Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)

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Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped is a provincial financial assistance program for those Albertans living with a severe mental and physical disability that significantly thwarts their ability to make a likelihood. The monetary benefits are available to cover expenses related to personal needs, health, lodging, and even child care.

This article covers everything about the AISH benefit programs so interested applicants can learn how to qualify for the program, the entire application process, and what benefits they can receive.

AISH Payment Calendar, 2022

Month of Assistance AISH Payment Date
January December 22, 2021
February February 1, 2022
March March 1, 2022
April April 1, 2022
May April 29, 2022
June June 1, 2022
July June 30, 2022
August July 29, 2022
September September 1, 2022
October October 1, 2022
November November 1, 2022
December December 1, 2022

What is Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)?

Many physical and mental disabilities limit skills and make it extremely challenging to meet the demands of most jobs. As a result, the person cannot obtain enough income to cover their daily living expenses and bills.

AISH was established in 1979 in Alberta, Canada, as an effort to lift the financial burden off of Albertans between ages 18 to 65 who have been legally diagnosed with a debilitating mental and/or physical impairment. The total AISH caseload for December 2021 was 70,186.

When qualifying an individual for the benefits, the applicant and their spouse or partners' income and assets are considered, along with the type of impairment the applicant has. The benefits arrive on a regular schedule, so they qualify as income for getting a loan in Alberta.

AISH Eligibility

Applicants have to meet certain age, residency, medical and financial requirements to qualify for AISH benefits. We will explore each AISH eligibility category below:

Age and residency criteria

  • You are at least 18 years old and not qualified to receive an Old Age Security Pension.
  • You are a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.
  • You are ordinarily resident in Alberta.
  • You do not live in a correctional facility or an institution. That said, current AISH recipients who are temporarily admitted to a mental health institution may be able to continue receiving their payments.

Medical criteria

  • You have a “severe handicap” that fits under AISH guidelines:
  • It must be an impairment of mental, cognitive, and/or physical functioning
  • It must significantly diminish your ability to earn a living
  • It must be likely to continue indefinitely since no effective treatment exists that could improve your ability to earn a living
  • You must look for, accept and maintain suitable employment
  • You must make use of relevant training or rehab opportunities

Financial criteria

  • The AISH program examines your and your spouse/common-law partner’s income and assets. It must not be higher than what’s permitted under the program.
  • You and your partner must apply for other benefits programs they may be eligible for, such as disability, CPP, CPP-D, EI, or WCB.
  • You can work while receiving AISH benefits. In fact, you’re encouraged to work to the extent your situation allows you to.


AISH Application Process

The AISH Application form can be found here. You can fill this out by hand or on your computer before printing it out.

The application contains two parts:

  • Part A will be completed by you.
  • Your doctor will complete part B (they may charge you a fee for filling out the form).

Part A Application Information

  • There will be a ‘Your Situation’ checklist that will give you different options about impairment situations. Choose the one that aligns with you and follow the steps indicated above your selected choice.

The rest of your application Part A is divided into 11 sections. Here’s a brief overview of each section:

Section 1: Your information

The purpose of this section is to collect personal information about you, such as name, age, residence, and legal status in Canada.

You may be required to include copies of one or a few documents that prove your identity, home address, and legal status. Do not send the original document because once submitted, it will not be returned.

Section 2: Spouse or Partner

This section aims to gather information about your spouse or partner. You can skip this section if you’re single. You will be asked their legal name, date of birth, recent picture, and signature.

You may have to send copies of a few documents to verify your spouse or partner’s personal information. These documents include driver’s license or non-driver ID, passport, birth and marriage certificate, and SIN.

Section 3: Dependent Children

This section aims to obtain more information about your household, especially dependent children. A dependent child lives with you at least 50 percent of the time and is under 18 and going to high school and does not have a spouse or a partner.

You will have to send documents that verify each of their identities.

Section 4: Trustee or Power of Attorney

The purpose of this section is to know whether the person assisting you in making financial decisions and other affairs has the legal authority to do so. This person could be a trustee or mentioned in your Power of Attorney.

AISH will review a power of attorney to check whether this power is legally allowed to collect your benefits. You must include the Power of Attorney and the court order where the trustee was appointed with your application.

Section 5: Medical information

You will be required to fill out the names of your doctors and other medical providers. They will be contacted if AISH requires more information about your medical condition. You will also be asked to detail how your prognosis affects you and your ability to make a living.

Section 6: Employment History

This section will include questions about your past and present jobs to determine your eligibility for AISH benefits. You will be required to provide your employer's name, stand and end date for each job, and describe your work.

Section 7: Education and Training

This section will ask you about the highest level of education you have completed and what steps you have taken to find work or training that accommodates your medical condition.

