Name: Stephanie Cooper

Occupation: Caregiver

Stephanie lives in Victoria.  She has two children, one of whom has special needs and requires a great deal of in-home care and doctor visits.  Her living situation is convenient to the hospital, but rent is more than she can afford on income assistance.  She shares custody of the two children with her ex-partner.  Because her children do not spend more than 50% of their time with her, she only receives the amount of assistance a single person would receive, with no additional support for the children.

We support raising welfare rates. An income of $610 per month ($7320 annually) is significantly below the poverty line, and welfare rates have been frozen since 2007. As housing costs continue to rise without a corresponding increase in welfare, people are forced to make difficult choices to make ends meet. Child support from an ex-partner doesn’t provide any extra income because it is clawed back from the welfare cheque.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, you know…  I was wanting to and willing and able to be self-sufficient and care for my family, but there’s just no way that I could do it right now.”