MS Answers

Financial Management
Answered on: 9/8/2010

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Q :

What financial resources can I receive other than the government disability pension when I am no longer able to work? Can we get financial assistance for home care, housework, transportation and other things?

A :

Other than income sources that may be available to persons with MS who are no longer able to work, that are provided by various levels of government such as: Employment Insurance Benefits, Canada Pension Plan – Disability Benefits, and provincial disability benefits such as the Ontario Disability Support Program, the following sources of income or support may be available to you:

Long-Term Disability Benefits
If you have an employee benefits package, you may be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits. You would need to contact the human resources department of your work or the administrator of the benefits plan for more information on requirements for qualifying for these benefits and to determine the amount you may be eligible to receive.

Attendant Care and Home Care
In Ontario, there are a number of ways to access publicly funded attendant care services.

There are services funded through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that provide attendant care such as services provided by agencies through the Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) in ones own home. These services can be Professional Services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing and social work; Personal Support Services which include assistance with personal hygiene and activities of daily living; and Homemaking Services such as ironing, housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry. The maximum hours of combined personal support and homemaking services are 80 hours in the first 30 days and 60 hours per month afterward. Contact your local Community Care Access Centre for more information.

Attendant Outreach Services are also provided in a person’s home or workplace or educational setting on a pre-scheduled basis. The maximum amount of hours of care per month is 90 unless the Ministry of Health approves otherwise. Services cannot be provided on an on-call basis.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funds a direct funding program available for persons who require attendant care and meet the eligibility requirements. The Direct Funding Program enables adults with a physical disability to become employers of their own attendants. Attendants assist with routine activities of living, such as dressing, transferring and toileting. Contact you local Independent Living Centre for more Information. The Centre for Independent Living Toronto administers the program. The program is currently at capacity and the waitlists can be over 5 years long.

With regards to accessing public transit, there may be a variety of ways to access funding to decrease cost. If you are eligible for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits, you may be eligible to have your travel costs for medical appointments covered. As well, some cities and transit providers may provide discounted and reduced fares to persons with disabilities, or free access to persons with specific disabilities.

Home and Vehicle Retrofitting
The Home and Vehicle Modification Program administered by Ontario March of Dimes provides up to $15,000 towards the cost of home or vehicle modifications, and is available to residents of Ontario. Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. Residents of Ontario, who have a physical disability expected to last one year or more, may apply for funding through the Home and Vehicle Modification Program. Contact the Ontario March of Dimes for more information.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers financial assistance to allow homeowners and landlords to pay for modifications to make their property more accessible to persons with disabilities through the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP — Disabilities). These modifications are intended to eliminate physical barriers, imminent safety risks and improve the ability to meet the demands of daily living within the home. Contact CMHC for more information with regards to the eligibility criteria.

Assistive Devices and Medical Costs
There are other government funded programs such as the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) that may be of assistance. The ADP provides money to Ontarians with physical disabilities for assistive devices. It is a government program run by Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. ADP provides funding in different ways. Depending on the device category and specific device, the ADP can cover up to 75% of the cost, pay a fixed amount, or pay annual grants to the consumer. An assistive device is a tool, product or type of equipment that helps you carry out your every day activities. Examples include mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters, walkers; visual aids such as braillers and magnifiers, and diabetic and ostomy supplies.

There are a number of publicly funded drug programs through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. If you receive disability benefits from ODSP, you will be eligible for coverage of medicine through the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB), and you will also be eligible for basic dental coverage. You may be eligible for ODB if you are over 65 years of age, or on ODSP or Ontario Works, or a resident of homes for special care and long-term care homes, or receiving professional home care services.

If you are not eligible for the Ontario Drug Benefit, and you do not have private insurance coverage or if your private insurance does not cover 100% of your prescription drug costs, you may be eligible for the Trillium Drug Program (TDB). TDB provides financial assistance for prescription drug products to eligible persons with high drug costs in relation to their income.

This is a general survey of some programs available. There may be other government funded programs available that you may be eligible for. There may as well be local programs and services provided by not for profit service providers and charitable organizations that may be able to provide services or assistance in your community. It is dependant upon your particular situation and what programs are most appropriate for you.

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DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that this information does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MS Society of Canada, and is not intended as medical advice. For specific advice and opinion, always consult a physician.