When a house is a home but what about your RV?

Authority Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
Details

Celeste was receiving disability assistance from the ministry. She was excited when an opportunity came for her to move out of her recreational vehicle and into a nearby house that she could rent. However, after Celeste moved into the house, the ministry no longer considered her RV her residence, and instead considered it to be an asset that affected her eligibility for assistance. Celeste was worried that the value of the RV exceeded the amount ministry clients are allowed to have in assets and might affect her eligibility.

Celeste explained to the ministry that she was trying to sell the RV, but it was hard to sell in the middle of winter and she hadn’t had any success so far. The ministry told her that it needed to make sure that she was trying to sell the RV for a reasonable price and asked Celeste to bring in a fair market assessment of her RV from an RV dealership. Celeste explained that the nearest RV dealership was over two hours away and that she needed her assistance cheque to pay for gas for that trip. She also said her RV was buried in snow and she couldn’t get it out to take for an assessment. She had photos that she could use if she could get to the RV dealership but she still required her cheque to cover the costs for the trip. The ministry refused Celeste’s request and told her that it would withhold her disability assistance cheque until she brought in the assessment. Celeste felt this was unfair soshe contacted us.

We began an investigation into the fairness of the ministry’s actions. After discussions, the ministry said that if Celeste could demonstrate that she was taking reasonable steps to sell the RV, then it could and would waive the RV as an asset in excess for a period of time. The ministry then said that because Celeste was receiving disability assistance, she might be able to convert the RV into a trust. The ministry agreed to explain both these options to Celeste and to release her cheque for the month.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2013
Location The Interior