky said. "These benefit increases will help clients live with more financial security and support them to participate in and contribute to their communities to the best of their abilities."
People with low incomes, families and seniors will receive the following increases to their benefits in the coming days, including:
For the second year in a row, Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) clients will see an increase in their monthly benefits. Effective May 1st, 2023, The Adult Basic Benefit, Shelter Benefit, and Alternate Heating Benefit available through SIS will each increase by $30 per month. This amounts to an additional $14.3 million in benefit payments to SIS clients.
Also effective May 1st, 2023, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) clients will receive $30 more in living income benefits each month, increasing benefit payments by $6.4 million overall. This is in addition to continuing to provide benefits to cover clients' actual monthly utility costs, which is an average increase of $40 per month to clients who pay water, energy and power.
A $2.9 million investment will help make the cost of living in a personal care home more affordable. Retroactive to April, the Personal Care Home Benefit (PCHB) will increase by up to $400 per month, and SAID clients who live in personal care homes will receive up to $684 more per month.
Along with the increases to monthly benefits, clients of the SIS, SAID or Saskatchewan Employment Supplement (SES) programs will continue to benefit from discount bus passes. By having access to quality public transportation, people who receive income assistance can more easily take part in workforce and community activities. The cost of a discount bus pass is shared by the Ministry of Social Services, the municipality and the individual.
To purchase a discount bus pass, clients can visit their local public transit office in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Swift Current or Yorkton.
Since 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan has increased its investment in income assistance programs by more than $312.8 million, or 101.6 per cent.