Alberta provided information on their targeted affordability payments, as a part of their strategy to deal with recent inflationary pressure.
The details were released Monday at the Alberta Legislature, with a handful of provincial ministers joining to deliver the news. The program’s cost is $900 million and will potentially impact 2.5 million Albertans.
Starting January 18, seniors 65 or older who are not receiving the Alberta Seniors Benefit and eligible parents with children under 18 can apply online through a government portal or in person at locations across the province for $600 in monthly affordability payments.
Families making under a $180,000 combined household income who have children under 18, will receive $100 per child, per month between January and June 2023. Those Albertans that already receive assistance in the form of AISH, PDD or other programs, will automatically be enrolled in the program. They will receive their first payments on Jan. 31.
“Our government is committed to keeping Alberta affordable. By the end of January, most Alberta seniors and families will be able to apply for and receive monthly affordability payments that will provide real relief and help to offset inflationary pressures,” said Matt Jones, Minister of Affordability and Utilities.
Foster and kinship caregivers are also eligible to get the money, but they will automatically get the cash, the province said. Parents that share custody of their children will both be able to access a split payment ($50 per child, per month) as long as both parents apply through their verified accounts.
How to apply
Albertans not already receiving support must first sign up for a verified account. The province is asking people to take the time before the Jan. 18 date to ensure their account is operational. After that, the portal will be opened for Albertans to apply.
Qualification for the income threshold will be based on a citizen’s 2021 income.
Minister Jones said that the $100 per child per month was determined by looking at the incremental burden, per child, that families were facing due to inflation. He said that impact was estimated at around $90 per child.
When asked if this amount would make a difference for Alberta families.
“I hope so. Certainly, the intent is to provide children and families with as much flexibility and normalcy as possible,” he said.
More information and an FAQ are available on this website.
The Official Opposition NDP said they hope the system set up by the province won’t hinder the delivery of payments to Albertans.
“In fact, the UCP’s history of developing these online tools has been one failure after another. As recently as Saturday, Danielle Smith said she expected this would likely crash on day one,” said Calgary Bhullar McCall MLA Irfan Sabir.
“Meanwhile, there’s an existing system that we all use to pay our taxes which the UCP could have made use of. Instead, Albertans are paying for the UCP to build a duplicate system that may or may not work. And for many Albertans there are no benefits available through this new portal.”
The province said that had they used the Canada Revenue Agency system, it would have delayed payments until April, “if not longer,” said Minister Nate Glubish.
He also encouraged people to have a strong password and use two-factor authentication.
“The information you provide in this portal is protected using both authentication and data encryption, ensuring that the account is safe, secure and private,” he said.