MP says local seniors going with out due to government error on pension cheques
Some local seniors are part of a group of pensioners across the country who have not been getting their pension cheques from the federal government recently due to what’s being called by Service Canada a ‘glitch’ in the system, according to BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko.
Atamanenko recently issued a letter to the editor stating his Castlegar office has recently heard from “many concerned seniors “ in the area who didn’t get their pension cheques as they normally do in October and November.
“When my assistant followed up with Service Canada (SC), she was told that the SC regional offices had received thousands of complaints from seniors who found themselves in the same situation,” Atamanenko writes in his letter.
“Service Canada explained that they suspended the pension payments of individuals who had 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.”
One senior quoted in Atamanenko’s letter said that scenario certainly doesn’t apply to her. “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 . . . 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 in 1981.”
In his letter, Atamanenko calls the measure “heavy-handed,” and when speaking to The Nelson Daily, he notes that another woman who contacted his office is in dire straits due to the delayed payments.
“A woman who contacted our office (recently) doesn’t have any food,” Atamanenko says. “And she’s not going to get a cheque until Dec. 9. So some people are really being hurt by this.”
The Nelson Daily contacted Employment and Social Development Canada, the ministry responsible for the Canada Pension Plan, but didn’t get a response.
In his letter, Atamanenko notes that Service Canada told his assistance that the “T4 return policy” action was “implemented for security reasons” so that cheques didn’t continue to be sent to an individual who was deceased or had moved away.
“This may sound unreasonable, 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.
“I think this is an extreme action that doesn’t seem to work,” he added in an interview with The Nelson Daily.
Atamanenko is urging anyone who hasn’t received their pension cheques to contact his office for help.