Wednesday January 12, 2022 | NATIONAL [Updated 3:28 pm]
LETTERS posted by Island Social Trends
The winter break and holiday season has passed, and many seniors on Vancouver Island and across Canada are now into their seventh month of doing without the Guaranteed Income Supplement that they were previously receiving.
The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) was lost by as many as 88,000 low-income seniors starting July 2021 for having taken federal CERB/CRB emergency pandemic benefits as personal income in 2020.
Obviously it was another rough start to the month if this demographic of seniors are being forced to cope with an income drop that they didn’t expect (though the federal government knew it was coming and did not act on any proactive change, other than to respond to pressure from opposition parties in the House of Commons in recent months).
Seniors have been telling their Members of Parliament for months about the challenges now being faced, including not being able to afford rent (and borrowing from friends, family or on credit card to make it happen), cutting back on groceries, transportation and medications.
Both the NDP and Bloc Quebecois spoke up in the House of Commons about reinstating the GIS in full. The Seniors Minister has been mandated to make sure the funds are paid back, and money is in the federal fiscal update for that. But the process is unclear — it appears now seniors may have to re-prove their loss of income in 2020 using a long form and waiting even longer.
Tracking since summer 2021:
Island Social Trends continues to track this issue. We’ve been receiving letters about the GIS clawback since August of last year (see archive of letters and article below this article).
LETTER: When will the money come?
Another letter rolled in today, from a two more letters from seniors who are impacted by the federal clawback of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS):
“Hello, I am a low income senior who has been affected by the GIS clawback due to taking the CERB. I work self-employed, part-time, because I can’t afford to retire, was unable to work during the lockdown, and then with the clawback on top of it all I can barely make ends meet. I live with my wife in a family member’s basement for minimal rent in order to get by.
I haven’t even been able to visit a dentist in several years despite needing to badly, because I can’t afford it. I was eventually approved for the government’s senior dental program however they won’t allow dentists in general to service your needs. I called the clinic that I am supposed to go to locally and was told five months was the very soonest I could get in even with a toothache. This is not right.
I am 66, soon to become 67, and have worked all my life, never been a burden on society or the government and yet here I sit now, retired, still needing to work with barely enough to get by.
This is not right.
Do we have any idea when the reimbursement for those who had their GIS clawed back will take place and future payments adjusted?”
Desperate Senior, (name withheld by request) in Belleville, Ontario
Federal grind on low-income seniors & families continues in new year (January 3, 2022)
New Year’s Message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (December 31, 2021)
Huge letdown for low-income seniors as GIS clawback repayment promise drags on (December 16, 2021)
NDP: GIS clawback must end before Xmas (December 13, 2021)
NDP: GIS & CCB clawbacks could be repaid immediately in full (December 8, 2021)
LETTER: GIS clawback could lead to homelessness & worse (December 2, 2021)
===== ARCHIVE of GIS LETTERS & ARTICLES:
New Year’s weekend letters from seniors about GIS clawback (January 3, 2022)
Liberals again acknowledge GIS clawback issue as NDP keeps pushing (November 30, 2021)
NDP calls for emergency debate around low-income family & seniors clawbacks (November 24, 2021)
NDP rolls into 44th Parliament with priorities to help people (November 22, 2021)
Restoring GIS & Canada Child Benefit important for low-income islanders (November 18, 2021)
LETTER: Losing GIS means needing help to pay the rent (November 17, 2021)
44th parliament: NDP to take on housing, GIS & CERB amnesty within affordability, also climate crisis (November 9, 2021)
Seniors Minister weighs in on what NDP calls GIS clawback (November 8, 2021)
NDP requests immediate government action to reverse GIS clawback (November 3, 2021)
LETTER: senior faces potential eviction due to GIS clawback (Oct 27, 2021)
LETTER: GIS clawback continues after election (October 19, 2021)
LETTER: GIS clawback means food vs rent (September 19, 2021)
NDP candidate mojo: we fight for you (September 19, 2021)
LETTER: GIS clawback means no bus pass (September 13, 2021)
LETTER: Hurting seniors with GIS clawback (September 5, 2021)
LETTER: Retired & depending on GIS (August 19, 2021)
LETTER: Suddenly losing Guaranteed Income Supplement by receiving CERB (August 10, 2021)
LETTER: Seniors suddenly losing Guaranteed Income Supplement if they took CERB (August 7, 2021)
Seniors who took CERB now losing GIS supplement & other benefits (August 4, 2021)