Protests shine a light on income assistance clawback issues

On behalf of Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators posted in Child Support on Monday, May 19, 2014.

A group in British Columbia is attempting to combat a policy that takes back income assistance from some mothers. In New Westminster, they marched in protest against these policies, which they claim are damaging children’s health. Mother’s Day was the day when Acorn Canada chose to lead the protest march involving dozens and a Poverty Potluck meal in order to combat crown clawbacks from income assistance programs.

The clawbacks subtract from income or disability payments when the receiver also receives income from another source. For instance, one mother reportedly receives $300 in child support, which is then deducted from her $1,200 monthly income assistance. This, they argue, is preventing single mothers from providing proper nutrition for their children. Some, reports indicate, use the monthly Poverty Potluck meals as a necessary part of their children’s nutrition. The stated purpose of the meals, however, is to shed light on the unhealthy food that children are forced to eat due to the clawbacks.

One crown representative said that, while he sympathizes with the difficulty felt by the single mothers, the assistance programs are meant to be a last resort. This means that single mothers are expected to seek income from any other source to offset government assistance. However, a representative from Acorn stressed that those who grow up without proper nutrition are more likely to develop various physical and emotional ailments. These include diabetes, food allergies and developmental issues.

While issues remain regarding income assistance, many single mothers are relying on child support payments to take care of everyday expenses for their children. A family law lawyer could help when an ex-spouse responsible for child support has delinquent payments or wishes to seek a child support modification.

Source: Global News, “Low-income activists protest government clawbacks to child support in B.C.“, Darlene Heidemann, May 11, 2014

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