Please share what you would like people to know about your experience accessing or relying on the Disability Assistance Benefit. 

Today is “pay day”. Yippee! Ya right. I’m 53 and single and I live alone. I have an undiagnosed issue with my legs. Plus I’ve had 6 major surgeries leaving me with severe side effects. My legs have no stability. I cannot feel my heels or my toes. I cannot stand unassisted or without holding onto something. I received a whopping $395 for my disability. I paid my rent directly which is $1175 plus hydro per month. My hydro is not cheap. I have a current disconnection notice pending right now. So this $383 ($12 taken for bank fees) must pay my internet which is $60, plus I owe a friend $40 for helping me get food before payday. I don’t know how we are expected to live the entire month on this. This also has to cover food that the food bank doesn’t provide. I was able to make it a little bit better before the $150 from the COVID benefit was taken. I greatly appreciated the extra $300, that helped me so much. It was still tough, even with that, but the struggle eased slightly with it. $375 is incredibly low for rent. I’m paying $1175 for a small one bedroom aparment.

When I moved in here, after 2 months I got bedbugs.I took this place because I could have my cats. No other choices. I really want to go back to work. However, all the training and experience I have I need my legs for. It’s very frustrating. I didn’t ask to be reliant on disability. I tell what I get and I try to make the best out of it. We desperately need a raise!! I don’t do drugs or drink or smoke either. Good thing!

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

Yes, for the negative attitudes towards us out there. You better pray to your God that what happened to me never happens to you. This condition I have came out of the blue. It started with a burning back and tingling, numb fingers. This has been 4 years now with no answers nor clues! You may have to live on what we live on one day and trust me . . . it’s not fun nor easy!

What do you dream support for people with disabilities could look like?

That we can afford our rent without having to take most of our support to do it, and feed ourselves decent food and pay our bills every month! That’s my dream for us, anyhow. Those are just the basics I struggle with most!

Published by rozmaclean

B.C. based artist

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