Power of good communication

Authority Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Sylvia, a single parent of three young children, was unable to work and relied on disability assistance. After visiting her bank to withdraw money for rent, Sylvia was robbed on the bus. With rent due, Sylvia went to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to request that her disability assistance either be re-issued, or that she be provided with a crisis supplement. The ministry denied her request and did not explain why. Fearing eviction, Sylvia turned to the Office of the Ombudsperson for help. Noting that Sylvia was in crisis, we investigated immediately and contacted a ministry supervisor. The supervisor reviewed the notes on Sylvia’s file but found nothing about Sylvia’s predicament and told us they were not aware that her money was stolen. Noting the apparent gap in communication, the ministry agreed to speak with Sylvia directly to try to address her needs. It then promptly issued Sylvia crisis supplement funds. Through their conversation with Sylvia, the ministry also learned something surprising: this was not the first time Sylvia had been robbed. To help address Sylvia’s fear of being mugged – and her greater fear of angering her landlord with late payment – the ministry began paying Sylvia’s landlord directly, ensuring that her rent would be paid safely and on time.

Category Income and Benefits
Type Case Summary