With their latest cold and heartless cut, the Sask. Party are eliminating a provincial support for seniors living with disabilities. Despite holding a press conference earlier this week on changes to income assistance, the Sask. Party made no mention of their plan to eliminate Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) supports for Saskatchewan seniors as soon as they become eligible for Old Age Security (OAS).
“Old Age Security is a federal program available to all Canadian seniors and has nothing to do with the support that is supposed to be provided by SAID. Cutting the funding that our most vulnerable seniors rely on to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table is the definition of heartless,” said NDP Leader Nicole Sarauer. “The Minister herself admitted that more and more seniors are relying on SAID, so for her to now allow these supports to be taken away from Saskatchewan seniors at a point in their lives when they need it most is almost too much to believe.”
Under questioning last fall by the NDP Social Services Critic, the Minister identified a growing number of people who rely on SAID and noted, “the likelihood of disability increases with age.”
“The Sask. Party are looking at the dollar signs instead of into the eyes of Saskatchewan’s grandmothers and grandfathers. Real people rely on this support and it’s real people who will suffer because of this Sask. Party cut,” said Sarauer. “If you have a program that is actually helping people, the answer is not to cut it and leave more people out in the cold, the Saskatchewan answer is to find better ways to better help more people.”
The cuts were made in a closed-door Sask. Party Cabinet meeting nearly one year after the Sask. Party first made deep cuts to SAID and faced backlash from across the province. Seniors who currently rely on SAID will lose their provincial supports when they get OAS. The cut will also create a two-tiered system because those who currently get support from OAS and SAID will not be effected. Canadians are eligible for Old Age Security when they turn 65.
“The Sask. Party need to come clean about their plans for more heartless cuts,” said Sarauer. “We need to invest in Saskatchewan people instead of making our seniors pay the price for Sask. Party mismanagement, scandal and waste.”