October 12th, 2017

Liberal government must stop clawing back child support

Single parents on income assistance are penalized

HALIFAX – Despite making enforcement of child support payments a priority, the McNeil government continues to claw back social assistance from single parents who receive child support.

“It’s doesn't make sense that the Premier says he wants to make sure kids get the money they are entitled to when his government is taking it back,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP spokesperson for Community Services. “Child support shouldn’t go to the government, it should go to kids.”

On average, single parents on income assistance lose $2,000 per year, per child due to the claw back of child support payments.

People who receive income assistance are not penalized for the money they receive from the federal Canada Child Benefit.

“It is very difficult to make ends meet and take care of my daughter,” said Fatuma Seid, a single mother on social assistance who also works part-time as a translator. “We should be looking at how to lift families out of poverty, not taking money meant for our children.”

Up to 70 per cent of Seid’s employment income and 100 per cent of child support payments are clawed back from her income assistance.

In Question Period yesterday, Leblanc asked the Minister of Community Services and the Premier to commit to ending the claw back. The Premier said he spoke to the Minister about the issue “two days ago” but did not commit to ending the claw back.

“Child support payments are meant to feed, clothe and provide opportunities for children,” said Leblanc. “When families are already struggling to make ends meet, it’s especially unfair that the government takes that away.”
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