Are You Looking For Financial Assistance?
While we are all familiar with the Canada Pension Plan, there are other types of financial assistance that are available. Whether you are a senior or caregiver, there are many programs and benefits that you can take advantage of! Take a look at the following financial assistance programs and see what you may qualify for.
Disability Benefits Through Canada Pension Plan
You may know the Canada Pension Plan as a retirement pension, but it also provides some disability benefits to CPP contributors and their families. If you have children and are receiving a disability benefit, your children may be eligible for the CPP children’s benefit. In order to be eligible for this benefit, you must:
Be under 65;
Have earned a specified minimum amount and contributed to the CPP while working for a minimum number of years;
Have a severe and prolonged disability as defined by the CPP legislation
Provincial Palliative Care Benefit Programs
Some provinces have special programs to cover the cost of medications and basic medical supplies for terminally ill people registered with palliative care programs. The criteria for eligibility vary from province to province. Most of the programs require a physician or primary care provider to fill in part of the application form.
Information on the BC Palliative Care Benefits Program can be found at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=B454413672454141871930584C01A693
B.C. Senior’s Supplement
The Senior’s Supplement is a monthly payment for low-income B.C. residents who receive OAS and GIS or federal Allowances. You do not need to apply for the Senior’s Supplement; it is paid automatically to eligible recipients.
Provincial or Territorial Social Assistance
People who are not eligible to receive a disability benefit from the CPP or QPP may turn to social assistance, often referred to as welfare. Provinces and territories generally require that the applicant’s disability be long term and severe enough to prevent the person from working. In addition, the applicant must also complete a needs test to determine the person’s total income and whether they qualify for the benefit.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
Employment Insurance sickness benefits offer income protection from temporary work absences. If the work absence is going to be over a long period of time, employment insurance will not provide benefits.
Employer Insurance Plans
Some employers provide group insurance packages to their employees as a work-related benefit. These packages may cover costs for prescription drugs, medical expenses and dental expenses. Group insurance may also provide survivors with an income in the event of the employee’s disability or death.
It is a good idea to check with your employer or the insurance company providing the group insurance to understand the details of your particular coverage, and how long the insurance will continue in the event that illness forces you to stop working. People who work for companies that do not offer group insurance plans or who are self-employed can buy disability coverage through a private insurer, above and beyond the CPP disability benefit.
Life insurance will often provide for what is known as a living benefit. Such a benefit allows for people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to have a portion of their anticipated benefit paid to them in the years before their death. Taking such benefits will reduce the amount of the insurance benefit ultimately paid to the beneficiary of the insurance. A financial advisor can help you make these kinds of decisions.
People who have costs related to health-related goods and services, or additional living costs due disability, may be eligible for tax credits. To find out more about tax credits that may be available to you, consult with a financial advisor.
Caregiver benefits through Canada Employment Insurance
Since 2004, the Government of Canada has offered a Compassionate Care Benefit to Canadians who need time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member.
Caregivers who experience a loss of income as a result of providing care to a seriously ill family member may apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to receive up to six weeks of special benefits (following a two-week waiting period).
To qualify for the compassionate family care leave benefit, caregivers must have 600 hours of insured work in the designated qualifying period and their regular weekly earnings must have decreased by more than 40%.
To apply, caregivers complete an application form and submit documents which verify that a family member is seriously ill with a significant risk of death in the next 26 weeks (six months) and that there is a need for one or more family members to provide care or support. These documents include:
Authorization to Release a Medical Certificate: This document must be completed and signed by the ill person or their legal representative.
Medical Certificate for Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits: The certificate must be completed and signed by the ill person’s doctor.
For more information please visit: http://www.canadabenefits.gc.ca/f.1.2cl.3st@.jsp?lang=eng&geo=1&searchallcats=52%2C53&catid=11
Caregiver Benefits through Individual Employers
Some employers allow employees to take leave without pay for the long-term care of family members. Unpaid leaves can vary in length from three weeks all the way up to five years. Employers set their own policies on when and how a leave will be granted.
Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits
Working Canadians contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) through payroll deductions. When a contributor dies, CPP survivor benefits are paid to the contributor’s estate, surviving spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children. In order to receive CPP benefits, you must apply for them. There are three types of benefits:
1. Death benefit
This a one-time payment to the estate of a deceased CPP contributor.
2. Survivor’s pension
This a monthly pension paid to the surviving spouse or common-law partner of a deceased contributor.
3. Children’s benefit
This a monthly benefit for dependent children of a deceased contributor. Dependent children are those under 18, or between the ages of 18 and 25 and attending school or university full-time
Employer Life Insurance or Pensions
If the employer of the deceased offered life insurance through a group insurance plan, a lump sum of money will be available to survivors.
If the employer offered a pension plan, a portion of the employee’s pension benefits may be paid to survivors in the event of the employee’s death. Employees contribute to these plans over the course of their employment.