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Kendall Worth: More special diet blues

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Over the past few weeks I have had conversations with five income assistance recipients who lost their special diets, even though their medical doctors told Community Services that the diet was medically necessary.  

What these people experienced has a lot in common with what happened to me in 2013.

Anyway, here is what each of these people, who asked not to be identified, have lost following their last annual review and the removal of their special diet allowance:

Person 1 Lost $54, four months ago.
Person 2 Lost $30, five months ago.
Person 3 Lost $27, four months ago.
Person 4 Lost $54, six months ago
Person 5 Also lost $54.

As you can see these people lost a lot of money toward their healthy eating budget.

They mentioned that they had already gone through the appeals process and got denied after the appeal hearing.

A caseworker uses Section 6.3.3 of the ESIA policy manual to make decisions regarding special diets.

The problem with that policy is that the doctor’s medical reasons for a special diet do not always match up with the medical conditions mentioned in that policy.

The other big problem is that doctors get annoyed when their diagnoses are questioned by caseworkers, who have no medical training whatsoever.

Sometimes doctors end up refusing to deal with the matter any more.

It has been said that in those cases you could complain to the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  I believe that’s the wrong response.

Complaining is only going to annoy these doctors even more. It may even cause these doctors to dismiss these patients from their practice!

Complaining to the College of Physicians and Surgeons will do nothing to hold Community Services accountable. It is also safe to say this action will not get the lost special diet allowance reinstated.  

See also: Kendall Worth –Community Services case worker knows better than doctor about special diet requirements 


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