Common sense, please…

Honourable Judy Streatch
Minister of Community Services

Minister,

I was very concerned to read today about the family in Chester Grant who have had their social assistance support stopped because of the money they were paid on an insurance claim.

The core arguement of your staff seems to be that the family had to prove they spent all the money they received for their belongings and provide receipts.

I understand your department has a heavy duty in ensuring that no one benefits unfairly while being supported by the Province. This being said, surely, when the capital assets accumulated over a lifetime are destroyed, if a family is driven out of their home, it cannot be said they are benefiting unfairly.

In business terms, their accumulated capital assets were converted into cash at no profit, in fact, at a loss. It is incredible that their day to day stipend would be affected by this tragedy, when again, in business terms, they are surely running a net loss, having been compensated at or less than replacement value by insurance.

I believe the intent of the regulations your staff are enforcing could be described as wishing to ensure people do not continue to benefit from assistance when they are selling something they own at a profit, otherwise known as making money under the table, the classic baking pies and selling them at the flea market. These are totally different circumstances.

In human terms, this family sounds like they are a classic rural, low income household. They should have been able to hold the money from insurance as long as possible, wait for the best bargains, go to flea markets and the Sally Anne, maybe wait until the summer and hit the yard sales. These people are not going to Sears and Walmart to buy a new living room set. They are barely getting buy, and the policies of the Department could be forcing them to make unwise decisions,

I urge you to intervene to protect this family, and to change the regulations so that insurance pay outs that result in no net gain do not result in a change in social assistance status.

Yours,

Waye Mason

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