KJIPYKTUK (Halifax) – Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to interview Mariana. She did not want me to use her real name because she fears that she will be applying for welfare within the next couple of years.
Mariana told me that she had seen my stuff in the Nova Scotia Advocate, and a contact of hers recommended that she speak with me.
She especially referenced one story she saw in the Nova Scotia Advocate, this one: Assistance denied: an encounter with the bizarre rules to qualify for Community Services support.
Mariana had to quit working over a year ago, because her doctor put her on medical leave. A few months before her doctor put her on medical leave she got out of a relationship she was in at the time.
Her mom is in a nursing home and her dad has passed away, and at 28 she is already living a life of loneliness and social isolation.
She has two surgeries coming up. The first will be in three months time and that date is set. As for the second surgery, she is on a waiting list and it could be two years if not longer before it happens.
Mariana tried to apply for income assistance about a year ago. However, she gets $577 a month from CPP disability, and earlier she received money from a settlement. The Community Services intake worker told her to come back when she had no more money. That settlement money together with the CPP disability is enough to cover her bills for the foreseeable future.
She hopes to be back at work by that time, but that will depend on the outcome of her second surgery. In the meantime Mariana’s doctor does not want her working while she is on the waiting list for that surgery.
Another story she read in the Nova Scotia Advocate also struck a chord with Mariana. This one here: All alone. Kendall Worth on the roots of isolation. She definitely agrees 100% that social isolation can affect you at any age. The COVID lockdown and restrictions certainly don’t help either.
Both surgeries require someone to be at the hospital with her to accompany her home following the surgery to look after her. Otherwise the surgeries will be canceled.
I have written about this problem quite a bit.
Friends and family all work full time jobs and some live far away from Halifax. She does have an older sister who lives in New Brunswick but chances of her agreeing to take time off work to come to Halifax for that reason are slim to nil.
I will update my readers as soon as a solution can be arranged.
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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The system appears to be wrung dry of compassion. A hard story.