June 18, 2019

New Income Support Program Launched for People in Need in Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced details today of a new income support program that will help people receiving income assistance overcome challenges, earn more income, become more self-sufficient and start a career.

The new program, called Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS), will begin accepting applications from new clients on July 15, 2019.  The new program will be simpler, transparent, client-friendly and have new features that will help transition clients to greater independence and a better quality of life:

  • monthly earned income exemptions will allow clients to keep more of the money they make as they move into the workforce;
  • through Motivational Interviewing, staff will support clients to make positive decisions, manage their benefits/household expenses and reach their goals;
  • a new online application will allow clients to apply whenever they want and from wherever they want, saving both time and paperwork; and
  • a simpler benefit (shelter and basic needs with a few additional benefits for emergency health/safety needs or job-related expenses) will allow staff to spend more meaningful time with clients, helping them address their challenges instead of filling out paperwork.

“In this new program, our staff will work closely with clients to help them increase their independence and overcome employment barriers,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said.  “We want to provide individuals who are on social assistance with the supports they need, while ensuring our programs are easier to navigate and addressing the challenges they face.  Income assistance programs have not been updated in our province for more than 50 years and this new program will allow us to make changes in response to what we’ve been hearing our clients want – increased independence and more tailored guidance by our staff.”

Clients who are currently on the Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP) or Transitional Employment Allowance (TEA), will remain on those programs until they are wound down in the summer of 2021, or until clients voluntarily move to the new program or no longer require income support.

As of July 15, SAP and TEA will no longer accept new applications.  However, the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program will remain in place and continue to run alongside the new program.

“Ignite Adult Learning Corporation is excited to be working with Social Services to help young at-risk adults become independent and self-supporting,” Ignite Corporate Liaison Officer Terina Shaw said.  “We are pleased that they share our vision to grow and develop young, at-risk people right here in Saskatchewan.”

“Financial literacy skills equip vulnerable people to grow their confidence and make better decisions for themselves and their families,” READ Saskatoon Executive Director Sheryl Harrow-Yurach said.  “We are pleased to be working together serving the mandate of the Ministry of Social Services in supporting clients with information, tools and skills to help them manage their household budgets and make good financial decisions.”

Since 2007-08, government funding for income assistance programs has increased by $275 million, or 89 per cent.