To hear the audio introduction to A Homeless Vet’s Journey – Week 2, click play below:
Taking Kurk aside, I asked him about the money that the government owed him. He told me that he was owed money from Canada Pension, Old Age Pension and Superannuation. He said that they had frozen his bank account and he was not receiving any money, and in fact, had not received any money for over two months.
I was not sure how to proceed with this, so I picked up my phone and called my friend, Ron Petersen from McMillan LLP, and passed the phone to Kurk. After 40 minutes Kurk returned the phone to me, and Ron told me that Kurk did not need a lawyer, but suggested he might get some help from Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre. I phoned McKenna’s office immediately.
Monica, from Catherine McKenna’s office was more than helpful as she listened to Kurk’s story and offered to help. We set up an appointment and started the process of Kurk’s claim.
Kurk had lost all of his identification in a fire in 2013. All of it! He never had the where-with-all to have it replaced, for any number of reasons: capacity, money (it costs to replace identity), and support.
He was staying at the Salvation Army shelter. His bank account, where once he had been receiving direct deposits from Canada Pension Plan had been frozen. I eventually found out why: Kurk had tried to access his account on a number of occasions from different ATMs to see if his money had been deposited. Each inquiry cost $3. So, because he had a negative balance of $21 ( seven inquiries at $3 each), his account was suspended/frozen, and the deposits stopped.
Ken MacLaren, Executive Director
Imagine if this had happened to you, what do you think you would do?
What would you do if your were in Kurk’s position? A homeless veteran with absolutely no support, and no resources.
Please leave us a comment below.
(Kurk’s Journey is a 10-Part Series. Stay tuned for Part 3)