As a parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may qualify for financial support. This support can help cover the extraordinary costs associated with being a parent of a child with special needs. Financial support can come from government and private programs. The amount of money you receive will depend on your child’s needs and your family’s financial situation. The list that follows describes some, but not all, of the financial benefits available to children with special needs and their families. Financial support also includes tax benefits for families raising a child with special needs.
When you complete an application, always mail the original and keep a copy for yourself. Pay attention to renewal dates for programs that must be re-applied for every year. If you miss a renewal date or hand an application in late, it may result in you losing your benefits. If you have any questions when completing an application, call the appropriate agency for information. Developing a relationship with a worker from each agency can be helpful when specific questions arise about your application or available services. Also remember that, in Ontario, respiteservices.com offers help to complete applications. See more detailed information below about this agency.
The list that follows describes some of the financial benefits you may be able to apply for from government or charitable organizations.
Special Services at Home Program (SSAH)
This is a Ministry of Community and Social Services program that financially assists families of children with a physical disability and/or developmental disability. To be eligible, you must be a resident of Ontario. Your family’s income does not affect whether or not you qualify. If approved, the funds are given directly to your family to hire a support worker to help your child in the area of personal development and growth. Funds can also be used to help you pay for respite services. Respite services provide temporary care for your child either in your home or in an outside agency. If you are seeking respite support, it will be your responsibility to find appropriate and qualified workers to hire.
For more information about SSAH, visit www.mcss.gov.on.ca. To locate your nearest office, call the Toronto office at 416-325-0500.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services manages the funds for Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities. This program provides financial assistance to parents of children with a disability to cover the extraordinary costs of caring for such a child. Your family income as well your child’s level of need are taken into consideration when determining eligibility. Financial assistance is provided on a monthly basis and an Ontario Drug Benefit card will also be provided. There is a detailed application to complete and a worker will visit your home to talk to you about your situation in greater detail.
For more information about this program and to request an application, contact either one of the following Toronto offices: Ministry of Community and Social Services (416-325-0500); Ontario Disability Support Program (416-326-5079/1-888-256-6758); or Ontario Works intake (416-397-0330).
Incontinence Supplies Grant Program, Easter Seal Society
The Incontinence Supplies Grant Program is fully funded through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. It can help with the cost of diapers and other similar supplies for children three to 18 years old. Families receive the money directly. Your child must have a condition that causes a lack of control over the bladder permanently or for longer than six months. A doctor or nurse practitioner must complete the medical section of the form.
For more information, call the program at 416-421-8377, extension 314, or 1-800-668-6252 or visit www.easterseals.org.
Assistive Devices Program (ADP)
This program offers financial assistance for Ontario residents with long-term physical disabilities. Devices are intended to give people increased independence and control. To be eligible for this program, your child must have an Ontario health card and a physical disability for six months or longer. This program will pay up to 75% of the cost of items such as: wheelchairs, mobility aids, hearing aids, respiratory equipment, and visual and communication aids. An assessment to determine what your child needs is done through an ADP authorized practitioner such as an occupational therapist.
For more information call 1-800-268-6021.
The Trillium Drug Program, Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care
The Trillium Drug Program provides medication coverage for Ontario residents who have a valid Ontario health card. If you or your family spend a large part of your earnings on medication, the Trillium Drug Program may be able to help with the costs. Once approved, coverage is for all members in a household. Medications listed in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary are covered. Families must pay a yearly deductible which is based on household income. Applications are available online or at your drug store. Please note that if you already have a Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) card through Community Care Access Centre, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, or Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities, you will not be able to apply to the Trillium Drug Plan.
For more information, contact 1-800-575-5386 or visit www.gov.on.ca/health. In the Quicksearch box, type “Trillium Drug Program”.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC)
The Disability Tax Credit, also known as the Disability Amount, lowers the amount of tax you may owe if your child has severe, long-lasting mental or physical disabilities. The T2201 is an important document which is necessary to complete in order to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, Caregiver Tax Credit, and other credits. A qualified physician must complete the medical part of the form and verify that your child has a “prolonged impairment” that significantly restricts an activity of daily living. The more detailed information that your doctor can provide on the form, the better this will be for your application. Some important points to remember about this application are:
- This form can be submitted any time of year.
- The “onset of impairment” is the very first date which the impairment began.
- The application can be back-filed (up to 10 years) to correspond with the “onset of impairment” date.
For information and to request a copy of Form T2201, call 1-800-959-2221. For more detailed information, request a copy of Guide RC4064.
Child Disability Benefit
If you have a child who is 18 years of age or younger and you have already qualified for the Disability Tax Credit, you may be eligible for the Child Disability Benefit. This financial benefit helps low to modest income families by providing a monthly payment up to $199.58 per month. To apply for this program, you must have a signed Disability Tax Credit Certificate (see information above) as well as a completed Canada Child Tax Benefit application form (RC66).
For more information call 1-800-387-1193.
Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity
The mission of the Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity is to improve the quality of life for chronically and seriously ill children and their families. The charity considers requests from families who live in Ontario and have a child less than 21 years of age with a child who is seriously ill or has a permanent disability. Your family’s gross income must be $60,000 or less and a Notice of Assessment is required for the application process.
The charity will consider assistance for:
- emergency financial relief
- respite for a pre-determined period
- developmental therapies, excluding applied behaviour analysis (ABA), intensive behavioural intervention (IBI), or a relationship development intervention (RDI)
- educational programs, materials, and instruction
- specially adapted computer equipment and software
- medical treatments not covered by government health plans
- recreation programs in the community
Call 905-852-1799 to request an application or visit www.jenniferashleigh.org.
President Choice Children’s Charity
This charity provides financial assistance to families with physically or developmentally challenged children to help cope with the disability. Your child must be 18 years or younger. Your family’s income must be $70,000 or less and a Notice of Assessment is required for the application. PC Children’s Charity tends to grant requests for items such as: expensive mobility equipment, environmental modifications, and physical therapy.
For more information call 1-866-996-9918 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Applications can be found online at www.presidentschoice.ca.