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Kendall Worth: Still waiting for the social assistance transformation

Kendall Worth. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Hlaifax) – Five years after the government announced the income assistance transformation it is still making promises. The sad truth is that very little change has happened.

A recent Community Services news release that was reprinted in the Haligonian has people who depend on income assistance in my community worried that nothing much better then what we already have now is on its way.

It also shows that Community Services remains secretive about what they are up to. None of this was discussed at the latest round of updates by the department.

The news release talks about a new program for young people between 18 and 26 years old who are on social assistance to get job experience, get mentoring and build confidence.

I believe it is an overall great idea for those young people to get out in the world and gain work experience. I mean think about this. They get to experience life, and take a major step in the right direction towards becoming independent.

So why has this news others on income assistance worried and concerned?

Some people worry that their caseworker are going to start harassing them to get out on the road and pick up garbage, they worry that what MLA Larry Harrison once proposed, this story here, is just around the corner.  

I mean, great idea for those who do not have disabilities, and who are able to do that type of work  but the questions becomes what about the rest of us?

All we can do is keep our fingers crossed that something better is coming for the rest of us.   

Nova Scotians for years have been dealing with a system full of systemic problems and bureaucratic nonsense.

Also, for years the financial reality of income assistance recipients has been a standard $535 for shelter and $275 for personal allowance. Then the department makes clients jump through hoops to qualify for special needs allowances.

What we need in Nova Scotia is a system where people with disabilities get real support, and a much better system for those of us who can work.

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

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One Comment

  1. People have good reason to be concerned. In addition, I have little doubt, that when push comes to shove (so to speak) that “they” will indeed try this tactic. It’s been done before, so why not again…?

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