Get a personalized list of available benefits, including help with child care, employment, housing and living expenses.
Find out about financial help to pay for health and medical related expenses like dental care, assistive devices and eye care.
Some of the benefits below are available only to people who receive social assistance. Ontario Works Assistance provides money for food, shelter, child care, medical expenses and other costs to people in financial need.
Help with Health-Related Expenses for Low-Income Residents
Dental – Ontario Works and ODSP
Dental and Dentures for Adults – Ontario Works
Through Ontario Works, adults (18 years and older) are eligible for emergency dental treatments. If you have a serious dental problem, visit a dentist or one of the Toronto Public Health Dental Clinics for treatment.
You need to let the dentist know that you are receiving Ontario Works assistance and bring your Health card and Statement of Assistance to your dentist appointment so that you are not charged for covered services. Employment and Social Services does not reimburse dental costs.
You may also get help with other services such as:
- replacements, repairs and relines
- lab fees and exams
You must let your dentist or denturist know that you are receiving Ontario Works, as they must get pre-approval for the denture services you need. Denture costs can not be reimbursed.
If you are on Ontario Works, have been denied dental or denture services, and would like to appeal the decision, contact Employment and Social Services’ Appeals Review Unit at 416-397-0292.
Dental for Children – Ontario Works
Healthy Smiles Ontario covers the cost of dental treatments for children of parents who are receiving Ontario Works or Temporary Care Assistance. Treatments include services such as regular check-ups, cleanings and fillings. For questions about the program or replacement dental cards, call the Service Ontario INFOline at 1-844-296-6306 (TTY toll-free at 1-800-387-5559).
Dental Help for Adults and Children on ODSP
Families receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are eligible for specific dental services through ACCERTA. Speak to your ODSP caseworker for details.
Through the Ontario Works dental program you may also get help with:
- lab fees and exams
- replacements, repairs and relines
Note: You must let your dentist or denturist know that you are receiving assistance from the Ontario Disability Support Program, as they must get pre-approval for the denture services you need. Denture costs can not be reimbursed.
If you are receiving ODSP, have been denied dentures, and would like to appeal the decision, contact Employment and Social Services’ Appeals Review Unit at 416-397-0292.
Dental – Low Income Residents
Low-Income Residents Not On Social Assistance
Children aged 0 – 17
Families not receiving social assistance can contact Service Ontario or visit Healthy Smiles Ontario to find out if their children qualify for dental benefits. For questions about the program, call the Service Ontario INFOline at 1-844-296-6306 (TTY toll-free at 1-800-387-5559).
Toronto Public Health also provides some free dental and oral health services to eligible children.
Low-income Toronto adults aged 18 to 64 who need emergency dental treatments and/or dentures may be eligible for help through the Hardship Fund (see above). It is important that you apply before paying for any services, as you will not be reimbursed if you have already paid for them.
Toronto Public Health also provides some dental services.
Eyeglasses and Eye Exams
Low-income Toronto residents and people on Ontario Works and may receive help to buy eyeglasses.
OHIP covers eye exams for people under 20 and people 65 and over. OHIP also covers eye exams for people between 20 and 65 who are receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program. You can get an eye exam once every 24 months if you are receiving social assistance. When you visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist, take your Ontario health card and Statement of Assistance
Who Can Apply
People receiving Ontario Works Assistance and low-income Toronto residents who cannot afford the cost of eyeglasses can apply for this benefit.
How To Apply
People receiving Ontario Works
Let your caseworker know that you have a prescription for eyeglasses. If you qualify, your caseworker will send you a voucher for a pair of eyeglasses, along with a list of locations where you can use it. The voucher is valid for 30 days and can only be used at these locations.
People not receiving social assistance
If you are not receiving Ontario Works benefits but you are a Toronto resident and cannot afford the cost of eyeglasses, you can apply for this benefit through Toronto’s Hardship Fund (see above). To apply you will need to show a copy of your prescription. If you qualify through the Hardship Fund you will be sent a voucher for a pair of eyeglasses, along with a list of locations where you can use it. The voucher is valid for 30 days and can only be used at these locations
Coverage for basic funeral expenses may be provided on behalf of deceased Toronto residents who do not have enough money in their estate to cover these costs.
Help with funeral expenses can include:
- Funeral services: Toronto Employment and Social Services will pay for the transfer of the body for cremation, burial, or for a traditional funeral service.
- Burial services: Toronto Employment and Social Services will purchase a burial plot. If the deceased person owned a plot, Toronto Employment and Social Services will pay to open and close the plot.
