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Kendall Worth: No end to annual reviews, Minister Kelly Regan says

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate know that some of my past stories talk about how intrusive the annual reviews for income assistance recipients are.  

For more information, see this story: All that’s wrong with the much-feared Annual Review, and how to begin to fix it.

I believe the annual review needs to be monitored, or perhaps recorded on video.

See also: Kendall Worth: Consider bringing an advocate to your annual review

Recently, while the Community Services Budget Estimates were discussed after the Budget speech, Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc asked a question about these annual reviews.  

Unfortunately there is no video, however I did receive an email from NDP caucus staff that talks about it.

This is what the email says:

“When Sue asked the Minister about annual reviews, the Minister said that they are meant to ensure a thorough review – not meant to be punitive, that often they find people’s situation has deteriorated and they qualify for additional supports.

“She repeated that the Department is not trying to police ESIA recipients and that the annual reviews are supposed to be about caseworkers building relationships with clients.”

This response clearly shows that the Minister and her staff and bureaucrats are not paying attention when income assistance recipients complain about their annual reviews.  

Many income assistance recipients in the community are tired of having that relationship with a caseworker and annual reviews altogether.  

Nothing was said about clients walking out of their annual reviews with cuts made to their income assistance checks. I found that disappointing, because it is another part of what happens at an annual review.

Overall it looks like they are not getting rid of annual reviews.

So let hope miracles will happen as the income assistance transformation continues!      

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. “they qualify for additional supports.” Ha, that’s a laugh! The purpose of the annual review is to see if they can cut our cheques, not add to them.

    There should be no annual reviews for people who have been declared, by a licensed physician, to be permanently unemployable due to illness. A yearly phonecall to the recipient to check in with them is suffice, or just tell the person to contact their caseworker if there is a change to the cost of a special need, or if they need something. Those forms that need to be signed can be sent in the mail and returned by mail. The time and money spent of these reviews could be better spent elsewhere.

    I would like to know why they won’t do home visits for people with mobility/chronic health issues. I have my annual review this month and I’m not dreading the review but what I have to go through to get to the office on Gottingen Street and back home. It will be exhausting and take me a few days to recover. And if I can’t get a booking with Access-A-Bus, it will cost me $25 in cab fare, assuming I can even get hold of one of only a handful of drivers with accessible vehicles.

    Asking us how much cash we have on us, a relatively new addition to the already intrusive and stressful ordeal, is crossing the line. Like anyone is going to admit they have hundreds of dollars in their wallet, if they do, and why ask when you’re not going to have us empty our pockets, bag, wallet, etc.?

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