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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 - http://www.assembly.gov.nt.ca/_live/documents/content/hn130312.pdf
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And I say: "I. I am vulnerable and you have the power to help me. Bank accounts. I brought my papers to the "help" desk. age? Fill it out.. it must be valid. Crying won't get you anywhere with me.... "I used to be so independent. and tried to be thankful? Embarrassed. I tried to make sense of the 22 pages of forms. a pane that assumed you needed protection from citizens of a lower class." The way I have been taught to do when speaking with someone in authority Because if they say it.. I felt like I was handing in a poorly written test. I just need a little more patience. date. NOT VALID! NOT RIGHT! I don't deserve to be treated like this.. I am sitting at your desk... "Don't you start to cry. and I wonder why.. Support. wounded. because everything moves just a little more slow And sometimes I'd like to tell you how you could help." Please hear my wavering voice. but this doesn't occur to me until two o'clock at night because I am so angry I can't sleep! You had the power to help me. Income.I.. I am overwhelmed by the situation. Page 2 of 4 . You spoke to me through a hole in the plexi-glass.I'm sorry... investments. really.. and asking for help. you notice and say. March 2012 Still no supportive income. I felt like an animal. And you berate me." This voice reminds me of Grade 3 and scratchy chalkboards and teachers angry with me But I am 32..Income Outcome by Miranda Currie Income Outcome By Miranda Currie January 2012 I came to the ofﬁce to apply for. probably about the same age as you.. I am trying my best. medical assessments I wondered how I could be in this situation.. give or take a year.. it is so hard for me to ask for help to accomplish even the simplest task. with a tear in my eye You look up from that folder of papers.. or a few. when I had my health... next page. Name.. I am tearing up in utter frustration I came asking you for help with this crappy hand I've been dealt. but I don't even know...right? NO..
You didn't submit it all. Walks in. failure' echoing inside me.. and says. "I am sorry we have to meet this way. I amble out of there with my cane beside me with the words 'failure. walks away. I remember stamping it." From the ofﬁce space behind. you'll need to book an appointment later this week. And you dismiss me. like she couldn't give a shit....really. "There is NO DIGNITY IN THIS!" Barely able to open the door." I cry Then I slam my hand on the "help" desk and yell. I'm feeling a little frustrated that my paperwork has been lost. to photocopy. that my monthly paperwork has been "lost." "Well. I have learned. and putting it in her box. sorry she is not available today. I'm feeling really frustrated at having to re-submit my papers for this month and was hoping to speak with you about heating fuel for my house. I am trying my best.. So I go to my folder.. Through that plexi-glass hole I say." She looks at me." In that time.everything Bank statements.. because this is the FOURTH time." This blows my mind. my social worker and I brought it in last week." She turns around. "Hi.." "Oh yes. and I look around In disbelief. "You are missing paperwork..... Lynn. power and fuel bills. I am tearing up in utter frustration I came asking you for help with this crappy hand I've been dealt. I've kept track of every dollar I've spent. Did that seriously just happen? "I am doing my part. A case worker says. so I can get this sorted out I don't want the payment to arrive in my bank account late They make it seem like my fault.. that's the part I really hate. receipts for rent.. I pay for a taxi. The receptionist looks down. I am overwhelmed by the situation. Page 3 of 4 . is Lynn available?" I calmly say "No. I am exercising my personal responsibility. and take the September pages out. "I don't have time for you. I have been dismissed. failure.Income Outcome by Miranda Currie October 2012 I get a phone call. but I am vulnerable and you have the power to help me.
It has been 3 days since that fuel ran out It has been 2 days of sub-zero temperatures in the house. My eyes are tear frosted I am totally exhausted from ﬁghting for basic needs.. Maybe you are tired of people who take too much.it's cruel. dimmed by the system. under the weight of multiple blankets trying to stay warm. and give too little even though you entered this profession to help people. No heat. your passion. I know it must be difﬁcult not to get jaded. no fuel.Income Outcome by Miranda Currie February 2013 I am lying in my bed. It is minute 17 degrees Celsius in the house.com/doc/130054107/Income-Outcome-By-Miranda-Currie Page 4 of 4 . *** Thank you Miranda for putting a human face on this problem. no rent -. and faded But YOU CAN effect the change that the world needs to see YOU DO have the power to be the one person who treats a vulnerable person kindly. You have the power to help me. I have left numerous messages explaining the situation. It has been 15 days since I used my rent money to pay for fuel. migraine in my head.. My social worker has experienced the same frustrations No one answers or returns my calls It is like I don't exist at all. It has been 16 days since I ﬁrst called income support to remind them I need fuel. But maybe you're tired too.scribd. exhausted from dealing with people who never say 'thank you' who shove their entitlement under that glass when you really want to tell them to shove it up their ass. I am vulnerable and you have the power to help me. Available online at: http://www. Income Outcome: A poem about income assistance in the NWT By Miranda Currie January 2012 NWT MLA Bob Bromley read this poem in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.
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