We have all done it, tried to argue with a decision made by a government department. A bit like running on a treadmill, exhausting but getting nowhere.
Before Christmas I applied for the $500 “recovery benefit” that people on a lower income were offered. Several friends reported how easy it was and had only taken a number of days so I filled in the form and waited for my little windfall.
By mid February I still hadn’t had the email telling me that money would go into my account, so I put on the website to see if there was a number to call. There was a message about how busy they were and everyone who was entitled to the benefit would be receiving the money eventually.
Talking to my ex, I heard that he had received his and I knew he had applied later than me, so, once March rolled round, I contacted the website. I received an email telling me that, according to their records, I was still married, so wasn’t eligible to apply on my own.
I emailed back that I had been separated for sixteen months and was asked to forward our separation agreement. This I did and received another email that said that when my spouse had filed our 2019 taxes he had ticked “married” on the form, so I wasn’t eligible.
I found a helpline phone number, waited on hold for almost an hour, and explained that we had filed taxes together as we only separated in November, so figured that was the correct way to do it. Surely an official Separation Agreement, signed and stamped by a lawyer, proved that we were indeed separated. Apparently, NOT SO!
The agent was a really helpful person who told me that the only way I could rectify this mistake was to re-file the tax form as a single person. This I have now arranged to do, However, GST cheques that were sent to my ex are now going to have to be paid back, so is his $500 covid benefit cheque, they will then be sorted out and mailed out to both of us.
The fact that he has shared GST rebates with me is irrelevant, all have to be returned and reassigned. All this because he put the tick in the wrong box on the form!
Why is it so hard dealing with government red tape?
When my cousin passed away last year, in Scotland, I went to the registrar to register her death and they filled out one form that would report the death to every government department. This information went to pensions, taxation, social benefits and everyone else who had anything to do with my cousin’s affairs. Why does our government not have a similar connection that gives all branches of government any changes in our personal details?
Dealing with official “red tape” is seemingly a fruitless quest, but the end result of a $500 bonus, in my bank account is probably worth the effort. Hopefully, that assumption is correct, but never assume.
It can come back to bite you in a very uncomfortable spot!!!