featured Poverty

Always fight back when Community Services treats you unfairly!

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Sometimes a sad story has a happy ending after all!

Like most people on income assistance in Halifax, Joanne (not her real name) lost her special needs travel allowance when the city introduced free bus passes for income assistance recipients last year.

The problem is, Joanne didn’t use that money for a bus pass. That money covered the insurance for her old clunker of a car, and a bit of gas money. Because of her disabilities the bus is not an option for Joanne.

We wrote about Joanne’s case here: Penny-pinching income assistance for people with mobility issues.

She ended up getting $11.32 per month, not enough to go to medical appointments and do the odd grocery run.

Recently Joanne messaged me with some excellent news. Her travel allowance was reinstated. She even received a retroactive payment for the last two months.

While researching Joanne’s story I received the usual vague response from the department. But maybe, just maybe, those questions caused somebody inside the bureaucracy to reconsider.

Or not. Who knows.

Regardless, the lesson is that when Community Services treats you unfairly you should never take it lying down. Joanne’s story had a happy ending because she made noise. She tried a lot of things. One of those was to take her complaint to the Nova Scotia Advocate.

Do what Joanne did. Question your caseworker. Talk to your MLA. Talk to advocates at Dalhousie Legal Aid, talk to the the good folks at the Benefits Reform Action Group.

Whatever you do, never give up.

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One Comment

  1. It’s so great to read a story where someone gets back money on their ESIA cheque that was wrongfully cut in the first place.

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