Letter: Missing your pension cheque?

I would encourage any pensioner who has not received their cheques to contact me, says MP Alex Atamanenko.

My constituency office in Castlegar has recently heard from many concerned seniors who did not receive their pension cheques as usual in October and November. When my assistant followed up with Service Canada, she was told that the Service Canada regional offices had received thousands of complaints from seniors who found themselves in the same situation.

Service Canada explained that they suspended the pension payments of individuals who have not updated their mailing addresses, whose T-4 pension slips had been returned to Service Canada as “undeliverable,” and who Service Canada could not get hold of in any other way.

Unfortunately, this heavy-handed approach has meant hardship for many seniors who rely on their pension cheques for the basic necessities of life. It can take Service Canada upward of seven business days to release a cheque once they are able to make contact with a pensioner.

In the meantime, rent cheques are late, cupboards are empty, and people are panicked because of money shortages.

When my assistant questioned the need for such extreme action, she was told that this “T-4 return policy” was implemented for “security reasons,” so that cheques did not continue to be sent to an individual who was deceased, or had moved away.

This may sound reasonable, but the reality is that some of the seniors my office has spoken to have had no such changes. They are being punished because of an administrative situation that could have been handled much more simply.

One constituent wrote to me about her experience when she contacted Service Canada: “I spoke with a very polite man but the only reason he could give me for the ‘glitch’ was that I could not be found because they had no physical address—really. I was born in this country, I have lived my whole life in B.C., I have worked from the age of 18 years in B.C. I retired in 2001 and have been receiving my pension cheques uninterrupted. The last time I moved was 1981.”

I would encourage any pensioner who has not received their cheques to contact my Castlegar office for assistance: 250-365-2792, 1-800-667-2393,  HYPERLINK “mailto:alex.atamanenko.c1@parl.gc.ca” alex.atamanenko.c1@parl.gc.ca.

Alex Atamanenko, MP, BC Southern Interior

Just Posted

Two fires of note burning in Southeast Fire Centre

As of Saturday afternoon there were more than 20 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

‘Farm the Kootenays’ creates supportive community

Helping hobbyists and serious producers alike, the Facebook group has grown to nearly 12,000 members

Who will fill the Greyhound void in the Kootenays?

Minister Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West sees opportunity for local operators

Equipment lost in arson at Greenwood landfill

The cost of replacing equipment is expected to be significant.

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email editor@trailtimes.ca

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

Most Read