A group of disability advocates is asking the Government of Saskatchewan to not go ahead with the planned changes to the Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability (SAID) program.
In the budget, the government announced it would be making changes to several programs and the biggest change was to the SAID program.
Cuts to people’s benefits were originally set to take place this fall, but the government has decided to put the cuts on hold.
The Saskatchewan Disability Support Coalition (DISC) wants the government to scrap the cuts completely
DISC Chair Judy Hannah said the hold is creating stress and anxiety for people who are unsure when, or if, their benefits will be cut.
“They get up every day ‘Will I get another letter? Is this the day I get a call from my worker to talk about this? When is this going to happen?’ There is just so much uncertainty in losing possibly up to $150 a month when all you live on is, maybe on average, $1,300 a month,” Hannah said.
“The uncertainty is just really hurting people, hurting their health, hurting their well-being.”
Ian Morrison was one of the people who received a letter saying his benefits were going to be changed.
“It was like what am I going to do, I barely scrape by on what I got now and now they want to take even more and I just had an intense feeling of fear in my gut,” Morrison said.
Tiffany Friesen has been in the SAID program for about 4 years and she received her letter as well. She has already moved to a place with lower rent within three weeks of getting her letter. She was unaware the government decided to put a hold on the changes.
“I was shocked to hear it. I was very shocked to hear it and had I heard it, I would have never moved. I never would have moved and I would still be staying in my safe place, my safe haven but I’m not,” Friesen said.
Friesen also said it’s unfair to keep people waiting to see if they will have to change their lifestyles as well.
An estimated 2,700 people would be affected by the changes once it takes effect.