Single parent reimbursed

Authority Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Tom had been receiving disability assistance for many years. Following policy, the ministry had been deducting child support payments received by Tom from his disability assistance. When Tom’s child turned 19 and the child support payments stopped, the ministry continued to subtract $50 per month from his cheques.

Tom said he had advised the ministry of his income change soon after the child support payments ended. The ministry disagreed, telling him that it could not provide a refund for past deductions because he had failed to report the change when it occurred. Standing by his word, Tom contacted us and we investigated.

The ministry confirmed that its policy does not allow refunds for underpayments that occurred before a change of income is reported. The ministry said there was not a record of Tom reporting the change, so they could only stop the deduction going forward and offer $50 for the current month.

We asked the ministry to provide us with copies of its records going back to the time Tom said he originally reported his income change. The ministry retrieved the records – a number of which were located off site. As it turned out, these records confirmed Tom’s recollection that he had reported the income change soon after his child turned 19. As a result of our investigation, the ministry admitted its error and agreed to refund Tom for all the child support payments it unfairly deducted. Tom received a cheque for almost $2,000.

Category Income and Benefits
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2014
Location The Lower Mainland