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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.

Dental and Dentures for Adults receiving Ontario Works or Emergency Assistance

Through Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance, adults (18 years and older, including adult dependents), as well as dependents 18 years and older whose parent is receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), 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 (or that your parent is receiving ODSP) and bring your/your family’s Statement of Assistance and your Health Card to the dentist 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:

  • dentures
  • replacements, repairs and relines
  • lab fees and exams

You must let your dentist or denturist know that you are receiving assistance, as they must get pre-approval for the denture services you need. Denture costs cannot be reimbursed.

If you receive Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance (or you are 18+ and your parent receives ODSP), 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 Help for Adults receiving ODSP

Adults receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are eligible for specific dental services through Accerta. Speak to your ODSP caseworker for details.

Note: Adult dependents (aged 18 and up) of people receiving ODSP are covered by Ontario Works for dental instead of by ODSP.  See section above for details.

Through the Ontario Works dental program you may also get help with:

  • dentures
  • 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 cannot 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.

View a list of eligible denture and emergency dental procedures.

Read related policies and procedures about Dental benefits.

Dental for Children – Ontario Works, Emergency Assistance and Ontario Disability Support Program

Healthy Smiles Ontario covers the cost of dental treatments for children (aged 0 – 17) of parents who are receiving Ontario Works, Emergency Assistance, Temporary Care Assistance, ODSP and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities. 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).

Low-Income Residents Not receiving 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.

Adults aged 18 – 64

Low-income Toronto adults aged 18 to 64 who need emergency dental treatments and/or dentures may be eligible for help with health-related expenses through the Hardship Fund. 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.

Read related policies and procedures about Dental benefits.

Seniors aged 65 and up

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OCDCP) is a government funded dental care program providing free, routine dental services for low-income seniors who are 65 years of age or older.

Seniors residing in Toronto who require assistance with applying for the OSDCP, have applied for OSDCP and were deemed not eligible, or require dentures/partial dentures can contact Toronto Public Health.

Toronto Public Health also provides some dental services.

Glasses

Low-income Toronto residents and people receiving Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance (as well as dependents aged 18 and older whose parent is receiving assistance from the Ontario Disability Support Program) may qualify for help to buy eyeglasses.

Eye exams

OHIP covers one major eye exam (for vision and general eye health) every 12 months, plus any minor assessments for people under 20 and people 65 and over. OHIP also covers eye exams for people between 20 and 65 who have a specific medical condition affecting their eyes that requires regular monitoring. People between 20 and 65 can get a free eye exam, once every 24 months if they are receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program. Bringing an Ontario health card and Statement of Assistance will help to ensure the cost of an eye exam is covered when visiting an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

Who Can Apply for Eyeglasses

People receiving Ontario Works Assistance/Emergency Assistance, dependents aged 18 and older whose parent is receiving Ontario Disability Support (ODSP) and low-income Toronto residents who cannot afford the cost of eyeglasses can apply for this benefit.

How To Apply

People receiving Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance

Let your caseworker know that you have a prescription for eyeglasses. If you qualify, your caseworker will fax a voucher for eyewear to City Optical and send you information about how/where to get your eyeglasses.

Dependents aged 18 and older whose parent is receiving Ontario Disability Support

Let your parent’s ODSP caseworker know that you have a prescription for eyeglasses. If you qualify, a voucher for eyewear will be faxed to City Optical.  Information will be mailed to you about how and where to get your eyeglasses.

People not receiving social assistance

If you are not receiving social assistance but you are a Toronto resident and cannot afford the cost of eyeglasses, you may be eligible for help with health-related expenses through the Hardship Fund. If you qualify through the Hardship Fund a voucher for eyewear will be faxed to City Optical and you will receive information about how/where to get your eyeglasses.

Redeeming Vouchers

Vouchers are faxed to City Optical and can be used at all their locations.

