Demand for isolation cash swamps provincial website

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

It was probably not a surprise that response to a provincial offer of emergency cash support was too big for the system to handle. That’s what happened on March 25, the day that the government’s ‘Emergency Isolation Support’ program’s online applications became available.

There were (and no doubt still are) thousands of hurting businesses and tens of thousands of individuals at home and not getting paid.

A day later, this was the message on the government website: “To help meet the higher than anticipated demand, MyAlberta Digital ID and the Emergency Isolation Support will be temporarily unavailable. We expect to make it available as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.”

The program is a one-time payment of $1,146. It is intended to bridge the gap until a federal benefit program begins in April.

Not everybody is eligible, by any means. For example, you aren’t eligible if you were not working immediately before you were advised to self-isolate, if you can work from home, or if you are not experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of self-isolation.

Further ineligibility comes if you are currently collecting other forms of income support or employer benefits while self-isolated, such as workplace sick leave benefits, federal employment insurance (EI) benefits or are staying home to care for a dependent who is home for a reason other than self-isolation, or reside outside of Alberta.

For all people in these categories, other supports are available, says the government on its website.

So who is eligible?

Again, according to what the government has on alberta.ca, you are eligible for the emergency isolation cash if you have experienced total or significant loss of income and are not receiving compensation from any other source because you: have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have been directed by health authorities to self-isolate or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation.

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