Appeal ongoing for N.S. woman paying for husband's care
'We're just robbing Peter to pay Paul' says opposition
The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services says the case of a Kentville woman — who fears her family will lose their home because the province needs all of his income to pay for institutionalized care — may get another look.
Cathy Weir's 68-year-old husband, Brian Weir, suddenly developed severe dementia and became a threat to others. He could not remain at their home so she looked into institutionalized care at the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville.
The provincial Department of Community Services demanded 100 per cent of Brian Weir's income to pay for his care. That income — from the Old Age Security Program and the Canada Pension Plan — had been used to pay the family's mortgage and insurance.
Weir appealed the government's decision once, but the appeal was rejected.
On Friday, the Department of Community Services said Weir has the right to a second appeal and that process is ongoing. No final decision has been made on her case, they said.
"When an individual is in the care of the Department of Community Services, the factors that are considered are the cost of care and the income, if any, of the individual who requires care," Elizabeth MacDonald, a spokeswoman for the department, wrote in an email.
"100 per cent of the pension income of the individual who requires care is eligible for consideration."
Cathy Weir and her 13-year-old son, Jeffrey, live in a modest house in Kentville that the family bought nine years ago. They own a 12-year-old car and the money from her job as a store clerk covers the family's other bills.
"I think what the government should be doing is applying policies with a measure of compassion and common sense," said Kelly Regan, the Liberal Community Services critic.
"If we do claw back this pension, then that poor woman is going to end up on social assistance and that's not common sense because we're just robbing Peter to pay Paul."
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie also weighed in.
"No family should be left destitute because of a misguided policy from its own government. Families do not fit into cookie-cutter policies," he said in a statement.
"The NDP should do the right thing for this family, by leaving them with a fair income."