The Social Benefits Department employs a Social Benefits Clerk, Margaret Blackned. She is the Liaison between the Federal or Provincial Government and the WFN Members or other people residing in the community. Margaret is available to assist people with any Federal or Provincial Government Programs that they may need. For example they may need assistance with the many forms that must be filled out correctly such as the Family Allowance Application Forms, the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan Forms, the CPP or QPP Retirement and Disability Forms. There are also the Survivor’s, the Handicap, or the Pensions Forms. Individuals at the age of eighteen (18) must fill out their Individual Income Tax Returns. There are the Child Tax Credit, the Federal Sales Tax Credit, the GST Credits and the Quebec Sales Tax Credit. So many need to be filled out and as Members file for any one of these benefits, a file is opened and kept confidential in the office. These will be up-dated every year or whenever changes are made to their file.
Other information kept on file is the Member’s birth and baptism papers. If anyone needs help in applying for their birth certificates, they can go to the office and the Social Benefits Clerk will be available. The cost for an Ontario Birth Certificate is $35.00. The cost for a Quebec Regular Application is $38.00 and $60.00 if you need an Accelerated Birth Certificate due to time. If an individual requires a Social Insurance Number Card, the cost is $10.00. The cost for a Construction Safety Card is $5.00. Those needing their Health Insurance Cards may obtain a letter of support confirming their residence in the community but must apply to the Regie d’Assurance Maladie du Quebec for application forms for a new or replaced Health Card. The cost for the Health Card is $15.00. If a Member currently receives an allowance or a pension and a death occurs in the family or, if there are changes that need to be made in their file, Margaret will be glad to assist them. Members need to regularly update their individual Federal or Quebec Government accounts. It is their responsibility to make sure that they come into the office for any changes in their present situations that could affect their financial benefits.
In addition, the Social Benefits Clerk will assist the Beneficiary & Membership Clerk to make sure that the Indian Beneficiary Registrar is up-to-date in accordance to the DIAND Policies and Mandate; specifically with regards to births, marriages, deaths, divorces, transfers, amendments, status cards and adoption. For example, if there is a death in the community, this needs to be reported and death certificates are ordered for the family. The Bank will have to be notified so that remaining funds are transferred to the estate of the deceased. Revenue Canada and OASP must be informed so that the payments are stopped or adjusted according to beneficiary status. If a cheque is received before the paper work is completed, it must be sent back to the sender.
Sometimes, someone may need a new birth certificate or need to replace their old one. In this case, the applications will be sent to either the Quebec or the Ontario Government, depending on the birth place of the individual. The Cree School Board requires that all students attending the school provide a birth certificate to them in order to attend class. If a person’s name is changed because of an adoption or their own choices, then letters are sent to the Government and the necessary documents are sent back to that person. One of the biggest problem that we have is that parents are still not registering their children under the age of 18 years old for their Child Tax Benefits; either with the Federal or Provincial Government.
On occasion the Social Benefits Clerk will send out letters to confirm the residence of Members living in the Community in order to confirm the Indian Status of Members who purchased merchandise outside of the community so that they will be tax exempt.
This past fiscal year, assistance was provided for many of our Members and for others living in the Community. These include:
Child Tax Credit (CTX) 472 files
GST, HST, QST 551 files
OSAP and Widows Pensions 82 files
Total, 1105 files
To conclude, each year the files that are opened in the Social Benefit Department continues to grow in numbers. If you have received a T-4 you must fill out an Income Tax Form. If you wish to receive the GST/HST, QST, Old Age Pension and Child Tax you will be required to fill out an Income Tax Form.
If you have reached the age of 18 you will be notified by Margaret Blackned and a file will be opened in your name. It is your responsibility to respond to that letter and to cooperate fully so that you can receive the maximum financial benefit due to you.
Social Benefits Clerk