British Columbia

Late welfare cheques causing hardship in Victoria - again

Some people in Victoria risk falling behind on their bills because of late social assistance cheques. And it's not the first time the cheques have not been in the mail.

'We count on this to survive,' says recipient

Lori Schafer, left, and Randy Skevington, are falling behind on their bills because they are waiting for their social assistance cheques, which are late. (Megan Thomas)

Some people in Victoria risk falling behind on their bills because of late social assistance cheques.

And it's not the first time these cheques have not been in the mail.

Randy Skevington and and Lori Shafer, who both have medical issues, share an apartment so they can afford their rent. They're both on social assistance.

Their cheques were supposed to arrive Wednesday. But Skevington says they are still waiting.

It's the second month in a row their payments have been late.

"It seems like you can't get a straight answer out of anybody," Skevington said.

"It gets so frustrating."

The Ministry of Social Development said a batch of 100 cheques in Victoria were not delivered by Canada Post this week, and instead were returned to the ministry.

Cheques to be delivered Friday

In a statement, a ministry spokesperson said the cheques will be delivered Friday, adding that everyone affected has been contacted.

But Shafer has yet to received a call, and wonders if there's a bigger problem with the system.

"We count on this to survive," she said. "My disability is $647 a month and it is hard, especially with the rent being so high."

Shafer said the possibility of a postal strike has added more stress to the situation.

Canada Post did not respond to a request for comment.

The ministry says that in the event of a Canada Post labour disruption, people can pick up their assistance cheques at their local ministry office.

It's also encouraging people to sign up for direct deposit.

With files from Megan Thomas