You know how sometimes with an injury it starts to feel better so we start to treat the injured area like it’s fine only to discover rather quickly that it’s nowhere near as fine as we thought?
Well last week Marc and discovered that we’d overlooked a rather important detail after Bernadette died. In my own defence (not that I actually need a defence, but when I make a mistake like this I feel defensive) it’s not like anyone gave us a check-list of what we needed to do like you can get when you’re moving or having surgery. Of course we knew about having a funeral. But after that nothing. Over time we learned there were certain people, organizations, or offices that we needed to inform.
The one I didn’t know we needed to inform was the child tax benefit program. Because we didn’t sign up for it and all the information for the program is taken from our taxes, I just thought/assumed that they’d get the information about Bernadette from our taxes. Wrong. Seems the information only goes one way. When we got our yearly July re-assessment of our child tax benefit, (CCB) and (BCECTB) and (BCFB)… it still had Bernadette’s name on it.
After trying for an entire morning to get through to their 1-800 number I finally talked to a really nice lady, Raymona. Turns out I was suppose to contact them immediately after Bernadette died, they don’t take that information off our taxes. Oops, 18 months later!
I thought I was okay to make the call. Didn’t see why not. But the minute I had to talk to someone in person the words caught in my throat and it was all I could do to get them out. Even though Raymona was very nice and personable it still felt like I was having to inform an impersonal entity who didn’t care, all they cared about was getting their money back. “Just the facts, Ma’am. And give us our money back NOW.”
Thankfully Raymona told me that there would be no penalty or interest charged because it was an honest mistake but they would withhold all future payments until the debt was recovered. A friend said to look at it as an interest free loan from the government.
Still, after I hung up the tears just flowed for a few minutes and it took the rest of the day to recover from that one conversation. It wasn’t the money, it wasn’t that I’d made a mistake, it was just having to speak Bernadette’s name to this vast entity that didn’t give a hoot. With a few swift stokes of Raymona’s keyboard and she came back with, “Ok, Bernadette has been taken off and your new amount is …. and you owe us ….. Your new assessment will come out in September. Have a nice day.” It shouldn’t but it cut like a knife that Bernadette could be so easily wiped out of their system as if it were nothing. I admit that the words, “sorry for your loss” were spoken but believe it or not, that only made it worse! I know, call me crazy.
Now that we’ve reported our loss of Bernadette for tax purposes and for the CCB program I’m really hoping that that is the end of it. It just doesn’t seem to get easier with time.