FORT MCMURRAY FIRE DISASTER ASSISTANCE EQUALS POVERTY FOR SINGLES
These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.
Announcements from the province for Fort McMurray Fire Emergency Assistance state each adult will receive $1250 and each child $500. The Canadian Red Cross has now added $600 for each adult and $300 for each child. The total amount now equals $1850 per single adult, $3250 for single parent family with two children, $3700 for married or coupled family with no children and $5300 for married or coupled family with two children.
Singles have once again have been financially short changed. Common math sense, lowest common denominator critical thinking shows total for single person is equivalent to a poverty wage for a month. Amount for divorced or separated parent with children is also in question.
The $1850 amount for singles on month of expenses provides temporary assistance equivalent for $1300 one bedroom apartment rent or mortgage, $250 food, and very little for other necessities such as paying monthly bills (bills will not mysteriously disappear because of the fire). A single parent with two children $3450 amount provides assistance for two bedroom apartment rent or mortgage, $750 food, and some money left for gas and other necessities. Married or coupled family unit without children would get $3700 to spend on one bedroom apartment rent or mortgage, $500 for food and a lot of money left for gas and other necessities. A two parent family with two children would receive $5300. They could, for example, have $2000 mortgage or rent a two bedroom apartment, $1000 for food and $2300 left for gas and other necessities.
With present assistance amounts single parent with two children gets less financial assistance than married and coupled family unit without children. (Single parents, however will still get same provincial and federal child benefits as they did before the disaster?)
The poverty level for Canadian senior singles is approximately $20,000 or about $1700 per month (this is not even a living wage). Fort McMurray was not devoid of seniors. For these individuals who have worked many years supporting themselves and Canadian families, they deserve more than just subsistent assistance in time of tragedy. Same disaster assistance equal to financial poverty level for singles of any age is unacceptable.
It is interesting to note that the higher the family unit is on the married or coupled status scale, the more money they receive in assistance. If same financial formulation is used with every injection of money (there now has been two injections), the wider the financial disparity will between bottom family unit (singles) and upper family unit (two parent family with two children).
How many times can it be said that it costs more for singles to live? Studies show that it costs a family unit of a single person 70 per cent of what it costs a married or coupled family unit without children. Fair financial formulation requires analysis to be based on not just a person to person basis, but also what it costs each individual family unit to live.
A simple solution to clear up this financial human rights disaster and violation is to give financial assistance based on percentage of average cost of living per month for each family unit of single person, single parent with two children, married or coupled without children, and two parent family unit with two children. Many studies and Statistics Canada should provide enough information to make informed decisions in this regard.
An example of study on living wage income with both parents working in family of four shows that approximately $5500 per month is needed (“Toronto couples with kids must make $18.52 per hour each to get by, report finds” in The Star)The $5500 includes the federal child benefit which parents will still get and child care which many parents will not be using since they likely will not be working during the disaster period while they are away from Fort McMurray. The 2013 living wage for singles in Guelph and Wellington was deemed to be about $25,000 or about $2100 per month. The living wage has since been raised even further.
Year after year, singles of all ages provide untold financial benefits to their country and families through taxes, volunteer efforts, etc., but never financially get back what they put into financial coffers. One family unit does not deserve more financial benefits or to become a little richer than another in a disaster. In a just, humane society singles deserve same financial, psychological and social dignity and respect in emergency situations as married and coupled persons and families. Just where does government, society and family think singles should go if they are forced by this same government, society and family to not be able to support themselves?
This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.