your path to accessing financial resources
Every province/territory administers a social assistance program. These programs differ widely in their policies and procedures, but they all have the same intent – to provide a basic level of support to those who lack access or support from other government programs. Most people only apply to social assistance programs when they have exhausted all other options.
Some provinces separate their programs into two streams – one for those who can look for work, and one for those with disabilities. In some provinces, persons with cancer who do not expect to return to work can apply to the disability stream of the program.
A social assistance program usually involves (a) an initial intake and eligibility determination, and (b) an assessment completed with a caseworker. Through these steps you will need to provide information on your financial situation, the number of people in your household, your medical condition, and any health needs or requirements (e.g. prescription medications, need to travel to treatment, nutritional needs, assistive devices, etc). A social assistance assessment compares what you need (based on the current program rates for shelter, food, utilities, etc PLUS your specific health needs) vs what you have for income or financial resources. Many programs require you to first apply to EI Sickness Benefits, if you haven’t already, before proceeding with your application. Many programs will also make you apply for CPP-Disability (if applicable) and if you are approved may reduce or stop your social assistance.
A list of various social assistance programs can be found in the Database.