Housing & Communities Planning for the Future Death & Estates Health Older Adults Consumer Protection Non-Profit Organizations & Charities Debts & Credit Government & Government Agencies Courts & Legal Systems Crimes & Fines Victims Resources for Teachers Legal Information for Newcomers Family Law Saskatchewan Workplace Sexual Harassment (SHIFT) About PLEA Contact Us Search

Social Assistance Appeals

A person who has applied for or receives assistance can appeal a decision that affects their assistance.

When Can I Appeal?

If a benefit that you are receiving is going to be changed, suspended, or cancelled, your worker should talk to you about the changes. Make sure your worker has all the right information. Once a decision has been made, you will receive a copy of it in writing. It will include the reasons for the decision and information about your right to reconsideration and appeal.

You can appeal if:

  • you were not allowed to apply or reapply for income support
  • a decision about your application is not made in a reasonable time
  • your application for income support is denied
  • you disagree with the amount of a benefit you receive
  • your benefits were cancelled, changed or withheld
  • a decision is made that you have received an overpayment

Steps to Appealing a Decision


The first step to appeal is to ask to have the decision reconsidered. You must ask for this within 15 days of being notified of the decision. Social Services then has 7 days to reconsider their decision. They will notify you as soon as possible of their reconsideration decision.

Appeal to Regional Committee

If you are not satisfied with the reconsideration decision, you can appeal it. You must notify Social Services that you want to appeal the decision. An appeal hearing with the Regional Committee will then be scheduled. The Committee is made up of local people who do not work for Social Services.


What happens to my assistance while I am appealing?


Social Services may provide temporary benefits during your appeal. You will not receive these benefits if:

  • your combined assets and income are more than the benefits you would receive
  • you are not eligible for other reasons such as being a full-time post-secondary student, being in jail or being out of the province for 30 days or more

Social Services does not compensate you for expenses related to preparing for or attending your appeal.


How will I find out about the hearing?


You will receive written notice of the time and place of the hearing. In some cases, hearings will take place by teleconference. If this is the case, you will be provided with a phone number to call.

It is important that you appear or call in if the hearing is by teleconference. You can also arrange for someone to appear on your behalf if needed. If you fail to appear or call in, the appeal committee can make a decision without hearing your side of the case.

If you or someone on your behalf cannot appear or call in at the specified time, contact Social Services. You may be able to arrange another time.


Who can attend the hearing?


You can have someone to represent you or be at the hearing with you as an advocate. The public is not allowed at the hearing. Only the following people will be present:

  • you and your advocate, if you have chosen to have an advocate accompany you
  • members of the appeal committee
  • your social worker
  • other representatives of Social Services


What happens at the hearing?


The hearing is informal. Recording devices are not allowed. Both sides will have a chance to tell their stories. You can have witnesses give evidence for you and present your own evidence.

The Social Services representative has the right to ask you and your witnesses questions about your evidence. They can also present evidence of their own. You can ask questions of the representative and any witnesses that they have.

You have a right to be present throughout the hearing. You cannot be asked to leave the hearing room while the committee hears any information.

The hearing can be adjourned for a maximum of 30 days at a time.


What happens after the hearing?


At the end of the hearing, the appeal committee will briefly summarize the issues, evidence and the related policies. The regional appeal committee must give its decision in writing. You may have to wait up to 7 days for their decision. If the committee needs more time to decide, they will notify you. They can take up to a maximum of 30 days to make their decision.

You will receive a letter from the regional appeal committee with their decision. The letter must:

  • give reasons for the decision
  • tell you that if you still feel the decision is wrong you can appeal to the Social Services Appeal Board

Appeal to Social Services Board

You can appeal to the Social Services Appeal Board if you disagree with the Regional Committee’s decision. The members of this board also do not work for Social Services.

If you wish to appeal to the Social Services Appeal Board, you must notify Social Services in writing. This notice must include your reasons for appealing. You must do this within 15 days after you receive notice of the Regional Committee’s decision.

The Board must set up a hearing and determine the appeal within 30 days. You will receive written notice of the time and place of the hearing at least 5 days ahead of time. The hearing may be held by teleconference. If this is the case, you will receive a phone number to call.

The hearing will take place in the same way as the appeal before the local committee. You can have an advocate. You can give your evidence and your witnesses can give theirs. After the hearing, the Board will give their decision. The Board must let you know if they are going to take more than 7 days to make a decision. They have a maximum of 30 days.

No Further Right of Appeal

There is no further right of appeal from the Social Services Appeal Board. Decisions made by the Social Services Appeal Board cannot be overturned by further appeals or by the Minister of Social Services.

In limited circumstances, such as issues related to a matter of law, you may be able to ask the Court of King's Bench to review the matter. You will need the help of a lawyer to make such an application.

After an appeal has been completed, the Ombudsman may investigate. They can investigate complaints from individuals who believe the provincial government has treated them unfairly.

How helpful was this article?

PLEA offers free online training on preventing and addressing workplace harassment.

Workplace Harassment Prevention Training

CHECK IT OUT We're here to help.

Housing & Communities

Planning for the Future

Death & Estates


Older Adults

Consumer Protection

Non-Profit Organizations & Charities

Debts & Credit

Courts & Legal System

Government & Government Agencies

Crimes & Fines


About PLEA

PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.