Kendall Worth shows once again how what most people would consider simple problems are often almost insurmountable obstacles for people on income assistance. Poverty, stigma and isolation make many things much more complicated.
Kendall Worth writes about questions Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc raised about EI clawbacks for people on Income Assistance. It’s a topic dear to Kendall’s heart as he knows several people who experienced this.
Community Services will pay for the cab for a person who is getting released from day surgery if the person cannot take the bus home. But finding someone to accompany you home who the hospital approves of is sometimes difficult, Kendall Worth reports.
Poverty advocate Kendall Worth asks his friends and acquaintances about being grateful despite all the problems poverty brings. He gets some amazing responses, and learns how people are teaming up to support one another.
One of the many hard things about having to depend on social assistance is the stigma. People often assume you’re lazy, even though invisible disabilities stop you from working. The other day poverty advocate Kendall Worth talked with one such person, who got verbally attacked by her fellow passengers on the bus.
When you’re on income assistance EI benefits and CPP Disability are clawed back 100%. “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,” writes poverty activist Kendall Worth in an open letter to premier Steven McNeil.
On Wednesday evening several MLAs from all three parties attended a screening of My Week on Welfare at the auditorium of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in downtown Halifax. My Week on Welfare is a wonderful documentary, produced by Jackie Torrens, that offers glimpses into the lives of income assistance recipients, families and individuals both, trying to make ends meet on a scandalously low food and shelter budget. The screening was organized by BRAG and CASAR members. What follows is what poverty advocate and Nova Scotia Advocate contributor Tim Blades told the MLAs.
Kendall Worth meets up with a couple on income assistance, all set to do a serious job search now that they have a free bus pass and a phone. Just goes to show what a difference access to public transportation makes. “Now that we have both the bus pass and the phone, we are planning to get down to business with looking for meaningful employment,” Peter and Peggy tell Kendall. “Kendall, we are tired of living with the bureaucratic nonsense. We are tired of it, and we hope that now that we got our free bus pass we can get off this system.”
Unpublished policies and regulations that say unintended things are part of how Community Services conducts its business.
The Benefits Reform Action Group sent a letter to the Community Services Standing Committee, explaining why it is no longer interested in meetings with bureaucrats that go nowhere.