Tuesday, July 22nd23.6°C
22712
21249

Feds demand senior repay 11-year-old GIS overpayment

Canada topics.

Moderators: oneh2obabe, Jo, ferri, Triple 6

Feds demand senior repay 11-year-old GIS overpayment

Postby oneh2obabe » Nov 2nd, 2012, 5:14 pm

Joanna Smith
Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA— Frank Weinstock has some choice words to describe what the federal government was trying to do to his mother-in-law.

“Inconceivable, inexcusable, inexplicable, shameless, unfair, unprincipled and unreasonable,” were what came to mind when Weinstock first saw the letter that arrived in the mail from Service Canada last week.

The letter was addressed to 89-year-old Irene Bleier and said the federal government had overpaid her Guaranteed Income Supplement by $1,212 and would be deducting $100 from her monthly payment beginning in November until the debt was paid.

That was not a big deal, said Weinstock, 62, who realizes that overpayment probably happens from time to time and the government has a right to recover that money.

The problem is that the period of overpayment was from July 2001 to December 2001 — over a decade ago.

The even bigger problem is that Bleier, who lives at the Baycrest long-term care facility in Toronto, already received a nearly identical letter from Service Canada in August 2002.

That letter said she had been overpaid $1,212 for her Guaranteed Income Supplement — the same amount mentioned in the most recent letter — and that her monthly payments would be deducted by 25 per cent ($34.95) until the government got its money back.

So, either the government neglected to deduct the money it said it would 10 years ago and wants to do it now, or the government did take money back 10 years ago and wants to do it again.

“Service Canada recognizes that this is a serious issue and is giving it the highest priority. Service Canada has contacted the family and is working to resolve the situation,” said an email from media relations at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Department spokeswoman Amélie Maisonneuve said the department is still looking into what happened.

After the Star began inquiring about the case with Maisonneuve, someone from Service Canada called Weinstock at home on Friday afternoon asking to speak to his wife, Mary Bleier, 58, a retired high school teacher.

Mary Bleier has power of attorney for her mother and had signed a waiver allowing the department to release details about the case to the Star so it could explain what happened.

Weinstock said the public servant on the other end of the line did not provide an explanation for what happened, did not apologize and said only that it was a Crown debt and must be paid.

Maisonneuve said she is looking into that telephone conversation as well.

Weinstock, a retired manager of policy and business planning at the City of Toronto, said returning the money will not break the bank, but he still thinks it is ridiculous.

“I’m sure it won’t have a significant impact. We can afford to pay the costs of staying (at Baycrest). This is really a principle thing more than anything else,” said Weinstock, who lives in Toronto.

Weinstock said he plans to appeal the decision but is concerned that he and his family no longer have the records to prove whether the money was already deducted.

He said he also wanted to shine a spotlight on it now in case it is happening to other seniors.

“If they’re going it to her, I’m sure they are doing it to others,” he said.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/poli ... ement-debt
Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.
User avatar
oneh2obabe
Moderator
 
Posts: 45282
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 620 posts
Joined: Nov 23rd, 2007, 9:19 am

Return to Canada

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests