The Offical Opposition is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan to end the “discriminatory clawback of pensions” and immediately raise Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability (SAID) rates to keep in step with the cost of living.
Social Services Critic Meara Conway said that the Government should be working to improve the quality of life for people.
“Instead, they cut the rental housing supplement, the special diet allowance and a transportation allowance. SAID rates have not increased for seven years, which amounts to a twenty percent reduction to benefits,” she said. “Under this Government, individuals with a significant and enduring disability that interferes with their ability to work are forced to live in deep poverty. This is absolutely appalling and deeply hurts those who most need and deserve our support.”
The Sask. NDP made the call to action after they were joined by James MacLachlan, who lives with myotonic dystrophy and requires the help of a wheelchair and resides in a care facility.
Earlier this year, in March, he successfully appealed the Ministry of Social Services’ decision to claw back his total CPP Disability and Long Term Disability Insurance from his time at SARCAN. Despite this ruling in his favour, the Ministry’s Social Services Appeal Board overturned the decision as they found that the practice was consistent with SAID policies and that only the Minister could exempt the income.
The Ministry’s decision puts MacLachlan in a precarious situation as he has exhausted his life savings and does not have enough to pay rent.
“James is struggling to afford the basic care he so desperately needs, and the Minister has full discretion to fix the situation and return James’ hard-earned SARCAN pension today,” said Conway. “James is just one of many who are being denied a life of basic dignity by the Sask. Party government.”