- Cremation services: Toronto Employment and Social Services will pay for cremation as well as the cost of scattering the remains in a cemetery or a burial in a pre-owned plot.
Who Can Apply
This benefit is available for those who pass away while receiving assistance from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), as well as for deceased Toronto residents who do not have enough money in their estate to cover funeral expenses.
The person responsible for making the funeral arrangements may apply for the funeral expenses.
How to Apply
If the deceased person was on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program, you can go directly to the funeral home of your choice. However, before making the funeral arrangements the Funeral Director must be told that the deceased was receiving social assistance. The Funeral Director will contact Toronto Employment and Social Services, Funeral Services Unit to obtain authorization.
If the deceased person was not receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, you can apply at any Employment and Social Services location. Contact an office to book an appointment and find out what information is needed to complete a funeral application. To determine eligibility, a caseworker will consider the financial situation of the deceased person and his/her spouse at the time of death. This includes, for example, assets, income, RRSPs and life insurance.
It is important you know that Toronto Employment and Social Services:
- must authorize services before you sign a contract with a funeral home or cemetery
- prefers that the executor/executrix start the funeral arrangements (If there is no executor/executrix, the person applying for this help should be the person making the arrangements at the funeral home.)
- is entitled to recover the funeral costs from all sources available to the deceased person
- is open between 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesday. If the death occurs after hours or on a weekend/holiday, you must advise the Funeral Director that you plan to apply for financial help from Employment and Social Services
For more information, please contact Funeral Services at 416-338-8888 (select option 4) or contact one of our locations.
The application for funeral expenses will be assessed immediately and, if eligible, authorization will be issued directly to the funeral home and/or cemetery. Coverage is limited to approved services and rates.
Toronto Employment and Social Services is entitled to recover any money paid for funeral services from assets/income of the deceased person. For example, bank accounts, Canada Pension Death Benefit or Life Insurance.
The Funeral Services Unit will mail a “Letter of Intent” to all recovery sources.
The Funeral Director’s ‘Statement of Death Certificate’ is kept by Employment and Social Services. If you require a copy of this certificate in order to administer the estate, or require further information, please contact Funeral Services at 416-338-8888 (select option 4).
Medical Supplies and Devices
People receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and other low-income Toronto residents may receive help to pay for medical supplies, equipment and devices.
People on Ontario Works automatically qualify to have the cost of their prescription medications covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.
Low-income Toronto residents not receiving social assistance can apply for help with drug costs through Toronto’s Hardship Fund (see above). If you have ongoing drug costs you will need to apply to the Trillium Drug Program for help.
While Receiving the Benefit: Low-Income Residents
If you qualify for the Hardship Fund, you can be reimbursed for eligible prescription medications. If you have ongoing drug costs you will need to apply to the Trillium Drug Program for help.
While Receiving the Benefit: People on Ontario Works
Take your prescription and Ontario health card when you go to the pharmacy. The Ontario Drug Benefit program covers most medications. However, if you have a prescription for medication that the program does not cover, you can ask your doctor:
- to prescribe a different medication that is covered, or
- to send a request to the Ministry of Health to add your medication to the list of eligible drugs under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.
People receiving social assistance can use their Ontario health card to access the Ontario Drug Benefit program. You should get an Ontario health card if you do not already have one.
Don’t have an Ontario health card?
Find out how to get an Ontario health card by visiting your nearest Service Ontario office or calling the ServiceOntario INFOline. It’s free. Toll-free: 1-888-789-4199 TTY Toll-free: 1-800-387-5559. Find out how to replace or renew your health card at http://www.ontario.ca/healthcardrenewal
Not eligible to apply for an Ontario health card?
If you are not eligible for an Ontario health card, contact your Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) or Ontario Works office. You will get a paper drug eligibility card until you get your Ontario health card. For more information talk to your caseworker or visit your local social assistance office.
The Ministry of Health, Drug Programs Branch can be reached at:
5700 Yonge Street
Support for Seniors – Ontario Works
Advanced Age Item
People on Ontario Works who are 65 years of age or older will receive an additional monthly amount to help cover the costs of personal needs due to advanced age.
An advanced age amount of $42/month is automatically added to the Ontario Works payment for those who are 65 years of age or older and not receiving Old Age Security.
Coverage for Guide Dogs – Ontario Works
People on Ontario Works may receive money towards the care and feeding costs of a certified guide, hearing or service dog.
This benefit amount is $84/month, with a yearly review.
