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The Alberta Government introduces a new Act to help people with disabilities

A new Act gives Alberta families the ability to set up trust funds for their children with disabilities in order to provide financial support.

The Act to Strengthen Financial Security for Persons with Disabilities will allow parents or guardians to set up discretionary trusts, while not ruining a persons eligibility to receive benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program (AISH).

President of Inclusion Lloydminster Robin Acton says that Alberta has joined the rest of the country as the last province to allow these discretionary trusts.

“So families can now save, put money away in trusts for their sons and daughters with developmental disabilities, knowing that that money will be there to support them when they’re gone.”

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Currently, the asset rules on trusts consider discretionary trusts as income and therefore people with them are ineligible for the AISH program. This new policy change will allow an exemption on discretionary trusts, as well as non-discretionary trusts.

The AISH program offers a living allowance, health benefits and personal benefits to adults in Alberta with a permanent disability. Acton says there is an approximate 80 per cent unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities.

“Right off the get go, we’re talking about a group of people in our society who have less earning power, therefore less wealth and are more often to live in poverty.”

Under the proposed legislation, there will be a one-year grace period to allow people to move an inheritance or large payment into a trust.

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