Special Services at Home

Important information about 2020/21 renewal packages

We have mailed renewal packages for the Special Services at Home program to all families that were enrolled in the program in 2019/20 and who continued to be eligible for funding. Families should have received their renewal packages by mid-June 2020. If you haven’t received a renewal package, but think you should have, please call your local regional office or local agency.

Note: Families with children who turned 18 years old before March 31, 2019, will not receive a 2020/21 renewal package.

Temporary changes

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have made temporary changes to the Special Services at Home program to help recipients. These changes came into effect April 1, 2020. Families who are eligible to receive program funding in 2020/21 can now purchase supports according to the existing program guidelines and these temporary changes. Read on for more details about these changes.

New eligible expenses

We are temporarily expanding the list of eligible expenses under the Special Services at Home program to support people and their families while community-based activities and settings are closed. These changes allow families to use funding for goods and services that may make it easier to stay at home during this time and practise physical distancing.

New eligible expenses include:

  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.
    • The approval of technology will also support the virtual engagement of people with disabilities and connections for families, providing some relief from caregiving requirements and alleviating some of the impacts of physical distancing.
  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.

Read more about these temporary changes in the April 2020 addendum to the program guidelines. All other inadmissible expenditures outlined in the program guidelines remain in effect.

These changes are temporary and the existing program terms and conditions will continue to apply upon the government providing notice. You will be given as much advanced notice as possible to prepare for the return of regular business once the government provides notice.

Funding in advance

Special Services at Home recipients who were enrolled in the program in 2019/20 may be eligible to receive funding in advance of processing their expense claims. This is to help families manage financial challenges they may be facing and to help them purchase eligible supports and items quickly. Recipients who enrolled in the program after April 1, 2020, are not eligible for advance funding.

Advance payments for 2019/20

To help with the financial challenges faced by families who have not been able to submit claims or receive reimbursements for admissible expenditures associated with their 2019/20 funding under Special Services at Home, active recipients received a payment of up to $1,000 from their remaining 2019/20 authorized amount. Families received this funding by the end of June 2020. If you haven’t received advance funding, but think you should have, please call your local regional office or local agency.

Save all receipts, invoices and supporting documents with proof of payment for these expenses. Please continue to submit claims for these expenses to keep your budget amount updated.

Note: We waived the deadline to submit your 2019/20 claims.

Advance payments for 2020/21

Special Services at Home recipients will get 25 per cent of their approved funding for 2020/21 in advance so they can purchase the goods and services that may make it easier for them to stay at home during this time and to practise physical distancing. Recipients who made an expense claim in 2019/20 automatically received their funding advance by the end of May 2020. If you haven't received advance funding, but think you should have, please call your local regional office or local agency.

Save all receipts, invoices and supporting documents with proof of payment for these expenses. Please submit claims for these expenses to keep your budget amount updated.

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

What is Special Services at Home?

The Special Services at Home program helps families who are caring for a child with a developmental and/or physical disability. It is funded and managed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

The program helps families pay for special services in or outside the family home as long as the child is not receiving support from a residential program. For example, the family can hire someone to:

The amount of funding a family receives depends on:

Eligibility

Families can apply for this support if their children have a developmental and/or physical disability:

and

How to apply

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

  1. Review the program guidelines and the April 2020 addendum for more information about temporary changes to eligible expenses. Download and complete an application form.
  2. Attach a medical statement or psychological assessment to your application. It should describe the disability and explain why you need the services and how much it will cost.
  3. Mail the completed application form and the medical assessment to your nearest regional office.

More information

Contact the regional office nearest you.