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Little-known Canadian Benefit Programs – II (Disabilities)

In the previous post, we looked at some of the federal benefit programs available to Canadian residents. This week, we’ll continue the series by touching upon a few more programs in place for our benefit.

Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities

This grant offers $2000 per school year to qualifying students with permanent disabilities to cover tuition, textbook, and accommodation expenses. The student should be enrolled in a part-time or full-time program at a recognized educational institution and must provide proof in the form of a medical certificate or document to prove that they are a recipient of federal/provincial disability assistance.

Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities

Delivered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, this grant offers up to $8000 as non-repayable funds per school year to students with permanent disabilities enrolled in a part-time or full-time program at a recognized educational institution. The qualifying disabilities include exceptional education-related services or equipment such as tutors, technical aids, or interpreters. Proof in the form of a medical certificate or paperwork showing receipt of federal/provincial disability assistance and documentation from a qualified person affirming the need for the exceptional education-related service or equipment is required. More details about qualification for this grant can be found on the Canada Student Financial Assistance Regulations page.

Permanent Disability Benefit

Persons with a permanent disability who are finding it tough to repay their Canada Student Loan due to their disability may be eligible for the Permanent Disability Benefit. The qualification process will involve consideration of net family income including assistance received from social programs. An application packet can be obtained from the National Student Loans Service Centre.

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP — Disabilities)

This program can be used by homeowners and landlords to seek monetary aid, in the form of a forgivable loan, for modifying their dwelling to make it easier to access for people with disabilities. Qualifying home alterations include removing safety hazards and enhancing the ability of such occupants to perform their day-to-day activities (e.g. handrails, ramps, or bath lifts; supportive/therapeutic care and portable aids such as walkers do not qualify). The dwelling must be used by a low-income person with a disability; if rented, the rent must be below designated amounts for the area, or if owned, the house must be valued below a prescribed limit. This handy tool should help to determine eligibility based on your area of residence. Either way, the property must not have structural shortcomings that instigate such modifications.

Canada Pension Plan Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program

This program is meant to aid recipients of the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit to return to work; the rehabilitation program is in place for recipients who can and want to return to work. Some facets of the program include guidance, development of new skills, and retraining to help people with disabilities return to their former job, a modified form of their former job, find a new job based on their newly-acquired skills, or prepare for self-employment. They also help in the job-search phase by assisting in preparing résumés, developing interviewing skills, etc.

The Disability Tax Credit is one of the well-known tax provisions available for the benefit of people with disabilities. Please refer to the Disability Tax Credit Certificate form for further details.

Have you applied or helped someone apply for any of these benefit programs? Did you happen to automatically qualify for and receive a related benefit without being aware of it?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism.  You can read his other articles here.

8 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. Connie

    I am currently recovering from a 10 year severe illness. I found it interesting to know that I can apply for the Disability Tax Credit for a period in the past when I was too sick to apply for anything. As well I did not know about the Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program. That might help me out a lot.

  2. 2. DavidV

    I didn’t know about some of these options too. None of them apply to me anymore, but they are certainly useful to know.

  3. 3. Nelley

    I like this series of topics. I’m a black female wanting to do my MBA starting Jan 2012. It’ll cost me approx $40K. Any government assistance programs out there for female non-first nations minorities? Or any websites I should check out? Thanks!!

  4. 4. Clark

    All: Glad to know that the series is useful.

    Nelley: I am not aware of any special programs for other minorities. I’m not sure if all the links below would apply to an MBA degree but check them out nonetheless.


    For students from low-income families:

    The Lifelong Learning Plan, if you have some significant amount in an RRSP:

  5. 5. Barbara Armstrong

    Good evening and thanks for this information, I have a friend that is applying for the Disability Tax Credit for her 50 year old disabled son. Do you have any tips or heads up that we should be aware of?


  6. 6. Clark

    @Barbara Armstrong: Check out the link below for all disability programs. You can access both federal and provincial programs from the page.

  7. 7. Chris

    The real problem for disabled adults is getting CPP to approve you. I’ve applied and been turned down, I have zero usage of my hands but apparently I’m still employable (my kid types for me whenever I need to send emails such as this) perhaps CPP thinks I can use my feet to type? Or maybe I’m supposed to hold a pen in my mouth? I’ve worked hard for well over twenty years and now that I’m injured permanently I’ve had our govt turn their back on me. Our system is designed to screw disabled canadians with one hand while holding out the other demanding taxes to pay for the salaries of useless govt employees! Any suggestions on how to appeal CPP decisions successfully would be appreciated…I’m not alone, I’ve heard that CPP’s ‘unspoken’ rule is to try to ‘starve’ canadians out by using these type of delay tactics. I guess we know why our homeless numbers are growing!

  8. 8. Tony Young

    Don’t forget about the RDSP! Free money in the form of grants if you can afford to put away $1000 per year. Free money even if you can’t through the form of bonds


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