Have you ever felt like each step towards economic stability takes you two steps backwards? That as quickly as you start to earn a steady paycheque, your benefits and supports begin to disappear? Do you ever feel that it would be easier just to remain in poverty? Those feelings are part of The Cliff Effect, the phenomenon that occurs when social assistance benefits are taken away quicker than you can earn to replace them. Let’s explore The Cliff Effect and how Simcoe County Circles can help you navigate these important economic and lifestyle changes.
Let’s take Linda, for example. Linda is a single parent with 2 sons who is currently on social assistance and without child support. The boys are in subsidized daycare and they live in subsidized housing. Linda has some health issues that require prescriptions, which are thankfully included in her social assistance benefits. Linda is tired of living in poverty and wishes that she could join the workforce to create a brighter economic future for herself and her boys. So what is stopping her?
One Step Forward
Let’s say that Linda accepts a full-time job in a retail environment. Her monthly income will increase, which is a definite step in the right direction. But let’s look at the steps backwards.
Two Steps Back
Now that Linda is working, and no longer on social assistance, her housing and daycare subsidies will greatly decrease or even disappear completely. Linda’s employer doesn’t offer health benefits, so her prescriptions and any other health expenses will now have to come out of her pocket. Once Linda files her next tax return, her higher income level will lead to a decrease in her monthly benefit payments like HST, Trillium and more. Her day-to-day expenses have greatly increased and she feels like giving up, like maybe going back to work wasn’t the best choice after all.
How Simcoe County Circles Can Help
Linda is not alone in her feelings of frustration. The road to economic stability can be very rough with abrupt stops and starts, just like being dropped off of a cliff. That’s where Simcoe County Circles can help. We are here to support people like Linda in this rough transitional time. Our circle of intentional friendships and Ally’s can help to provide problem-solving skills, resources and non-judgemental support to those who are determined to create a better economic future for themselves and their families. Find out more about how Simcoe County Circles can help by calling 705-549-1890.