Thursday June 25, 2015
211 Ontario helps seniors access financial assistance and home support services
By: Destiny Bedwell, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Ontario 211 Services
Feeling safe and secure financially will allow you or your loved one to age peacefully and enjoy retirement without significant financial worries or burdens. Over 55,000 people called the 211 helpline in Ontario last year to investigate financial and income assistance. Many calls to Ontario 211 are from seniors and caregivers wanting to discover what practical help like home support is available, how to access it, and if there is financial help available for their situation. Calling 2-1-1 is one of the best ways to learn about the home support programs and financial assistance that can help you or your loved one stay at home safely and enjoy a high quality of life.
There are a variety of resources available to assist you or your loved one in overcoming financial worries and burdens that may limit spending abilities as you/they age. Here are some options that can help:
In order to receive most government assistance, it’s important that you or your loved one have filed your/their taxes, as you/they may be eligible for tax refunds. Low-income adults of any age can get help filing taxes through free community volunteer income tax clinics. Here are some tax credits you or your loved one might qualify for:
Community legal clinics, which offer services to all low-income seniors, can help if you or your loved one are having difficulty applying for a tax refund or receiving your/their pension or you/they need help preparing a will or a power of attorney form. To find Community Legal Clinics, call 2-1-1.
For health care or personal support in your home, the first step is to contact a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). Call 2-1-1 to find your local CCAC. CCAC staff will coordinate in-home services such as nursing, personal support, physiotherapy, or medical supplies and equipment. Both 2-1-1 and CCACs can also refer you to additional support services such as:
The Ontario Energy Board's Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) provides low-income customers up to $500 in emergency financial assistance to pay their gas or electricity bills ($600 if their home is heated electrically). Low-income Enbridge customers can apply for the Home Winterproofing Program. Enbridge also offers the Community Energy Conservation Program in some parts of Ontario, which brings with it incentives of up to $2,000 to qualified homeowners.
Call 2-1-1 to find agencies which provide grocery shopping rides, to find Meals on Wheels or food banks if you or your loved one are mobile. Some municipalities, such as Toronto, operate Good Food Box programs, which deliver boxes of affordable, fresh produce to pick up locations on a regular basis. Call 2-1-1 to find out what food or meal programs are available near you. Help With Pet Costs
Dogs or cats are essential to the wellbeing of many seniors, but paying for their expenses can be worrisome if money is tight, especially if they fall ill. If you don't have enough money to pay vet bills, you might be eligible for help from the Farley Foundation.
If you or your loved one is in need of more information on financial assistance for seniors, call 2-1-1 Ontario at any time to speak with us about an individualized plan to help minimize your financial concerns and allow you to age without boundaries!
Destiny Bedwell is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at Ontario 211 Services. Working at the 211 helpline is a dream job for her because she loves highlighting the brilliant work of the non profit, community, government and health services across Ontario through social media and marketing initiatives.
I have always been so impressed by the passion and commitment of our employees. From the companions that I work with everyday in Simcoe-Muskoka, to those who looked after my Aunt in Toronto, each and every one has provided outstanding care to their clients.
Tom Johnston, Owner, Seniors For Seniors (Simcoe-Muskoka)