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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta The Letttbttdge Herald Fourth section Lethbridge, Alberta, Saturday, December 21, 1974 Pages 33-40 fYlfPS Local women describe struggle to make ends meet to be upgraded I Welfare allowance leaves no extras for Christmas I effective Feb. 1 Social allowance rates in Alberta are definitely ex- pected to be upgraded in the new year, effective Feb. 1. Bob Rechner, department of health and social development regional administrator for Lethbridge, says Edmonton officials notified regional offices this week that rates will be increased Feb. 1, although no information is yet available on what new social S allowance schedules will be. S The department's public assistance branch last g increased "welfare" rates Feb. when inflation g was far less severe than it is today. Mr. Rechner says it "would not be unreasonable to expect" any increases in social allowance schedules K would use the current rate of inflation (12 per cent) as g a "guideline." Meanwhile, Social assistance recipients g may draw small comfort from the expected increase g in allowance schedules. 5 Mr. Rechner says his office has received very few ft individual complaints from clients having difficulty getting by on their allowance. He admits there is little H social workers can do at the regional level to change K the social allowance rates, which are set by the Js minister of health and social development through an E order in council and must be adhered to until of- S ficially changed 51 ''The rates are a concern, says Mr. g Rechner "I'd be talking nonsense if I said everyone g was getting by with no difficulty." Mr Rechner said that in the past, rates have been a upgraded on an annual basis. The department has been R "examining" the possibility of re assessing the g schedules every six months, but so far has reached no official conclusion on the feasibility of such an g approach. "The Christmas season only enhances the problems fi of a tight added Mr. Rechner. "The only ad- g ditional help we can offer at the regional level is that of encouraging clients to organize and as a group make 5 their concerns known to the minister." He said the 1974 increases in the social allowance R schedule "represented a real improvement in the food S schedule over previous years" and put the allowances g above the consumer price index of that time, although g whether that level was sufficient or not might be S questioned by some, he added, w In addition to allowances for food, shelter, clothing H and incidentals, social assistance clients are allowed fi to earn a certain amount of money while on welfare. A 5f person with dependents may earn up to from g monthly part time work, while single adults are K? allowed to earn a month. Any income over these K sums must be repaid to the department if the client is fi on full scale assistance. R There is also a scale of allowable earnings, made available on a discretionary basis (depending upon a jf social workers' assessment) for clients progressing w from full assistance to a full time job. By LYNNE VAN LUVEN Herald FamUy Editor Christmas is not an occa- sion of festivity and abun- dance for those living on welfare. Two Lethbridge women recently described their struggle to make ends meet on their social assistance liv- ing allowance. Both emphasized that the rates have not kept up with inflation and said raising a family on assistance is a constant battle of the budget, leaving no ex- tras for Christmas treats. "Welfare is better than starving, but it's almost next to says one woman, the mother of a four year old son. She recieves a month from the department of health and social development, of which goes for rent; the remainder for food, clothing and household incidentals for herself and her son. "It leaves us just a little over a month to live she says. The woman, who was insistent her identity not be revealed, receives no sup- port money for her son from her ex husband. "It gets harder and harder to get she says. "My son drinks two quarts of milk every second day. I like him to have his full nourishment, and I'll do without myself, rather than skimp on his food." She says of her allowance is allocated to clothing. "What can you buy for "I'd like to see the people behind the social workers, the people who set the allowance rates, live on what we she comments bitterly. "Those government people should take two months out of the year to live on what we live on. "Meat is a luxury as far as we're concerned. Even ham- burger at 89 cents a pound is expensive, but it's cheaper than everything else. We seldom buy fresh fruits or -The Herald Family vegetables, although I like my son to have a salad regularly because that's she adds. She says "one kid is like another kid" "and it's not fair that the standards of living for welfare and non welfare children are so different. She hopes that in a year and a half she'll be able to "say good- bye" to life on assistance: once her son's in school and she doesn't require a babysitter, she hopes to go back to work. "I'm not any further ahead by working, but I want to keep myself in the labour market and need some time away from the says the second social assistance recipient, the mother of four children aged 11, 10, 6 and 3 years She received in her last assistance cheque. She works part time and must pay a month, or a day, for day care facilities. In addition, since she works for an office overload firm, her part time jobs take her to all areas of the city and she must maintain a car to get to and from -work and the child care centre. "I'm allowed to earn a month clear, anything above that, I have to repay the she explains. Welfare benefits calculated annually She says that unexpected ex- pense, like ?22 repair bills on her care which are not usually met by the department, mean it often costs her money to work. She fumes because her social worker