No one asks for wellness for fun. Job loss, domestic violence, illness, accident, etc. they are examples of what drives people to wellness.
Recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had no choice but to turn to government programs to support themselves. Let’s be clear, providing for your needs is an understatement!
The basic welfare benefit is $726 per month. And it is still necessary for one to have access to it! Because, after the PCU and the PCRE, two programs that have alleviated part of the problem of pandemic unemployment, it is social assistance that awaits the unemployed.
Many of these people hit a wall when they realized that to access the meager benefits they had to sell their assets and liquidate their last savings.
For some, the consequences of the pandemic will be long-lasting.
In 2022, if a person has more than $887 (bank accounts, cash, etc.), they are not eligible for welfare.
Better luck when you’re poorer! Assets are also counted: if you have no ministry-recognized work limitations and you own a home, the total net worth of the home cannot exceed $171,201, failing which your yield will be cut.
The same goes for cars that must not be worth more than $10,000.
Obviously, behind these figures human tragedies are hidden.
As organizations that help people see through the administrative maze of welfare, we witness shocking situations every day.
A woman who had scraped her last pennies out of unemployment to repair her car, which she will need to get back to work, must burn through her meager savings before she can apply for welfare.
A man who exhausted his sick pay had saved up to make major repairs to his home. He was denied welfare and will have to live on his savings until he regains his health or becomes poor enough to reapply for welfare. Not to mention all those people who just don’t take the steps, because they know the game isn’t worth it.
We think of this mother who lives with domestic violence, who if she left would have nothing to feed her family, and who is forced to stay with her violent husband. Caught between the violence of a spouse and the prospect of deprivation for her children, she decides to take advantage of it.
A less restrictive admission to social assistance would allow greater resilience for people who are experiencing difficulties.
Since these criteria have never been adjusted for the rising cost of living, here we are: the consequences of this political choice are paid for in lives; in broken lives and lost lives.
The government must invest in social assistance. The State has a responsibility towards its citizens, it is the very principle of dignity in a democratic society.
The member groups of the Common Front of Social Assistance Persons of Quebec