There's also something really smelly going on with the EI applications for second stage benefits and training programs. Advocates are looking askance at how many people are being turned down and these people are plunging downwards as well, with no benefits, no job and disabilities.
- What good are governments that hasten their own citizens into deep, chronic and harmful poverty?
- Why are our governments failing us in this way?
- Who gains from this? None of us do.
- Why aren't we doing anything to stop this?
- We should be asking ourselves most of all why our governments are encouraging and creating this kind of mass de-socialization and dislocation on such a large scale?
Welcome to Chiu Yin Wong's nightmare, increasingly common.
Excerpt: . Published: July 2, 2009. TheTyee.ca
The 46-year-old man, who MacKenzie said requested that his name not be used in print, worked as a construction labourer for $10 an hour until January 13, according to a submission filed as part of the hearing. When the job ended he applied for EI, as well as emergency welfare from the province to get him through until the EI cheque came.
The province gave him $595 on January 21, with the agreement he would pay it back through his EI payments.
He was eligible for $193 a week in EI, but for each of the first three weeks of February he received just $45 after the province was repaid.
By the middle of February he needed help from the welfare ministry again. They gave him another $595, but started taking back even more money.
"It just created this escalating cycle," said MacKenzie.In February he received a total of $275 from EI, with the province taking $497. In March he got $204, while the province's share was $761. For some weeks he received not a penny from his EI cheques, which instead went straight to the province.
Here's why: The ministry counts the money it was clawing back as income. In March, for example, the man officially had income of $965 from EI, despite the fact he barely saw $200 of it. That income made him ineligible for welfare.
"The Panel acknowledges that the very method by which the Ministry recovers money owing in this case, is causing the need for further income assistance," the three-member panel found. "The Appellant now receives too much income from Employment Insurance to qualify for Income Assistance, but the quantum of net income, after deductions, is impossible to live on."
They found, "The outcome is perverse, and causes significant hardship to the Appellant, but the legislation is clear." (B.C. Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal).
"The Ministry's practices show complete disregard for the vulnerable position people are already in when they apply to access welfare while awaiting EI," she said in her initial e-mail to the Tyee. "The Ministry is well aware of the hardship caused by these recovery practices, but nothing is being done, and people are being abandoned by the Ministry." (Kirsty MacKenzie, Downtown Eastside Residents' Association).
All I know is this is what we have to do, before it's too late.