I felt it is important to share Surviving a Financial Crisis with at least at minimum food and a roof over your head was an important subject to address for stroke survivors. It is a topic I see on Facebook survivors support pages It is one more hurdle you have after a stroke a-big one!
PWD what does it stand for In BC where I live it stands for “Person With Disability” It is one of our BC social safety nets that I am thankful for.
The application process is quite daunting without the help of the social workers and other staff at GF Strong Rehabilitation Hospital that helped us, the process would have been overwhelming. The application was 28 pages. A lot of family DR’s do not like filling these out. There is a lot of humbling and humiliation that goes along with it. The door at the time to PWD was you couldn’t have any savings and you first had to apply for Social assistance (welfare). (the asset limits have been modified since to a more reasonable level)
As a self-employed self-reliant person, this was the most bitter pill I had to swallow along with my pride.
Let me step back a bit and give some background. I have been self-employed for years. One of the things in business is that you have peaks and valleys I had just shut down a printing brokerage I had been running. We had another part-time side Gig (business)that we had been running for quite a while. I had spent the previous 6 months ramping that up but it wasn’t quite there but close. My wife has a small enterprise she sorts receipts for small business owners. Because I could no longer be out there hustling, times were what you might call ”more than a little tight”.
One of the big challenges was to keep things was to keep things together while I was doing my rehabilitation. This is one of the reasons I am now a big cheerleader for critical illness insurance. Because some our social safety nets such as CPP disability take a long time to get and can be a year or more to process. It took 2 months to get approval for my PWD I got the letter 2 days after I left GF Strong. (One of the worst times at GF Strong was the wait in the last week)
One of the features of PWD is that we were allowed to make about $1000 dollars a mouth from either employment or self-employment before they clawed back funds. Because of our self-employed Income we were sent “THE FORM “we were to fill out every month. I remember our first month. We had an appointment to go over our forms and show our receipts for expenses to a person in the self-employment section. PWD in BC is run by The Ministry of Social Development (a more PC name for the Welfare office). Sitting in the waiting room at the Fraser St office was one of the most eye-opening yet humbling experiences of my life. There we met Jan (not her real name) an Angel with amazing patience that walked us through filling out “THE FORM “. This process repeated itself for 5 months until we got the hang of it and we were able to file by E-mail.
“THE FORM “, as in all things developed by the government, it was developed by someone that had no understanding of how a business was run. The calculations must have been thought up by someone “on Crack “or maybe it was the same person that thought up that “NEW MATH” that they are teaching in school. People that develop the rules for these programs need to have an understanding of how business is done in the 21st century.
As much as people slag the PWD system they covered a lot of our medical expenses & equipment and gave us a $0 deductible on Pharmacare. Also, funds that covered the rent.
For that, we were truly blessed!
I was on full PWD for 1 ½ years. Now I am on what you call “M” status. All I know is it covers my BC med premium & most of my prescriptions. Things that help us navigate this journey. Past that I have never been able to get a full explanation as to what “M” status is. (I think they purposely keep you in the dark)
My hope for you in writing about this very private part of my stroke journey is two-fold.
- Before you have one of these life events, look into some good critical illness insurance it would have come in real handy. Find a good financial planner/Insurance person and get some while you can. (for heaven’s sake don’t buy it from your bank as they do not have the same underwriting rules) The Route of PWD is one you don’t want to have to take I can assure you!
- For those of you that have had a stroke, remember that there are resources, you can access, depending on where you live. Do your research, be persistent and remember there are resources out there. There is usually a “NO Guy” in each application process. His job is to “Say No” at least the first or second time. Don’t Get discouraged. Figuring it out is a work in progress. Sometimes there are different pieces to the puzzle.
Wishing you the best in your Stroke recovery journey.