North

N.W.T. income support home visits available by request only

A Yellowknife woman is still looking for the help she and other people with disabilities were promised two years ago by the N.W.T. minister responsible for income assistance.

Miranda Currie says visits would 'solve a lot of problems' for seniors and people with disabilities

Miranda Currie, who has a brain injury, says an income support worker doing home visits 'would solve a lot of problems and misunderstandings that happen within the office.' (CBC)

A Yellowknife woman is still looking for the help she and other people with disabilities were promised two years ago by the N.W.T. minister responsible for income assistance.

Miranda Currie, who has a brain injury, quit income security last year because she says it wasn't worth the hassle.

"Going through the whole process of income support would be more stressful than winter camping," she said.

Currie says living with a disability and having to go to the social assistance office in person every time her heating bill was higher or if she made a little money was prohibitive.

However, in January, she couldn't afford heating fuel. Her home got cold and she got sick.

In 2013, the minister responsible for income assistance said he supported adding an outreach worker specifically for seniors and people with disabilities so they wouldn't have to go to the office all the time.

"I support an individual working within our shop to work closely with them because we know their condition and we shouldn't be asking them to — whether it be walking in minus 40 or if they can't walk — then we shouldn't be expecting them to walk," said Jackson Lafferty in March 2013.

Jacqueline McKinnon, a spokesperson for the department of Education, Culture and Employment, says a support advisor was hired. So far, she says that person hasn't received any requests from seniors or people with disabilities for house visits.

Currie says she was never made aware that the service was available, even after making a call to the office last month. 

"I think that there still needs to be accountability there," Currie says. "To come to your house would solve a lot of problems and misunderstandings that happen within the office."

Seniors and clients with disabilities are not required to visit the office each month.

Currie says she had to go into the office to report fluctuations in bills and income.

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