Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a new benefit for Canadians who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, on the steps of Rideau Cottage on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (CPAC)

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

While federal funding is available to assist Canadians who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, one Summerland woman says she does not meet any of the qualifications to receive this funding.

After a separation in fall, she returned to Summerland, purchased a modular home and was preparing to return to the work force.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic began, disrupting her plans.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

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“Funds are very low and I am without an income,” she said. “My priority was to get a job right here in my new community. And then of course, it all came to a screeching halt due to COVID-19.”

Cox said she does not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The benefit is available for those who are 15 or older, have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit or are on Employment Insurance or sickness benefits.

Recipients must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

They must also be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Responding with the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy

Because Cox was out of the work force last year and did not earn any money, she does not qualify for the funding.

She is a trained electrician, but over the past 10 years, she has been diagnosed with several conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As a result, she is susceptible to pneumonia.

“I know I’m not alone in falling through the cracks,” Cox said. “I’m sure there are many circumstances.”

MP Dan Albas’s office has heard from others who do not qualify for federal benefits under the existing structure.

“We want to hear from people who don’t qualify, so we can share their stories,” said Rob Murphy, an assistant at Albas’s office.

“Just when I was starting to shake off all the dust from the last several years, here I am deeply worried how I’m going to keep the roof over my head and staying alive so I can eventually start over again,” she said.

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