Income Outcome By Miranda Currie
January 2012 NWT MLA Bob Bromley read this poem in the Legegislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
MR. BROMLEY in NWT’s Hansard of March 12, 2013
“…I’d like to turn to the main focus of my comments today, and I’d like to begin by acknowledging again, Ms. Miranda Currie, who’s in the gallery today. Thanks for coming out, Miranda. I’d like to read a poem that Ms. Currie has written to describe her experiences in seeking disability income support, and it’s obviously germane because of the Auditor General’s focus, and I know the Minister is focusing on this situation right now as well. Once again, thanks to Miranda for graciously sharing her personal story through the art of this poetry.
But, first, a little bit of background. Ms. Currie suffered a very serious head injury in an accident in November 2011. She later suffered multiple injuries again, head injuries, as a result of the ill effects of her original injury. To this day, she is continuing to strive to regain her health. She’s a very spunky person and I know she will achieve that. However, she has been unable to carry on her daily life in a normal way. She has been in and out of hospitals and has received extensive neurological treatment since then, and she does suffer impairment of her speech and many motor skills. Miranda was self- employed before the accident, and she must now rely on public income support to meet her basic subsistence needs. She lives very modestly. Her ordeal with income security has hardly been a positive contribution in her effort to regain her health, and that’s the topic today.
Just a few of the difficulties that she has experienced in trying to access income assistance include:
• A case worker refusal to provide accommodation assistance based on the subjective judgement that she lives in substandard housing.
• Receipts to document her rental, electrical and fuel costs were obtained with great physical difficulties and expense and visiting offices to obtain stamped and certified copies.
• Income assistance staff say they have lost the receipts she has supplied to their offices. This has happened four times. Imagine if you were saddled with this situation.
• Despite severe mobility problems and risk of re-injury, she has repeatedly been told she must come to the income assistance office for interviews, which could easily be conducted over the phone.
• She has been refused reimbursement of costs for loans received from friends in the interim to pay her fuel, power and living costs, and given the explanation that those are considered gifts. Nice of them to make that decision on behalf of her friends.
• Treatment that lacks compassion and sensitivity to the realities of her situation, again, not a single instance, such as a caseworker hanging up on her after saying I’ll see you tomorrow when Ms. Currie has said she is physically unable to attend appointments due to the effects of her injuries.
• And, finally, a late payment of support have at times left her huddled in her bed to stay warm, unable to pay oil bills and living in a home well below zero. We know what this winter has been like.
That’s enough background. Her words really do speak for themselves, and once again, I want to express my appreciation to Miranda Currie for her willingness to share this very personal story…” From -
Poverty and social services in the NWT on the eve of devolution
By George Lessard| March 8, 2013