To Richard Kemp: you appear to be a man cut from the ‘like to shoot off my mouth, don’t bother with facts’ cloth.
The government did at one point want the money they doled out in income supports back. In late February 2004, my partner bit the poison cookie and moved on, after a catastrophic illness. I looked after him and I ended up with a massive case [PTSD] and my doctor didn’t want me to work for at least a year.
I was back at work to the point that I was no longer receiving monies from the Alberta government within three months. Medical welfare was something like $500 a month. They wanted $900 back. The only problem with that was most of that money was from the federal government in the form of Survivor Benefits: $600 of it if I remember rightly.
So I made their life as miserable as I could making good faith payments of $5 and $10. It was turned over to a collection agency who then announced I had overpaid and sent me back $70. Have you ever gotten money back from a collection agency?
But if they stopped making people pay it back it could be because it was counter productive. If someone is seriously ill [or otherwise] for six months, having to pay that money back could really be harsh for someone trying to get back on their feet. I have paperwork which suggests they didn’t.
I am no longer on income supports, I am on a patchwork of pensions. I have been deemed not fit to work by a fairly large group of people.
And you are not among those with the training, or the knowledge of the system, or me personally to know jack ship about it.
As much as you appear to dislike it, the social net serves its purpose even for people like you. I am not talking about the reduction in crime here, or the amount of employment it generates, or the moral considerations. I am talking, in this piece, about its role in the maintenance of the public health. Keeping the entire population healthy begins by supporting the part of the population that is ‘at risk’ in a position to keep their health.
In my last letter I was wrong. My information was out of date. Prevention, I should have asked what the new numbers are. The thing I was calling a tax cut out is now $638. It is money that is ignored so that on AISH your income is judged to be $950 and your rent is $265. If you are a pensioner and your income is $1,588 your rent is judged to be $476.
When I was well and working two jobs for months on end without a day off, I did not begrudge people on disability, and certainly not seniors receiving their pensions. Now that I stand among their number and know more about their lot, I think our rents should be judged the same. At the AISH rate. I am penning another letter to the MLAs about that.
By the way, South Peace News does not publish all the letters I write by any means. I get the feeling that they sometimes use them to fill in what otherwise might be a blank space. I write them to annoy people like you. It makes the world a better place. Well, it makes my world a better place.