7 Simple Questions for People with Financial Strain


For Everybody:
Have you filled out and mailed in your tax forms?
• Tax returns are essential to access many income security benefits e.g. GST / HST credits, Child Benefits, working income tax benefits, and property tax credits.
• Even people without official residency status can file returns.
• Drug Coverage: Extended Health Benefits or Trillium for those without Ontario Drug Benefits.
See www.drugcoverage.ca for a guide to federal and provincial drug insurance programs.


For seniors living in financial strain:
Do you receive Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement?
• Most people over age 65 who live in poverty should receive at least $1400/month in income through OAS, GIS and grants from filing a tax return.


For Families with Children:
Do you receive the Child benefit on the 20th of every month?
• This can get some low income single parents over $8000 more per year, and can lead to a number of other income supports.


For people with Disabilities:
Do you receive payments for Disability?
• Eight major disability programs: ODSP, CPP Disability, EI, Disability Tax Credit (DTC), Veterans benefits, WSIB, Employers’ long term protection, Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).
• The DTC requires a health provider to copmlete the application form. It provides up to $1100 per year in tax savings
(plus retroactive payments), and is required to receive other benefits including the RDSP.
• RDSP: Up to 300% matching funds. Or disability bonds up to $20,000 for those without resources to save money.


For First Nations:
Are you Status First Nations?
• First Nations with the Status designation may qualify for Non-Insured Health Benefits through the federal government. These pay for drugs and other extended health benefits not covered by provincial plans


For Social Assistance recipients:
Have you applied for extra income supplements?
• Mandatory Special Necessities Benefits
• Medical supplies and health-related transportation (includes e.g. AA, psychotherapy).
• Limitation to Participation: Disability can exclude a recipient from mandatory job search and training programs.
• Special Diet Allowance: some health conditions will qualify a recipient for extra income.
• Other benefits available: Employment supports, Drug & Dental, Vision, Hearing, ADP Co-payment, Community Start Up & Maintenance, Women in Transition/Interval Houses, Advanced age allowance, Community Participation ($100 per month extra for volunteering). “Discretionary Benefits”.
Applications and benefits available through a patient’s OntarioWorks/ODSP worker


If you might qualify, have you applied for ODSP?
• ODSP application: provide as much information as possible, including about the impact of a person’s disability on their lives.
• Include all collateral, expedite necessary referrals, and write a detailed narrative on the last page. Consider obtaining a detailed functional assessment, and having an allied health provider assist with filling in details.
• If denied, refer to nearest legal clinic – acceptance rates on appeal are very high.



Patient-oriented, easy to use government websites:

Service Canada: www.servicecanada.gc.ca: Catch-all site for federal programs, including for Newcomers, Seniors (OAS, GIS), First Nations, Veterans, Employment (e.g. SIN), EI, GST Credit, Canada Child Tax Benefit. – organized by population group, life events, and subject.

Canada benefits: www.canadabenefits.gc.ca: Provides a full listing of income and other supports,organized by personal status (e.g. “parent,” “Aboriginal”) or life situation (e.g. “unemployment,” “health resources”), and province with links to the relevant program websites, and to applica- tion forms. (A good website for health providers to explore.)

Service Ontario: www.ontario.ca/en/services_for_residents: Access to provincially run information and online services, e.g. for EI, CPP, birth certificates.
Ontario Ministry of Community and

Social Services social assistance: www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social: Overview of Ontario Works and ODSP – application process,details about all benefits and sup- ports available and eligibility requirements.



For more information and references visit: