Fleeing woman gets help from ministry

Authority Ministry of Social Development

Bonnie applied for income assistance after she and her young daughter fled an abusive relationship. She came to us after her application was denied on the grounds that her car was worth more than the Ministry of Social Development’s asset limits allowed. Bonnie complained that ministry staff had not reviewed evidence she provided from the car dealership, which showed that because the car had been in an accident, its actual value was less than the book amount the ministry was relying on. Bonnie was also concerned because she had just been told by a worker and an assistant supervisor that her request had not yet been sent to the Reconsideration Branch, 12 days after she had formally asked the ministry to reconsider its denial decision.

Bonnie also told us that she had asked for a food voucher to help feed her child while she waited for the decision of the Reconsideration Branch. She was upset when she was told that because she didn’t qualify for regular benefits she wasn’t entitled to any hardship assistance, including a food voucher.

We immediately contacted the ministry’s district supervisor and spoke to her about Bonnie’s situation. When the district supervisor reviewed Bonnie’s file she found that both the worker and the assistant supervisor were wrong, as the reconsideration request had in fact been submitted. The district supervisor explained that she had not been aware of the additional evidence from the dealership or she would have reviewed the denial decision in light of the new evidence before forwarding Bonnie’s request for reconsideration. The district supervisor also noted that Bonnie was entitled to hardship benefits because her ineligibility for regular benefits had been based on the value of her assets and not her income. As a result, the district supervisor contacted Bonnie immediately to explain and apologize for the ministry’s errors and to offer her hardship assistance. The next day Bonnie was told that the reconsideration had been decided in her favour and she received a benefit cheque that same day.

This resolved the situation to Bonnie’s and our satisfaction and we closed the file.

Category Income and Benefits
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2010
Location The Lower Mainland