Update on issues with AISH getting furnace
I had a post before about a broken furnace.
I am on disability. It is a physical handicap after an injury, I do work a few hours but I am almost 90% unable to move so often it is anything I can find from home. I also had to give up my driver’s license.
I have 2 kids, young enough to be in school – luckily around the corner.
I was told to submit a title, estimate (or 2) to AISH and get my furnace replaced.
I was declined. Letter said it was not considered a need. Told to apply to equity loans or banks. I did submit proof that I did apply, I cannot get a larger mortgage or any loan because AISH is not considered income, I got denied from equity loans as not having enough equity and they said I don’t have enough income to make payments.
I have tried every avenue possible. Every link you guys mentioned. Some who said “message me” never replied or offered free labour which is so appreciated but I still could not afford the furnace upfront.
Finally I went through MLA. Mine refused to help, I went to 3 different ones and even though I was not in their constituency, the 3rd one had one of the volunteers help me.
I have to say that I am greatful for those who offered kind words or ideas. I can’t say thank you enough on that.
Even some suggestion to go to Alberta Works – by the way you can’t if you are already on AISH. Just for those wondering.
Eventually the MLA’s volunteer pushed enough to get me an AISH supervisor. I was excited that maybe I will get someone to understand that this is a need. But I was left in tears. This woman C. Yelled at me. I was sick so I apologized if I speak slowly. Yet when I took a pause (less than 3 seconds) she would scream that she is working and doesn’t have all day to listen to my silence. Once she yelled that I was coughing, and said to do it “on another time” because I am disrespecting her time.
She grilled me why I have 2 children if I have an injury. I said I had kids when I had great income after university graduation. My injury is new and I could not forsee it coming. So she suggested I drop off my kids with Social services where a parent who can plan better can have them.
Plan what? Injury? She said yes. And budgetting. I explained I get $1388 now. That is monthly amount for myself and the kids. I budget well on that.
She said it should be $1588 plus $100 per child. I said yes but I am not getting that. So she checked and said there was a computer error. Why didn’t I report that? I said I have called and written about it for 3 years. Nobody called me back. She said that’s not possible so I faxed over my written letters (where I mentioned I am not getting full amount and no call is returned). I had 20 letters like that. She said she doesn’t know why nobody answered. So I asked if it will get fixed now- she said it was not her job, she is only looking at furnace issue so keep calling till they fix amount.
Next she tore into me that I can’t budget. Old home appliances fail and I should sell it and try renting. I said I am trying but my mortgage is $800 which is cheaper than rent anywhere I look. Plus $200 for utilities, then food and school fees and such. I budget well.
So she said where does the rest of your money go? I said I pay $500 in prescriptions. Why? Because the worker never activated my medical coverage. Which is in those calls and letters I wrote. So she says people like me are what’s wrong with society, just sitting on pain medication instead of being productive. No wonder I am single.
I said I actually wasn’t single. My husband is hospitalized after a series of strokes and they don’t want to send him home until they find out why. Then she says Great, one more person who is not working.
Seriously? I wanted to yell at her to say who gives you the right to make such judgements. Before I got a chance, she said that all AISH recipients should be able to have a large size apartment, have enough for medical needs, groceries and at least $300 or more per month set aside for needs that are not covered.
In the end, she said I am living above my needs and they won’t cover my furnace but doing it as a government loan. In desperation I agreed as we have no heat for 3 months now. I got paperwork that covers payment of furnace plus 12% interest. So I will have $168 deducted monthly.
I said that I still can’t get the right amount…I am only getting $1388, with no medical coverage. After mortgage and utilities, I am left with less than $300 . Now I will have this deduction and have less than $150 for groceries, medication, bus pass.
It would help if my amount was corrected. She screamed at how “greedy invalids” and said I never asked to correct my amount. I said I showed you proof of my papers sent in. She said if the workers said they didn’t see them then she believes them and I am a liar. Why? Because “I trust these hardworking people more than someone who lies and sits as a burden on our society”. So proof means nothing. Then she even said my phone is a luxury, I should cut down. I said if I cancel my landline, how would you call me? (My computer is old I bought at garage sale) . She said if there is no phone, then I wouldn’t be able to call and waste the time of her workers.
This call was over an hour long. I am normally not someone who would let another person call me names or put me down. But I was desperate for any way to help my furnace which is why I didn’t explode on her.
And this is a higher up person?
She is seriously thinking that $1388 is enough for an adult and 2 kids to live comfortably and save money for appliances? Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this way of talking to me really hurt.
After crying when call ended, I am at least getting my furnace next week. I want to report this but how? There is no higher to go. The MLA said that’s all they can do. I even called Ombudsman but they don’t get involved in such issues.
So much insults just to give me a high interest loan. I am so mad at all the things that were said at me. I am handicapped. I could not foresee it. I’ve been labelled as burden to society, a liar, bad at parenting, bad at budgetting…and now I am $168 less. Which means cutting down even more, I don’t know from what. I am being normal for my kids but now they are in bed and I can’t stop crying because I feel so alone and like nothing can get better. I just never felt less hope about life.