Saturday, January 20, 2018

Clawbacks Explained

Seems a few people don't quite understand what a #clawback is, so here is a simplified explanation.

If you are on ANY form of supports, including #AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) and you turn 60 years of age, the Government of Alberta rules (I suspect which were implemented by the PC Party many years ago) require the individual to apply for "early CPP".

The Government of Canada allows people to file for a "reduced" CPP payment when folks turn 60 years of age, and the amount a person receives is reduced by a calculated pro-rated amount, based on what the person would normally qualify for at the age of 65. CPP is of course, based on the amounts that a person has contributed to the program over their lifetime in the work force. CPP is, your money that you worked for, and was deducted on each paycheck you received. The Federal Government classifies CPP payments as income which means that money is subject to income tax.

When Rachel Notley was campaigning to be Premier of Alberta, she stood in front of a packed crowd in a hotel banquet room, streamed live to tens of thousands of Albertans, she made a public statement that said that the clawing back of money from #seniors was "the wrong thing to do". Never before in my life, have I ever heard a more thunderous response from a cheering crowd of people. That single statement, cemented my decision to vote for the Alberta NDP folks. Complete support in every possible way.

It is also interesting to know what a person on "supports" can make, I think, $200 a month of extra income 'free of charge'. Anything in excess of that money, is deducted on a 2 for 1 basis. So that means that if a person made say, $300 a month extra, $200 would be 'free', and for every additional 2 dollars made, 1 dollar would be deducted (in this example, that would mean $50) from their support payment.

Also interesting to note, that while the Government of Canada classifies CPP as income, the Government of Alberta does not. In my case, my "early" CPP payment is a huge $456 a month and every penny of that is clawed back (deducted) dollar for dollar. According to the Premier, that is the wrong thing to do. And in my case, being forced to take CPP early, the amount of money I will be out when I turn 65 in just over a year, is approximately $2,000 per year LESS than if I had waited until I was 65.

Being on any form of supports is not a life of luxury by any stretch of the imagination. #AISH people get a maximum payment of $1,588 a month, which of course, is also subject to clawbacks. From what I recall, there was a bill passed last year that would create an advocate for #PWD (people with disabilities) #PDD (people with developmental disabilities) and it is also my understanding that nothing has been done on this at this point in time. The Alberta Government has also appointed an advocate for #Seniors, and it is my understanding that this person/department has literally no teeth to really do anything.

One of the latest subjects to have come up is the concept of a "Henson Trust"where people with disabilities are allowed to receive various monies when they get older. From what I can gather, the Alberta NDP want to force people to use those funds before they get any form of supports. This is of course, also the wrong thing to do. All of those funds can be easily used up before a person "retires" leaving literally nothing available for them to live on.

I would respectfully submit that CPP should be considered the same way. Even at a bare minimum, CPP should be handled in the same way as additional income is handled above. After all, the Government of Canada treats it as income.

The entire Alberta Government has turned a blind eye with respect to #seniors. Even though "its the wrong thing to do".

One final thing to consider. No matter what form of assistance a person may be on, when they turn 65, it's all over. Prior to that, most folks get 100% coverage for some things like prescription drugs, glasses, dental, etc. In Alberta, at 65, many people will 'qualify' for free premium coverage from Alberta Blue Cross (gotta love those folks). I understand that things like prescription drugs, are only covered to 70%. So for #seniors, most of whom are probably needing those drugs to live, will have to start paying for them out of pocket. I estimate that when I turn 65, my total "income" from all sources will be maybe 600-700 a month. Imagine the difference two thousand dollars a year less in CPP, will make.

The Premier is 100% responsible for this. And people wonder why I continue to suffer from depression and PTSD. For additional information on my person struggle with the Alberta Government please see this post.

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