ScreamingOn Friday, Sept. 19 I was informed by AISH (Alberta Income for Severely Handicapped) that my application for disability payments had been denied. I could appeal but I would have to drive halfway across the city to pick up the appeal forms & my appeal needed to be filed within 30 days.  I had planned to try to pick up the forms on Tuesday, Sept. 23 because I was going to have our vehicle for my doctor’s appts.  Since that day got messed up by extra appointments being squeezed into my day, hubby & I decided we would pick up the forms on Thursday.  We were going to be out anyway for my chest CT scan.

My scan appt. was scheduled for 1345 so we decided to go to the AISH office first.  We live on the North East side of Edmonton & the AISH office is on the West side of the city, so it was a long drive.  When we got there we had difficulty finding a parking spot.   We arrived at the 5th floor office where we were met with a sign saying the office was closed between noon & 1 p.m.  We arrived at 12:07.  We can’t even pick up a form since there is no one but a security guard there.  We went to the hospital where I had my chest CT scan done & then returned to the office afterwards.

When we arrived back at the office, we found 2 clerks behind glass & 2 security guards in the waiting area.  Hubby asked if we could speak to someone about our appeal & he was told we could only contact the staff by phone or email.  No, the clerks behind glass did not take messages.  So why did we have to drag ourselves all the way down to their office?  Why didn’t they mail out the appeal forms or at least have them available on their website?  This office is supposed to be helping people with disabilities & they are forcing handicapped people to travel to an inaccessible office with little or no parking to pick up a form?

I applied for AISH at the same time I applied for CPP disability.  I signed a form when I applied allowing AISH to use all the same medical reports CPP was given.  It took AISH 4 months to determine I qualified for benefits because of family income.  I was told it would take them 4 more months to determine if I qualified medically.

I was refused CPP benefits, appealed my decision & have since been approved.  I heard nothing from AISH during all that time.  According to the letter I received from AISH I did not provide them with enough medical reports, but during all the months they had my application they never asked for additional medical reports.  It took them 4 months to look at my application & decide I had not provided enough information?  They couldn’t have picked up a phone & asked for more information?  They couldn’t have sent me a letter, outlining what additional information they required?  Did they even look at the forms CPP was using?  I don’t have answers for any of these questions.

If they are sharing the same medical reports as the federal government & I have been approved for disability benefits AND a disability tax credit, why do they require something different?

I can only assume by the presence of 2 security guards in their office & the clerks being behind glass, they must get a lot of aggravated clients & fear for their safety.   Considering how they treat people, I can understand why.  I will not give up, maybe that’s what they’re hoping for when they make things so difficult?