February 21, 2020

3 things poor people have to do for no good reason


Members of the Hall got together to talk about the recent changes related to income support in the last 6 months. For people unfamiliar with the recent payment date changes that have ended up targeting people on income supports and left people scrambling, please read this Calgary Herald news article from February 20, 2020. 

1. Ability to problem-solve. 

One member told us people receive income supports because of their disability and speaks about how frustrating how the Province did not talk to people first to help understand how disruptive the date payment change is...

"Most people don’t have the ability to problem-solve and negotiate these things. They have no idea at all, especially if they are on their own, guaranteed if I didn’t have my mother for support, I could not do this on my own to negotiate with a landlord, fix my cell phone bill."


2. Cell Phone Bills 

One person told us it has taken 2 hours over the phone, an email, and now they are waiting another 30 days to see if the payment change will take effect.  Be prepared to change a cell phone plan may take more than 30 days...


Be prepared, changing your cell phone
may take several hours if not more than 30 days

"I am like a sitting duck." 

"People cannot afford to change their bill, it takes two hours and there might be hidden fees.  I am with the cell phone provider Koodo and they told me my payment was due on the 6th of the month, and they take the money on the 29th  
I called them and after 20 minutes they said they could not change it. I got a call back the  next day in French, and then they switched to English, 35 minutes later we got it changed to the 11th as my money can come out on the 6th  I then got an email from them saying my cell phone bills are the 6thI called them back and then they told me it will take a month and you will have a bill from the 6-11th and then she called me back and said: " I checked your account and it was never changed in the first, place."  I now have to wait a full month. I am like a sitting duck waiting to see if it has been changed."  


3. Waiting by the phone to get a callback  
People are feeling like sitting ducks


"The problems are being dumped on me. A lot of people will turn to their workers and I want to bill the Minister for the time I have spent negotiating all of this :)"

Many people have told us it is not been a good experience calling the AISH office or income supports worker. We understand from the recent auditor general report that the offices are overwhelmed. Some people have been told by their workers they can only email once a week, leave one message and may not get a call back until 4 days later. One person reported it has been over three weeks and the date payment change is still not solved. 

Calling your AISH or Income Supports Worker 

We hope people as they call their AISH or Income Supports worker have a good experience. We know this problem was not created by the Income Supports Workers or the AISH specialists. It was a decision made without asking Albertan families first. Thankfully, some people have also reported that their experiences calling for help has been very positive and consider themselves lucky...

"I am happy to report I have a good AISH worker, he actually calls me back the same day, he is polite and courteous and sometimes when I call, they pick up the phone."

"I have a nice worker too."

We ask the Provincial Government to reverse the date before it is too late. 

Tip Sheets
We made tip sheets to
help people, and ask MLAs to save the date

If you would like to check out our tip sheets:

If you need help and need to know where to go, please call 311 and ask how to find to a social worker or a Community Hub near you
TTY Services 403.268.4TTY (4889)
311 operator with the City of Calgary




1 comment:

  1. The potential change is not just financial. Both my sons have been experiencing increased stress levels due to anxiety over what 'could happen'. They are more relaxed when they know what to expect when. Sudden change adds to anxiety. This impacts ability to sleep and thus quality of life. AISH is "Assured Income". It is interesting that the definition of "handicap" is that it comes from outside the individual: e.g. steps as only access to a building is a handicapping condition for an individual with a mobility problem. Therefore, the policy becomes a "handicapping condition" itself. My son has identified this as being a human rights issue in terms of being respected and valued as a person. Not being able to purchase a bus pass until AISH is received is a pervasive problem as it affects the individual in many ways, including being able to get to an office that can sell low income passes. I agree with the 'sitting ducks" which also carries potential for being easier targets in the future. Pat Corbett

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