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Affordability payment portal now open

Nicholas Allen
Pass Herald Reporter

Beginning January 18, eligible Alberta parents and seniors can now apply to receive $600 in affordability payments over six months. According to the release from the government, Alberta’s economy has recovered strongly, but many people are struggling to heat their homes and feed their families and they want to help. Along with broad-based supports to help all Albertans, Alberta’s government is delivering targeted relief for families, seniors and the most vulnerable.

“Starting tomorrow, eligible seniors and parents can apply for $600 in affordability payments over six months to help offset inflationary pressures. Eligible households can apply for affordability payments for each child under 18 and each senior 65 and up which will help to keep Alberta affordable,” said Minister of Affordability and Utilities Matt Jones.

Families with household incomes below $180,000 are eligible to receive $100 per month for six months for each dependent child under 18. Seniors 65 or older who have household incomes below $180,000 and do not receive the Alberta Seniors Benefit can also apply for monthly payments.

“Over the last two months we have been hard at work implementing the largest affordability support measures in Canada. The online portal that we have developed is easy-to-use, fast, safe, and secure. I have every confidence in this system. It is the right approach to help Albertans get the support they need and get it quickly,” said Minister of Technology and Innovation Nate Glubish.

Anyone who cannot easily go online can apply in person through any registry agent or Alberta Supports to receive support in 50 locations and over 100 languages during regular business hours.

Applications will be accepted any time until June 30, with payments being retroactive to include previous months when a person was eligible. Once the application process is completed, most Albertans will receive payments at the end of that month. The exact timing will vary.

“We know rising inflation is forcing families to make choices they should not have to make, and kids are feeling the impacts of the financial stress at home. These affordability payments will make a difference for parents and caregivers across Alberta who are struggling to keep up with rising costs. My hope is that by reducing some of the financial pressure on parents and caregivers, our youngest Albertans can focus on kid’s stuff, not their parents’ bills,” said Minister of Children’s Services Mickey Amery.

To apply, eligible parents and seniors must have a confirmed or pending “Verified Account”, which allows Albertans to prove who they are online without paper documents or face-to-face visits.

Albertans will use the login information from their Verified Account to sign in and complete their online application. Applicants will be asked a series of questions to verify their eligibility, as well as bank-ing information so that payments can be deposited directly into their bank account. Applicants without bank accounts can also select to receive their payments by mailed cheques.

In-person, online and call-in supports are also available for those who have difficulty applying online or need extra assistance.

Many Albertans who qualify for the inflation relief direct payments are automatically enrolled and do not need to apply through the portal or in person. Everyone who receives benefits through Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support, the Alberta Seniors Benefit or services through the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program are already registered and will automatically receive their $100 payments starting January 31. If you are a recipient of one of these programs and you also have dependent children under age 18, you will need to apply to receive payments for your children through the portal.

Foster and kinship caregivers are also automatically registered and do not need to apply for children in their care.

Along with $600 in affordability payments, the Affordability Action Plan is also providing $500 in total electricity rebates and hundreds of dollars in estimated fuel tax relief, as well as natural gas price protection and income tax changes to help with the rising cost of living. To further support vulnerable Albertans, Alberta’s government has provided an in-crease to core support programs and additional food-bank funding.

Alberta’s government will use 2021 tax data from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to verify eligibility based on income. For help with their applications, Albertans can call the Affordability Action Plan Information Line at 1-844-644-9955 or visit any registry agent or Alberta Supports centre in person. During the application period, Alberta Supports is providing extended hours. Additional information, including a how-to video and answers to questions, is available online.

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