To obtain eyewear or to have your eyeglasses fitted/adjusted, you can visit one of their stores. For the latest information on locations and hours visit cityoptical.com 

Note: if you choose to also have your eye exam at City Optical, exams are available by appointment only.  Book an appointment online or by phone:

  • online at cityoptical.com under “Schedule an Appointment.” You will need an email address to complete the online form. You will also be asked to choose a date and preferred location.
  • over the phone by calling City Optical at 905-713-4033.

Read related policies and procedures about Eyeglasses and Eye Exam benefits.

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. An eligibility assessment will be made that considers the financial situation of the deceased person and his/her spouse at the time of death.

Help with funeral expenses can include:

  • Funeral services: Toronto Employment and Social Services will pay a funeral service provider for administration of funeral services in accordance with the established rates.
  • Burial services: Toronto Employment and Social Services will pay for burial services which includes costs 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 (OW) 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 a Toronto resident is receiving OW/ODSP at time of death:

Go directly to the funeral service provider 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 and ensure eligibility criteria have been met.

If a Toronto resident is NOT in receipt OW/ODSP at time of death:

If the deceased person was not receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, you can make a funeral application by calling the Application Support Centre at 416-338-8888 (select option 4 and follow the prompts). To determine eligibility, a caseworker will consider the financial situation of the deceased person and his/her spouse at the time of death. For example, this includes assets and income such as funds in bank accounts or CPP death benefits.

It is important you know that Toronto Employment and Social Services:

  • must authorize services before you sign a contract with a funeral service provider 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 service provider.)
  • is entitled to recover the funeral costs from all sources available to the deceased person
  • is open between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. 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 and follow the prompts).

After Applying

The application for funeral expenses will be assessed immediately and, if eligible, authorization will be issued directly to the funeral service provider 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 and follow the prompts).

Read related policies and procedures about Funeral benefits.

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 receiving Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance 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 may be eligible for help with health-related expenses through the Hardship Fund. 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 receiving Ontario Works/Emergency Assistance

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 Ontario Works can use their Ontario health card to access the Ontario Drug Benefit program. People receiving Emergency Assistance can use a printed Drug Card (provided by their caseworker) 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
3rd Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M2M 4K5
416-327-8109
1-866-811-9893 (toll-free)
TTY: 1-800-387-5559
DrugPrograms@moh.gov.on.ca

Advanced Age Item

People receiving Ontario Works who are 65 years of age or older will be issued an additional monthly amount to help cover the costs of personal needs due to advanced age.

An advanced age amount of $44/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.

Read related policies and procedures about Advanced Age Item.

People receiving Ontario Works may be issued 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 receiving 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:

Read related policies and procedures about the Guide Dog Benefit.

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.

While Receiving

This is an ongoing benefit for up to 12 months.

Drug costs

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.

While Receiving

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.

Employment Health Benefit for People Participating in Better Jobs Ontario

If you leave Ontario Works because you started receiving income form the Better Jobs Ontario Program you may be eligible for this benefit

Who can Apply

The benefit is available for people who are leaving Ontario Works due to income they receive while completing training through the Better Jobs Ontario program.

How to Apply

Speak to your caseworker if your file will be closing due to income from Better Jobs Ontario.

While receiving

While involved in the Better Jobs Ontario program, this is an ongoing benefit.  You are no longer eligible for this benefit after the training program finishes, or if you leave the training program early.

While involved in the Better Jobs Ontario program:

  • Your medication costs will be covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program using your Ontario Health Card.
  • The cost of other medical benefits may be covered.  Give your caseworker proof of what is needed and how much it costs.

Read related policies and procedures about the Extended Health Benefit.

People receiving Ontario Works may be issued 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 an addiction treatment 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 health professional 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 health professional 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.

Other Details

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 Monthly Pass.

Medical transportation is reviewed every six months or when there is a change in the number of medical appointments, whichever occurs first.

Read related policies and procedures about Medical Transportation benefits.

People receiving Ontario Works may qualify for 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, people who are pregnant, breast/chest-feeding or are not able to breast/chest-feed can get either a nutritional allowance or a special diet.

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.