The 211 helpline in Ontario answered more than 325,000 calls last year. One third of those calls were for basic needs like housing, food, financial assistance and help with utility bills. As well, many calls were from seniors and caregivers wanting to discover what practical help from community and social services was available, how to access it, and if financial help exists for life's challenges.
Calling 2-1-1 is one of the best ways to learn about community programs and financial help that can help improve a senior's quality of life and independence. Programs, taxes and benefits can change from year to year, call 2-1-1 for up-to-date information.
Navigating and applying for services are a common challenge, especially when learning about government benefits. For example, 211 Navigators often find callers don't realize that the Canada Pension Plan is different from Old Age Security. 211 also refers callers to agencies which offer help to fill in applications and tax clinics for low-income people of every age. To claim and renew many government benefits you have to have filed your taxes.
Another possible form of financial support if you have worked outside the home is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension. CPP also provides survivors benefits to partners of deceased contributors.
Other sources of income could include pensions if you have lived or worked in another country. For low-income seniors, they need to know about the Guaranteed Income Supplement, GIS-Allowance and the Guaranteed Annual Income System. There are also a variety of financial and other types of assistance for veterans of war.
Other potential sources of financial help, tax relief and services which depend on individual eligibility are listed below. Some of these are government benefits and some are community-based services to meet specific community needs:
- Ontario Trillium Benefit
- Ontario Drug Benefits Program
- Assistive Devices Program
- Local Health Integration Networks and Community Support Services for health and support services such as: Homemaking, caregiver relief and friendly visiting
- Home maintenance and repair services
- Provincial Land Tax Deferral Program for Low Income or Those with a Disability
- Home and Vehicle Modification Program, March of Dimes
- Ontario Renovates Program
- Affordability Trust Fund energy savings
- Low Income Energy Assistance Program
- Ontario Electricity Support Program
- Meals on Wheels - Good Food Box and Food Banks
- Farley Foundation
Free Legal Advice Hotline Community legal clinics can help if you are having difficulty applying for a tax refund or receiving your pension or you need help preparing a will.
For more information about programs and services mentioned in article visit https://211ontario.ca/211-ontario-services-blog/211-ontario-help-seniors-find-community-supports-and-financial-assistance.
For information about services and programs for your situation, call 2-1-1 from anywhere in Ontario. 211 is the helpline for information and referral to community, social and health services or search online at http://www.211ontario.ca. The 211 helpline is answered live 24 hours a day, every day by highly trained navigators. We provide interpretation in over 150 languages.
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