Supporting Lower-Income Seniors
June 27, 2012
The Government of Saskatchewan has unveiled the new Personal Care Home Benefit (PCHB), and announced increases to the Seniors Income Plan (SIP). The moves are part of the government's Seniors Affordability Plan and come into effect July 1, 2012.
"These programs will help seniors with low income with their costs of living," Social Services Minister June Draude said. "We know some seniors are having difficulty making ends meet, and that's why we made the Seniors Affordability Plan an important part of our election platform last November. I am very pleased to be able to follow through on that commitment."
The PCHB will provide seniors with monthly financial assistance to help them with the cost of living in a licensed personal care home. Those eligible for the program will receive a monthly supplement, amounting to the difference between their monthly income and the threshold of $1,800.
To be eligible for the PCHB, an applicant must be 65 years of age or older; have a monthly income below $1,800; live in a licensed personal care home in Saskatchewan and be receiving the Old Age Security pension. The government has committed $3.5 million this year to the PCHB, which will benefit about 1,500 seniors.
In addition, seniors receiving benefits under SIP will receive up to $50 more each month, which will automatically be added to their payment in July, 2012. SIP benefits were last increased in 2009, when the maximum rates rose to $190 per month and new eligibility criteria expanded the program to approximately 8,000 additional low-income seniors. The new monthly maximum will be $240, and further increases of $10 per year are planned for the next three years. As of a result of these enhancements, by 2015, SIP benefits will have tripled since 2009.
"Our government is committed to making life better for Saskatchewan seniors," Draude said. "These enhancements will make a definite difference in the quality of life for seniors with low income in our province."
Applications and further information about the Personal Care Home Benefit are available on the Ministry of Social Services website at www.socialservices.gov.sk.ca/pchb. An inquiry line has been set up at 306-798-7242 (PCHB) in Regina, or toll-free at 1-855-544-7242 (PCHB).
The inquiry line for the Seniors Income Plan is 306-787-2681 in Regina, or toll-free at 1-800-667-7161. Information is also available online at www.socialservices.gov.sk.ca/sip.