featured Labour Poverty

Open letter to Premier Stephen McNeil: Stop the EI and CPP Disability clawbacks for people on income assistance

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) , September 24, 2018

Dear Premier Stephen McNeil,

I am writing this letter on behalf of several individuals who are affected by various clawbacks of their income assistance benefits.

People in the community acknowledge the fact that the child support clawbacks stopped as of August 2018. This is a significant step in reducing the impact of poverty among people dependent on income assistance. The community, and especially single parents, applaud that decision.

Now we would like to turn your attention to other kinds of clawbacks, namely Employment Insurance payments and disability payments by the Canada Pension Plan. Both of these payments are clawed back one hundred percent.

Taking that money is insulting. People should be allowed to keep these payments, since they contributed to both CPP disability and Employment insurance while working.  

Many, if not most who are receiving CPP disability cannot work because of their disabilities. These disabilities they have include disabilities that are the combination of mental health, physical disabilities, and visible/invisible disabilities.

People on income assistance who also receive Employment Insurance need that extra money to help with searching for their next job, as well as to help them live. Keeping their health up while searching for that next job is an important part of life.

One community member was advised to not even bother appealing the clawback of his EI to the income assistance appeal board. This person’s anxiety had been acting up as a result.

These clawbacks are harmful to those with disabilities who are on the system and it should be a priority to put a stop to these unfair practices. 

Premier MacNeil, have you considered these impacts? And do you have an idea when those unfair clawbacks are going to end?

Hoping to hear from you,

Sincerely, Kendall Worth

Kendall Worth is a tireless anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

If you can, please support the Nova Scotia Advocate so that it can continue to cover issues such as poverty, racism, exclusion, workers’ rights and the environment in Nova Scotia. A paywall is not an option, since it would exclude many readers who don’t have any disposable income at all. We rely entirely on one-time donations and a tiny but mighty group of dedicated monthly sustainers.

Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again.