Who Can Apply
People on Ontario Works who, due to a disability, have a specially trained dog certified for use as a guide, hearing or service dog can apply for this benefit.
How to Apply
To apply please speak to your caseworker. You will need to provide your dog’s certificate from the accredited training facility or a registration card from the Ministry of the Attorney General.
An “accredited training facility” is:
- For guide dogs,
- For hearing and service dogs,
- a facility that is a member and meets the minimum standards of Assistance Dogs International.
Health Coverage When Leaving Ontario Works
People leaving Ontario Works because they are starting work or getting other income may continue to receive help with health costs for a period of time after they stop receiving monthly Ontario Works payments.
This can include:
- coverage of medication costs under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program
- Dental services and help with eyeglasses for children (and, in some cases, for adults)
- Help with medical transportation costs
- Help paying for medical supplies and special devices
Extended Employment Health Benefit
If you leave Ontario Works because of employment earnings, you may be eligible for the Extended Employment Health Benefit.
Who Can Apply
This benefit is for people who are leaving Ontario Works due to employment income. Your eligibility will depend on whether your employer covers your health benefits.
How to Apply
Speak to your caseworker if your file will be closing due to employment.
This is an ongoing benefit for up to 12 months.
For the first six months following the end of your Ontario Works payments, your medication costs will be covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program using your Ontario health card. If you continue to have medication costs, you should apply for coverage through the Trillium Drug Program. Ask your caseworker if you need help paying the Trillium Drug Program deductible.
Other medical benefits
For 12 months following the end of your Ontario Works payments, the cost of other medical benefits may be covered. Provide your caseworker with proof of what is required and how much it costs.
Read related policies and procedures about the Extended Employment Health Benefit.
Extended Health Benefit
If you leave Ontario Works because of other income, you may be eligible for the Extended Health Benefit.
Who Can Apply
This benefit is for people who are leaving Ontario Works due to income. Your eligibility will depend on the cost of the medically-based items you need and the amount of your income and assets.
How to Apply
Speak to your caseworker if your file will be closing due to income.
If you require a medical item within the first month of leaving Ontario Works, provide your caseworker with proof of the item you need. Your caseworker will let you know if you are eligible for coverage. If your file has been closed for longer than one month, you can apply for coverage through Toronto’s Hardship Fund.
Read related policies and procedures about the Extended Health Benefit.
Medical Transportation – Ontario Works
People on Ontario Works may receive money for transportation costs to attend medical appointments.
This is available if:
- you have regular appointments with a doctor, dentist or other health professional, or
- you are attending a drug or alcohol recovery program,
- your transportation costs are $15.00 per month or more, and
- your transportation costs are not already being covered
How to Apply
To apply please speak to your caseworker.
You will receive money based on the number of appointments you have each month. Give your caseworker a note from your doctor that shows how many appointments you attend.
If you cannot take public transit because of medical reasons, you can arrange for taxi service instead. Before you make taxi arrangements, ask your doctor to write in the note that, due to medical reasons, you need to take a taxi to your appointments. Provide this note to your caseworker so that funds may be issued to you in advance of your medical appointments. It may be appropriate for you to apply to Wheel Trans or other driver assistance programs.
Your medical transportation amount will be added to your monthly payment. This amount will be based on the number of appointments you have each month. The maximum monthly amount of medical transportation benefit that a person may receive when taking public transit cannot be more than the cost of a TTC metropass.
Medical transportation is reviewed every six months or when there is a change in the number of medical appointments, whichever occurs first.
Special Dietary Needs – Ontario Works
People on Ontario Works may be able to receive money to cover the additional cost of food required for specific medical conditions.
A Special Diet Allowance is available for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and more. Also, pregnant women and mothers who are breast-feeding can get a nutritional allowance.
See a chart of the Special Diet Allowance amounts and which medical conditions qualify.
How to Apply
If you have a medical condition, please ask your caseworker for an Application for Special Diet Allowance form, which your health professional can fill out for you.
These health professionals can fill out the form:
- Physicians (doctors)
- Registered nurses in the Extended Class
- Registered dieticians, and
- Registered midwives or Traditional Aboriginal Midwives. (Midwives can only confirm special diet needs related to pregnancy or breast-feeding)
Within 90 days of your Special Diet Allowance ending, a letter and new Application for Special Diet Allowance form will be mailed to you. You can reapply if necessary.
Your caseworker will review your eligibility for Special Diet Allowance at least once every 12 months.
Read related policies and procedures about Special Diet.