Section 8: Income Information

Yours and your spouse or partner’s income determines whether you qualify for AISH. They will look at the income states in your and your partner's income tax form. You must report income obtained from:

  • Employment/Self-employment income
  • Employment insurance income
  • Life insurance income
  • Disability wage loss insurance income
  • Canada pension plan benefits
  • Old age security benefits
  • Pension income from previous employment
  • Spousal support income
  • Workers’ comp board benefit
  • Rental income
  • Investment income
  • Special payments (gift, inheritance, selling your main home, etc.)
  • Trust income
  • Other income from sources not listed above

Section 9: Asset Information

AISH looks at the assets that you and your partner have when deciding your eligibility for benefits. These include bank accounts, cash and uncashed checks, investments, life insurance, vehicles, owned properties, farms, and businesses.

Section 10: Declaration

This section will ask you to verify that all the information provided is as accurate to the best of your knowledge. Once you sign this section, the application will become a legal document.

Section 11: Consent

You will be required to provide consent to share your information with third parties to help determine your qualification for AISH benefits.

Once you finish Part A of the application, you will have to wait for your doctor to fill out Part B.

Your doctor can either directly send the completed form to AISH, or they can mail it to you, and you can submit with it attached to the first part and all the necessary documents. You can submit them:

Post-submission process

Once you send off your application, AISH may contact you if they require more information about you or your financial or medical condition.

  • If your application is approved, they will notify you in writing or a phone call. You will also be scheduled for a meeting with an AISH worker. You will receive your benefits for those months starting from when AISH received your application information.
  • If not approved, you will receive a letter detailing information such as the reason behind your application denial and how to appeal the decision.


AISH Benefits

There are several different AISH benefits available that eligible applicants can take advantage of — living allowance, child benefit, health benefits, and personal benefits.

Living allowance

The type of living allowance you are eligible for will depend on your living situation. You can use the benefit to cover your basic living costs such as rent, groceries, utilities, etc.

  • Standard living allowance: This monthly benefit is for those who rent or own a home, apartment, or condo, live with family or friends, live with a private group or are homeless. How much you receive will depend on the income of you and your partner.

Here is a table showing living allowance rates provided in previous years.

$1,685 - January 1, 2019 $1,588 - April 1, 2012 $1,188 - April 1, 2009 $1,088 - January 1, 2008 $1,050 - April 1, 2007
$1,000 - April 1, 2006 $950 - April 1, 2005 $850 - October 1, 1999 $818 - July 1, 1997 $810 - February 1, 1993
$796 - February 1, 1992 $755 - February 1, 1991 $750 - May 1, 1988 $720 - February 1, 1986 $695 - February 1, 1985
$624 - February 1, 1984 $604 - April 1, 1983 $575 - August 1, 1982 $552 - April 1, 1982 $529 - October 1, 1980
$492April 1, 1981 $450October 1, 1980 $415July 1, 1980 $385April 1, 1980 $370November 1, 1979


  • Modified living allowance: This monthly benefit is applicable for those who reside in an assisted living facility, such as a nursing home, auxiliary hospital or DSL. You can find a list of approved health facilities here.
  • The modified living benefit amount will cover your following accommodation expenses:
  • Private rooms in nursing homes, auxiliary or treatment facilities where daily rates may change, and approved DSL facilities. As an example, this rate for July 2021 was $2,132.
  • standard DSL rooms may also be covered. For example, for July 1, 2021, this rate was $1,754 per month.
  • You may also receive a monthly personal allowance. As an example, this rate for January 2019 was $322.

Child benefit

Depending on the number of dependent children under your care, you will receive an additional amount per child that you can use to cover their expenses. You will receive $200 for the first dependent child and $100 each for other dependent children.

Health benefits

AISH may cover certain health-related costs for you, your spouse/partner and dependent children.

Once you are approved for AISH, you will receive a benefit card that you can show to your medical health provider to get coverage for:

  • Prescription drugs present in the Government of Alberta Drug Benefit List and some OTC items and nutritional products.
  • Dental checkups, teeth cleaning, x-rays, fillings, teeth removal, dentures, and other basic dental treatments.
  • One eye exam every two years for adults and children’s eye exams. It also covers one pair of glasses for two years for adults and yearly for dependent children.
  • Diabetes supplies like test strips, glucose calibration solution, lancing devices, syringes, needles, and cartridges.
  • Ambulance trips to the emergency room.
  • AADL-approved items

AISH Health Benefits card is only valid in Alberta. Contact your designated AISH worker at least one week before your trip if you are travelling outside Alberta.

Personal benefits

These cover expenses not covered by your monthly living allowance. To be eligible for this, you must not have more than $5,000 in non-exempted assets, prove your need for benefit, be ineligible to receive benefit from any other program or source, and meet the criteria for each type of personal benefit.

There are three types of personal benefits available:

  • Health-related personal benefit: covers expenses for items such as CPAP devices, hearing aid batteries, nebulizers, SAD light, and more.
  • Personal benefit for children: may cover costs associated with infants or your children’s care and education.
  • Other personal benefits: coverage available for funeral, employment and job training, travelling for health-related services, and more.

Other Disability Benefits

Eligible Albertans can apply to other disability benefits programs, one of which is Alberta AIDS to Daily Living (AADL). This program is for anyone with a long-term disability, chronic or terminal illness and needs help to cover medical equipment and supplies.

You can also take advantage of the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), which helps lessen the income tax burden for those living with severe impairments.