211 Ontario helps Seniors find Support

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211 Ontario helps seniors find financial and home support services211_Article_Image2

Over 80,000 people called 211 Ontario last year to investigate financial and income assistance. Many calls were from seniors and caregivers wanting to discover what practical help like home support was available, how to access it, and if financial assistance is available. Calling 2-1-1 is one of the best ways to learn about the home support programs and financial help that can help a senior stay in their own home safely and improve their quality of life.

Navigating and applying for services are a common challenge, especially when learning about government benefits. 211 for example often finds callers don’t understand the Canada Pension Plan retirement pension 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 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. Low-income seniors may also qualify for 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.

Some seniors do not receive their full entitlement of retirement benefits because they do not answer “yes” to Section 11 on the OAS application form, which asks if you want to apply for the GIS, an additional benefit that can increase your income significantly. (In July 2014, the maximum GIS amount was $757.58, compared to the maximum OAS amount of $558.71), says Nancy Singer, who facilitates the Wrap Around Project at Waterloo Region Community Legal Services.

“This increased income can mean stable housing, improved nutrition, and greater quality of life and health for low-income senior citizens,” says Singer.

Other potential sources of financial help, tax relief and services which depend on individual eligibility.

  • Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax
  • Ontario Trillium Benefit
  • Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant
  • Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit
  • Provincial Land Tax Deferral Program for Low Income or Those With a Disability
  • Federal Excise Gasoline Refund Program
  • Ontario Drugs Benefits program
  • Assistive Devices Program
  • Seniors In Need
  • Community Care Access Centres for support services such as

o   Homemaking

o   Caregiver relief

o   Friendly visiting

o   Home maintenance and repair services

  • Home and Vehicle Modification Program, March of Dimes
  • Ontario Renovates Program
  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program
  • Home Winter Proofing Program
  • Community Energy Conservation Program
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Good Food Box
  • Farley Foundation

 

Community legal clinics, which offer services to all low-income seniors, can help if you are having difficulty applying for a tax refund or receiving your pension or you need help preparing a will or a power of attorney form. Some Ontario cities also have Wills on Wheels, a directory of independent lawyers who offer in-home will and power of attorney preparation services.

For more information about programs and services mentioned in article visit http://www.211ontario.ca/basic-page/211-ontario-helps-seniors-access-financial-211_Article_Image1 and-home-support-services.

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 www.211ontario.ca. The 211 helpline is answered live 24 hours a day, every day by highly trained specialists. We provide interpretation in over 150 languages.