Case workers at the Department of Financial Assistance, and how they handle clients has been called into question by a 48-year-old Pembroke woman who provides round-the-clock care for her mother.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the woman, who we will refer to as Ms X, charged that her case worker could use a good dose of compassion and proper training on humane factors.
“I have no problem with the men who work at the Department of Financial Assistance, but the women, one in particular, treats clients like they are doing them a favour,” said Ms X.
“It’s frustrating enough to have to submit time sheets every week, only to have that paperwork sit on a desk without being processed. And every month the payments are late, when I have rent and other commitments to make.”
She is one of roughly 51 recipients approved for FutureCare’s new personal home care benefit, which covers home care for senior citizens.
Her mother, who is 68-years-old, suffered a heart attack about two years ago and was hospitalised for nearly two months. Since he release, she requires personal care at home, which her daughter has provided for the past year.
Up until December, her mother’s case worker was Harry Bean. Another case worker, a woman who we will not name, was assigned to the case. Ms X said her monthly payments have been late ever since.
To make matters worse she said her landlord is also a senior citizen who relies on his rent for income. For the past two months she said payments were made on the 15th. This month she received payment on March 9th.
“I’ve just found a two-bedroom apartment that I would like to move into. The rent is $1,200 and this late payment nonsense messes with my rent,” she said.
“The women who work in Financial Assistance belittle you, while the men are so helpful and genuine. They really need to do something about it,” she added.
“I’ve been on financial assistance once, and I vowed that I would never go on it again even if it means that I have to sleep in a tent!
“People are already at their lowest point when they go in to apply for help and you don’t need nobody looking down on you, or making sarcastic remarks which only makes matter worse.
“I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the same thing. It’s not all of them but it’s the majority of them, although I can only speak for the ones I’ve ever dealt with,” she said.
“Why does it have to take a whole month-and-a-half to make payment when all my paperwork is in on time – it makes no sense! And I’m not on financial assistance. I’m only dealing with home care.”
She is now asking clients to write letters citing their frustration to present to her MP who is Michael Weeks. “Something has to be done about this,” said Ms X.
A formal media request for an official comment on this report went unanswered. But it was clear that tempers have flared at the Department of Financial Assistance.
Informed sources told Bermuda Real that police have been called in at least three times in recent weeks to deal with incidents involving irate clients.
Those incidents included a glass breaking incident last month. To date there has been no official comment on that incident.
By Ceola Wilson
Photo Caption:photos by Glenn Tucker