Friday, 25 October 2013

A rant about our system

My Canadian Disability has finally been processed and I am back on the gravy train! The gravy train of 580$/month (make it rain!!) Seriously government? Now I know it is considered 'tacky' by some to talk about money but I need to rant for a minute.

Let's consider for a minute a rough estimate for my monthly living expenses. Rent: 1700$, groceries: 200$, internet/phone: 80$, parking: 150$, bus pass: 128$. Total: 2200$. Yes I could cut out parking if I got rid of the car and I could not have the Internet or not eat food but even without those, the difference between how much it cost to live versus what the government expects is ridiculously different.

Not even to mention that I went off work in February, got 16 weeks EI, and then had another 5 months before this got processed. Granted two of those months were waiting for my doctor to fill out her part of the  form but even without that, the system still expects people to wait at least 3 months before anything is processed. I am fortunate to have a savings account that could carry me over those months but what about everyone who goes off work unexpectedly, how are they suppose to survive without amassing giant credit card debits? No wonder the proportion of people with disabilities who are in poverty or homeless is so high (In the US it is 42% of the homeless population vs 17% of the general population, I would assume Canada would be quite similar. ). What else are they expected to do in our crazy system?

As Canadians, we claim we have a great safety net for people who need help. We pride ourselves on the fact that everyone gets health care and social support if needed. And then we, mostly our politicians, turn around and blame those who need help for taking advantage of the system or not working hard enough to get themselves out of poverty. As if having a disability is a personal desire and we would rather be disabled than be able to work. Trust me, I would do anything to be working again. It has nothing to do with wanting it enough.

So can we stop blaming people for not being able to get themselves out of their situation? Yes there are jobs that some people with disabilities would be able to do that would help prevent them from relying on the government. However,  how are people suppose to return to school for an education upgrade to get those jobs when when the support system barely gives people enough to live month to month?  

Not to say that I'm not thankful for the support that the government does give me, I'm sure it is better than a lot of countries and at least NS reimburses most of the rent and will pay for my post-transplant drugs (seriously NB, pull yourself together and start providing funding for people). But to say that it is better than some countries therefore we should stop trying to improve on it, isn't good enough.

I guess the point of my rant is to say that I am realizing more and more that we have system that makes it easy for people (especially those with a disability) to fall into poverty and very hard for people to get themselves out.  And I don't have any answers on how to make it better, I'm sure I barely know half of the problems. However, before this, I was incredibly unaware how much the social support system sucks. I had always assumed that people at least got enough money to cover most of their basic living expenses. So...hurray for real world education about issues......?!


~G said...

Well said...! to bad the ones who make the decisions have never had to use their 'system'.. :P

Helen said...

9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact
Did you see this post in Upworthy?
Good ranting, thought I'd add fuel to the fire.

Alley said...

I did see that post, it was quite good and alarming at the same time.