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Kendall Worth: My caseworker questioning my doctor is a human rights violation

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Yes, that it correct. This article talks about how it violates my human rights when a Department of Community Services caseworker does not accept medical documentation submitted by my doctor at face value.

Kendall Worth. Photo Robert Devet

I personally lost a Supreme Court of Nova Scotia case to have my own Section 6.3.3 funding reinstated, which amounted to $66 per month for a high-protein diet. My medical conditions, which include a risk of cardiac disease if I do not eat a high-protein diet, have not gone away. But my funding has.

My doctor recommended the high protein diet, but my caseworker questioned his opinion.

It is my responsibility, and my responsibility alone, to talk with my doctor about my health.

People ask, “why are you so bothered that your caseworkers did not accept your doctor’s medical documentation at face value, and decided to further question  your doctor, and why do you call it a human rights violation?”

So this article answers these questions once and for all.

It is all about my independence.  As a person with a disability (impulse control disorder and learning disability) my rights were violated as follows:

  • My right to advocate for myself was removed.
  • My right to live a healthy life was removed when my special diet allowance was taken away.
  • My rights to self-determination and self respect was removed.

It reflects a negative attitude towards people with disabilities when  my caseworker speaks to my doctor on my behalf. It portrays people like me as sick, defective and deviant, as an object of professional intervention.

But when I talk to people who supervise Income Assistance caseworkers in the Department of Community Services, I get told  a caseworker’s right to further question my doctor is the law.

I believe that one is just a bunch of baloney, and higher ups are telling me that because they do not want me to complain.

These actions of income assistance caseworkers also create extra work for doctors, taking time away from other patients.  

Here are three stories that talk about my predicament from different angles:

In my Halifax Media Co-op article Rigid rules for Special Diet allowances are hurting I talk about the problems when it comes to getting special diet allowances approved through your caseworker.

Then in Let them drink shakes I write about being denied a special diet allowance and looking for alternatives.  

And in my commentary Why aren’t politicians listening to people living in poverty? I take a step back and talk about the entire big picture.


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