Lucas requested assistance from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to purchase food and medicine for his children, who were unexpectedly in his care for longer than usual. He was provided a $40 crisis supplement by the ministry, but when he inquired about additional supports to assist with expenses, he was denied. Concerned, Lucas contacted us for help.
We reached out to the ministry and were informed Lucas’ application for the Shared Parenting Assistance benefit had been denied because he did not have a court document confirming the children as dependents.
Although the ministry’s decision was consistent with its procedure, we questioned whether it was reasonable. In Lucas’ case, it appeared that the ministry had applied a “one-size-fits-all” approach. It was unclear why the ministry chose to only accept court documents given that other evidence was available.
Through the course of our investigation, we learned that the ministry had changed its procedures and permitted ministry staff to make eligibility decisions based on the evidence presented in each case, instead of requiring proof in the form of a court document only.
Upon further review of Lucas’ case and his original application for the Shared Parenting Assistance benefit, the ministry determined that Lucas was in fact eligible under the new policy and issued him with a payment of $5,415 retroactively.