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Eviction averted

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Shawna had not received her income assistance cheque for two months and was facing eviction due to unpaid rent. After calling the ministry for answers, Shawna learned that her file had been closed and she would have to reapply. Out of money and at a loss, Shawna called us.

The ministry said Shawna had not picked up her income assistance cheque so they closed her file. However, the cheques were always mailed to Shawna at home, since it closed the local ministry office in her rural area – nowhere near the current office.

The ministry reviewed Shawna’s file and identified its mistake. Two months earlier, it had conducted a routine review of Shawna’s eligibility which confirmed her entitlement. Instead of mailing her cheque, which had been the practice, the ministry held it for pickup at the distant office. Shawna had not been told of this change.

Shawna’s cheque should have been sent and, importantly, someone should have looked into why it wasn’t picked up before her file was closed. The ministry agreed to re-open Shawna’s file immediately without making her reapply, issued the back payments Shawna was entitled to, and resumed mailing her payments.

We followed up next with Shawna, who told us she was very relieved. She could pay her rent and felt secure in her home. She was still concerned about future payments, but was assured by the ministry’s apology and return to mailing cheques to her home.

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