Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities

Temporary wage increase for direct support workers extended

As of October 1, 2020, workers who provide personal support services are eligible for a temporary wage increase. This temporary increase has been extended until June 30, 2021.

We are offering temporary support to cover this wage increase for people and families who pay for services from eligible direct support workers with funds from direct funding programs. These changes apply to support workers who provide:

  • direct assistance with personal care
  • respite care
  • community activity participation

Learn more about this temporary funding and how to get it.

Temporary change to eligible disability-related expenses

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are temporarily changing how we process disability-related expenses under the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) program to support people and their families while community-based activities and settings are closed. This change allows you to use your current monthly funding for goods and services that may make it easier for you to stay at home during this time and practise physical distancing.

Families who have already received pre-approval for expenditures may temporarily, for the duration of the outbreak, use pre-approved ACSD funding to purchase items or services from the list below without pre-approval from the ministry. For example, if a family is not using their funding temporarily for a pre-approved expense such as summer day programs, they can use that funding for the expenses outlined below.

For the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, we will consider the following disability-related expenses as admissible for ACSD:

  1. Sensory Items
    • To support children and youth who rely on sensory items to alleviate anxiety/stress and/or support any clinical or behavioural plans.
      • e.g. multi-sensory related products and technologies.
  2. Technology
    • Provide children and youth the means and ability to stay safe, connected, and occupied and engaged at home, including in virtual and online learning and skill development activities. These items include:
      • Laptops and tablets;
      • Online educational and e-learning activities and resources;
      • Videogames and videogame systems;
      • Webcams and microphones;
      • Media service subscriptions and platforms (e.g. Netflix, Xbox Live, Disney+) (Note: this will not include cancellation fees);
      • E-readers (e.g. Kindle or Kobo); and
      • Remote monitoring devices and medical alert services and devices.
  3. Items to support home-based recreation and fitness activities
    • Supplies to support home-based hobbies and activities that would otherwise be accessed through day programs, school and other community-based programs. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
      • Arts and craft supplies;
      • Hobby supplies;
      • Puzzles and games; and
      • Books for leisure/learning.
    • Supplies to support home-based physical activity and fitness. Some examples may include, but are not limited to:
      • Indoor items and equipment (e.g. skipping rope, yoga mat, resistance bands); and
      • fitness/sport equipment and supplies that may be used on the individual’s property (e.g. basketball net, trampoline, frisbee, badminton set).
  4. Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies, When Available
    • To enable children and youth, their families and their support workers to be supported more safely at home or as required, in the community, which may be of heightened importance to children/adults who are immunocompromised. This includes items such as:
      • Gloves;
      • Masks;
      • Gowns;
      • Cleaning supplies (e.g. disinfectant wipes, sprays, and hand sanitizer); and
      • Goggles and face shields.
  5. Essential Service Delivery Fees
    • Where families are unable to leave their homes for groceries or pharmacy needs because of the vulnerability of their family member and/or because of their care requirements, service delivery fees for essential items such as groceries and medication will be an admissible expense. (Note: this does not include the actual cost of the groceries and/or medications, just the service fee for delivery).
    • Delivery fees for takeout food from restaurants are not included.
  6. Behavioural Support Plans and Related Interventions
    • Behavioural supports and interventions intended to assist families to more safely support their child at home. This may include:
      • Development of behavioural support plans and recommended interventions (delivered in person or remotely/virtually)
      • Support strategies to reduce challenging behaviours or potential crisis situations.
      • Note: This does not include physiotherapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.
  7. Ability to hire (non-primary caregiver) family members or neighbours/friends to provide respite
    • To allow families who cannot hire respite workers or have concerns about having workers in their homes, to hire trusted family or friends to provide respite.

This change is temporary and all other existing program policies and conditions remain in effect. You will be given as much notice as possible to prepare for the return of regular business once the government provides notice.

These measures are part of the government’s action plan to protect vulnerable people and staff caring for them.

If you are a parent caring for a child with a severe disability, you may be able to receive financial support through the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program. This program provides financial support for low- to moderate-income families to cover some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a severe disability.


A parent or a legal guardian whose child:

may be eligible to receive help under this program depending on the family's income.

Financial Support

Depending on the income and size of the family, the program may provide between $25 and $500 a month to help with costs, such as:

How much a family receives will depend on:

How to apply

The program is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

  1. Contact your local regional office and ask for an application form.
  2. Complete the application form and return it to the regional office along with any documentation asked for.
  3. A Special Agreements Officer will review your application and will contact you if they need more information.
  4. You will receive a letter saying whether or not you qualify for a grant and, if so, how much you will receive.