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Sask. disability benefits could soon increase, government hints

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People receiving Saskatchewan disability benefits could soon receive an increase.

Several recipients of the Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability (SAID) benefits were at the legislative building on Monday, saying they can’t make ends meet anymore.

Sydney Chadwick is trying to get by on $1,000 a month.

“They just see us as numbers on a page. They don’t see us as human beings and they don’t understand what it’s like to live with a lifelong disability that’s not going away. This is like our lot for life, right and this is what we have to live on,” she said.

Darren Wall said it’s a combination of benefits not keeping pace with the rising cost of living.

“It’s a combination of both,” he said.

SAID, an income support program for people with disabilities, has not gotten an increase in seven years, according to NDP MLA Meara Conway.

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However, the government hinted that more money could be announced in this week’s provincial budget.

“We’ll wait for Wednesday for that but understand where folks are coming from,” said Gene Makowsky, minister of social services.

Conway said the NDP would be watching the government closely when the budget is released to make sure it’s an increase that reflects reality.

“What I hope we don’t see with this SAID increase is something like we saw with the SIS, where they gave a buck a day and that didn’t even make up for the cuts that were represented across the board under the program,” she said.

Jamie Ellis, co-founder of Voice of People with Disabilities, said it is time there was an increase in this but brought up another concern.

“I don’t think at all that there should’ve been an age cut-off,” he said. “When I was 65, I was cut off it and I don’t that’s at all fair because there was an awful lot more expenses that they were helping me out with. It makes it really difficult, I really think it should be an ongoing thing, regardless of age.”

The government has been reviewing benefits paid under its social assistance programs and is suggesting that there could be increases coming across the board.

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