Thursday, September 30, 2010

SAFER - Week 11 and the Waiting Continues

It's week 11. My application to BC's SAFER program (Supplementary Aid for Elderly Renters) arrived at the SAFER office on July 19th.

On four separate occasions since then, I've tried to follow-up with documents that verified the amount of my then yet-to-be-started payments from the Canada Pension Plan. (They commenced August 27th.) When I was preparing my application in July, I'd looked up my Service Canada account, hoping to see confirmation of the CPP payment amount there. Nothing. When I checked in August, my account showed the amount to be $295.55. In my cover letter to the SAFER application I'd written that I would send supporting documentation of the CPP monthly amount as soon as I received it.

August 11: I phone SAFER, not expecting anything will have been done yet on my application but wanting to know how long the process will take - "eight to ten weeks" - and whether there is a way, other than snail mail, to get documents to SAFER. I am given the BC Housing email address used for document dumps. I send an email immediately with an e-printout of my Service Canada account which shows the CPP payment amount. I receive an auto response confirming receipt of my email by BC Housing.

September 3: I phone SAFER (Kevin), asking what's up with my application and expecting confirmation they've the document I emailed August 11. They haven't. I am advised to send a fax instead to a specified number. Since I haven't a phone, I use a web-based fax service that allows the first fax to be free. In addition to the Service Canada printout, I include an e-printout of all activity during August on my credit union account. It shows receipt of my first CPP payment of $295.55. My fax is confirmed to have been sent to the correct number.

September 28: Enter week 11. I phone SAFER (Nicole), asking what's up with my application and expecting confirmation they've the documents I faxed on September 3. They haven't. My application sits unseen. I am advised to send another email and to call again in two days. I send the email immediately and receive the auto response that it has been received by BC Housing.

September 30: I phone SAFER (Stephanie), asking what's up with my application and expecting confirmation they've the documents I emailed two days previously. They haven't. I am advised that the person who usually monitors (!) the email and fax document station is away today and to send another email immediately. Stephanie will check in one hour with the person currently at that station and call me to let me know if my email was received. I tell Stephanie I haven't a phone and ask that she email me instead. She tells me they're not permitted to send external emails - a common policy of government departments. (In this case, it means the SAFER office can't contact me except by snail mail. What if there's a question that holds up my application's approval? More delay.) I tell Stephanie I've just sent the email while we were speaking. Two seconds later, I report receiving the auto response. She puts me on hold. IT'S THERE!!! Documents are being printed.

Stephanie says that applications received the week of July 12th are now being processed. Which means maybe, just maybe, mine might get looked at next. Enter week 12.

ETA: Was resolved in Week 13, with effective date August 1 and first (three-months) payment to be received October 31st.


penlan said...

Sheesh - what a run-around.
Hopefully next week you'll have money in hand.

Chrystal Ocean said...

While SAFER might begin to process my application next week. I won't see any money until "at least the end of October." SAFER payments are direct-deposited the last workday (Mon to Fri) of each month, regardless of when applications are approved.