said the depart- ment would pay her car costs if she worked full time. "But that's a cop out, because if I worked full time, I wouldn't be on she points out. "The two oldest kids eat as much as I she says. "We have a lot of hamburger and macaroni; even that's not cheap any more, but it is cheaper than a lot of other things Her family too, can seldom afford fresh fruits and vegetables. She is divorced from her husband, who pays m child support to the depart- ment of health and social development. Indirectly, says the woman, if this is applied to her monthly cheque, it means she's only being "given" by the department "If my husband hadn't given me some money for gifts, there'd have been no Christmas presents for the kids this she adds "There just isn't enough money left over for anything extra." Buying clothes for growing children is another hardship. she says She regards herself as fortunate in that friends and relatives have given her children some clothing and one outfit can be handed down to other younger siblings "I really think the> (the department) should have some sort of incentive for peo- ple like me who work.' she suggests "I started working nine months ago. and it d be a lot simpler, and I'd be just as far ahead, if I just stajed home with the kids YAMAHA ORGANS COLLEGE MALL Social assistance benefits are calculated from a set scale of allowable rates, bas- ed on the number of children and adults in a family unit and the ages of the children. Schedules are drawn up from the following com- ponents: the monthly food allowance for one adult person is the clothing allowance is the personal allowance if per adult per month. There is also a household allowance of per month for a single person, per month for a family unit. The monthly allowance for a child aged infancy to six years is: for food, for clothing, for a child 7 to 11 years, for food, for clothing; for a child 12 to 15, for food, for clothing and for a child 16 and 17, food and clothing Food allowances are ad- justed to reflect increases of 20, 10 and 5 per cent for rae, two and three person units of assistance respectively. Benefits are available on a long or short term basis. Short term assistance includes only food and per- sonal allowances; long term assistance gives additional benefits of clothing, household and personal allowances. Additional adjustments in special allowances are also made for families of six or more children Extra monthly allowances for special diets may be provided on the recommendation of a physician, to allow for problems such as ulcer or diabetic diets or special diets for the last three months of a pregnancy. The additional allowance for an ulcer diet is for a gluten free diet, or for the latter months of pregnancy, Based on the allowance schedule, a single parent family with three children, two aged under six years and one in the 12 to 15 year range, would be allocated on long term assistance for food, clothing, personal and household allowances; for the same family, would be available on short term assistance. In addition to food, household and clothing costs covered by the allowance schedule, housing costs for social assistance clients are also met (within reason) by the public assistance branch of the department of health and social development. Rent on a family's current domicile will be paid by the department, or house payments of a reasonable amount will be covered by social assistance. In most cases, social workers find it is more beneficial to maintain the family in their own property, rather'than move them to rented dwellings And with the housing shortage, it is often cheaper to meet a house payment, than pay in rent. GREETINGS AND BEST from the staff at B J HAIRSTYLING SALON LTD. June Skriber Ivy Fox Karen Kostka Valerie Eli Peggy Gilmour May everyone enjoy a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year -----SPECIAL ON PERMS----- STARTING JANUARY 2nd, 1975 506-4th Avenue South Lethbridge Phone 328-3650 This cheque b Canchek. CANCHEK ID 012345 JOHN DOE Anywhere, Saskatchewan PAY TO THE ORDER OF DATE ,a 001 CANCHK INfOHMATWll MBit BANK BRANCH Anywhere, Saskatchewan MM C ooo It accounts for your money and your time. Ask your Toronto-Dominion Manager about the TD Canchek system He'll show you how Canchek can work effectively to provide accounting control for your farm operation. The Canchek system includes special coded cheques, a detailed instruction manual, item code card and an attractive vinyl cheque wallet. It can all be yours for a small monthly charge on your account. And you can write as many cheques on your Canchek account as you want, free of extra charge. You also get free use of a safety deposit box. How does Canchek work? Canchek automatically provides you with a monthly cash flow statement of your farm business. It gives you a monthly statement of your current position detailing income and expenses for each aspect of your operations. In the last four months of your accounting year, Canchek provides you with a tax statement showing your taxable income so you can buy or sell to adjust your tax position. Canchek is just another of the many farm banking services of the TD Farm-Pac program offered by your local Toronto-Dominion Bank. Drop in and discuss TD Farm-Pac and Canchek with your Toronto-Dominion Bank Manager. He can explain in detail how Canchek can work for you. WHY SHOULD YOU PURCHASE A SEMI-DETACHED HOME? Here are some very good reasons Lower cost to purchaser Lower down payments and lower monthly payments Excellent sound protection by use of insulated double centre walls Maintenance free exterior finish One year warranty Excellent residential west side locations Full basements with roughed in plumbing Smaller lot to maintain Lower taxes SHOW HOME OPEN SUNDAYS 2-5 p.m. No. 17 and 21 Queen's Road, West Side For more information and details call NU- Bob Sapsford 328-8641 MODE REALTY Phone 328-8011 1277-3rd Ave. S. Gerry Nagel 327-0287 ;