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AISH Program Policy

Published Date: May 13, 2015
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Eligibility

Cohabiting Partners

AUTHORITY

Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Act, section 1(c)
Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped General Regulation, section 1(2)(a)

INTENT

To describe who AISH considers to be cohabiting partners.

POLICY

“Cohabiting partner” is defined in the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Act as one person with whom a person

i. is residing and

A. who is his or her spouse,
B. has, in the opinion of a director, a relationship of interdependence as defined in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, or
C. has a natural or adopted child,

or

ii. is financially interdependent and has a relationship described in subclause (i)(A), (B) or (C) except that the persons are not residing together.

The AISH program recognizes a mutual obligation of cohabiting partners to support each other.  Therefore, the income and assets of the applicant, client and their cohabiting partner are considered in determining AISH eligibility and level of benefits.

Relationship of Interdependence

Two people who are in a relationship of interdependence are considered to be cohabiting partners by the AISH program. A relationship of interdependence is defined in section 1(1)(f) of the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act as two unmarried adults who:

  • Share one another’s lives;
  • Are emotionally committed to one another; and
  • Function as an economic unit.

While the AISH program uses this definition of “relationship of interdependence,” it has not adopted the use of the term “adult interdependent partner” or the requirement of residing together for a minimum of three-years, as stipulated in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act. As a result, the income and assets of a cohabiting partner are included in the determination of a client’s AISH eligibility and level of benefits from the date they begin residing together.

Individuals who do not reside together but are financially interdependent and are either married, have a relationship of interdependence or have a natural or adopted child are considered to be cohabiting partners.

Minors in a Relationship of Interdependence

A minor may enter into interdependent partner agreement if they are at least 16 years old and have the written consent of their guardian(s).

Examples of a relationship of interdependence:

  • Two adults of the opposite sex in a conjugal or marriage-like relationship (formerly called common-law), regardless of the length of time of the relationship.
  • Two adults in a same sex relationship who declare they are cohabiting partners.
  • Two adults living in a platonic relationship, regardless of gender, who declare they are cohabiting partners. People in this group cannot be blood relatives.
  • Two adults who have entered into a formal Adult Interdependent Partner (AIP) agreement as authorized under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act. Blood relatives can enter into these agreements.
  • Two adults who have a child together by blood or adoption and are living together, even if temporarily separated (for example, by out of town work), and deny they are any of the above.
  • An adult and minor over the age of 16 when the minor has received written consent from their guardian(s).