I’d like to tell you a story about Jim and June. The names have been changed to protect their privacy, but what they experience is a truth many couples are facing today.
Jim and June were married on a perfect summer’s day in 1952. They lived on Jim’s modest salary, but they were rich in friends and family. Some would have called June a stay at home mom, but you’d know her better as the never-at-home community volunteer mom. While they were blessed with two children, their daughter died from breast cancer in 1994. Their son suffered a heart attack at 50 and passed away in 2005.
Jim retired in 1997, and the two of them have been living on Jim’s modest pension since. Recently Jim’s health challenges became too much for June to handle alone. They found him a spot in a long term care facility, but it costs most of Jim’s pension each month.
Having been involuntarily separated, June tried to apply for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, but she was too late. Had it only been two years ago, the federal government would have recognized the separation as involuntary and treated her the way they would have treated any other 85 year old woman living alone with no pension.
After 65 years of marriage, through life’s joys and tragedies, June is now being forced to consider divorce. She’s afraid of breaking the Sacrament of Marriage, but she can’t afford her hydro bill now, let alone four months from now in the midst of winter.
It is unconscionable that she is being forced to make such a choice. The current government made this change to the rules without notice or consultation. The government is punishing some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
I pray you never find yourself in a situation like June’s, but right now many seniors just like her are being denied the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
June, and seniors like her, need your help.
Tell Trudeau to recognize the reality of involuntary separation, and assist these seniors at once. Winter is coming, and they need help.