Financial Resource Information – FAQs

Having to make a decision about finances is not always easy but we are here to help. Here are a list of some commonly asked questions and answers; however, feel free to ask your Social Worker if you have more questions, she will be able to help you understand your options.

Not feeling well enough to work? Depending on your work, you may have access to a Short Term Disability Benefit, also called a Sick Leave Benefit. You will need to review your benefit package to be sure. If your employer offers it and you are eligible, the benefit will likely provide you with a short period of time (perhaps up to 3 months) to claim benefits and return to your previous level of health to get yourself back to work.

Have you used up your short term disability but are still not feeling well? If your health is unchanged while receiving STD or you have exceeded your benefit time, you may be eligible for a Long Term Disability Benefit. Again, you will need to consult with your benefit package to see what you may be able to access. Generally this is a longer term period that you will be able to continue to get paid from your employer through your insurance carrier. It generally runs for 2 years, although this varies from plan to plan. Your insurance provider will request medical information from the CF team to describe why your situation warrants LTD.

The TDP is a drug insurance plan for Ontarians.  If you have less than 100% coverage through a private plan or no coverage at all, you may be eligible.  This plan is based on a deductible payment schedule.  You would be required to pay quarterly installments towards medications.  If your amount is greater than what you require in medications – you will only need to pay for what you use.  If your quarterly amount is less than the medications you require – you will only need to pay that much and the remainder is covered through the TDP until the next quarter.

To learn more, visit the Trillium Drug Program. For specific questions, please speak to your social worker.

This is a very good question to ask. If your health has changed you should talk to your doctor to make a plan of care. If you have to take time off work or cut back on your hours, this might be hard on your budget.

First, speak with your Human Resources Department (HR) or Employer to see if they can help or offer some alternatives to work. This might mean working part-time for a short period, doing modified work, or going onto Short-Term Disability (STD). During this time your health may improve and you may be able to return to work at your regular hours.

Sometimes people can’t return to work. If you have spoken to your HR contact and are already on Short-Term Disability (STD), you may be able to get Long-Term Disability (LTD). This will last longer than STD but will depend on your work place and on your benefits plan.

If you are unable to claim disability benefits, your next step is to see if you qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. If so, you can apply for EI Sickness Benefits.

If this happens, you will get a notice of last payment. If you don’t have a job to go back to, you may be able to receive regular EI benefits without a waiting period. Call the EI office to see if this applies in your case.
Toll-Free: 1 800 206-7218
TTY: 1 800 529-3742

If you do not qualify for EI benefits and you need help right away, you may be able to receive funding from  Ontario Works (OW) benefits.

Fortunately there is another option. The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) might be able to help; this program is similar to OW but also considers your health status. Part of the consideration process is completing a package full of forms, your doctor and social worker will help you complete these forms.

If it is taken before the age of 65 it is called Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD). To qualify you must:

  • Have contributed to CPP during employment
  • Have met the definition of disability as laid out in the CPP legislation

Your Social Worker may be able to suggest a plan that can help.

  • If you get Short Term Disability or Long Term Disability from your employer you may continue to be eligible for coverage under your benefit plan.
  • If you are getting EI (Sickness Benefits or Regular) there is unfortunately no added medication coverage.
  • Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program will provide you with a “Drug Card” that will allow you to get most of your drugs covered. Those drugs that are not covered will require a special letter from your MD. You can speak with the Social Worker or Pharmacist for more information.
  • CPP Disability does not have any added drug coverage.

If you are on Employment Insurance or Canada Pension Plan Disability and are not recieving any drug coverage, you can apply for added drug coverage through the Trillium Drug Insurance plan (TDP) if you find drugs have become too costly to afford. Speak to your Doctor/Social Worker/Pharmacist if you have questions.

Registered Disability Savings Plan

Never heard of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)? Not to worry, we’re here to provide you with more information.

Canada has introduced the world’s first Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) which is a plan designed specifically for people with disabilities in Canada. The RDSP became available in financial institutions in December 2008. This new tax-deferred savings preparation is intended to assist parents and families in planning for the long-term financial security of their relatives with disabilities.

Do I Qualify And Where Can I Sign Up?

If you are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, are under the age of 60, have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), and have filed your tax return for the last two years, you are now eligible for a RDSP! To find out more information please contact your CF social worker or visit the financial institutions that offer the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Canada Pension Plan

Have you contributed to Canada Pension Plan (CPP)? If so, you might be eligible for CPP Disability (CPPD) benefits.

The CPPD plan is available to you if your illness falls into the category “severe and prolonged”. Oftentimes, if you qualify for an LTD package, your insurance carrier will ask you to apply to your CPPD plan to see if you can also receive benefits from them. Keep in mind, if you do qualify, your insurance amount will be reduced to inocorporate what CPPD is providing so your overall amount will be the same. If you are eligible for CPPD it is mandated by insurance companies that you apply. You can call Revenue Canada before applying to see what your monthly payout would be.

To be considered for CPP disability benefits you must be:

  • Under 65.
  • Earned and contributed a certain amount of money to CPP.
  • Have a severe and prolonged disability as defined by the CPP legislation.
A written application must be completed and is available at your nearest Service Canada Centre (1-800-277-9914) or on the official website at The kit will tell you what information you need to provide to meet the eligibility requirements. Also, if you are unable to apply on your own, a person that you authorize may apply on your behalf.

In order to be considered for CPP disability benefits you must have earned at least $4,400 per year to have made contributions to CPP. You also must have contributed for 4 of the last 6 years at or above the minimum level of earnings ($4,400).

If you do not qualify for EI benefits and you need help right away, you may be able to receive funding from  Ontario Works (OW) benefits.

Often it means that you do not meet the eligibility requirements but you might still qualify if:

  • You delayed applying, meaning you met the requirements when you first became disabled but have not worked in the last 6 years, therefore have not contributed
  • Your CPP contributions stopped or were reduced because you stopped working to raise your children for the last 6 or more years
  • You have obtained enough CPP credits from a former spouse or common-law partner through credit splitting to make you eligible
  • You were medically incapable of applying

Confused and not sure what to do? Please feel free to contact your CF social worker for help and more information.

Disability Tax Credit

The Canadian government is offering a disability tax credit for people with disabilities. This online guide created by Cystic Fibrosis Canada may be a helpful tool to explore. A qualified professional, usually your physician, will have to certify that you have a severe and prolonged mental or physical impairment which restricts your activities of daily living. A disability amount may be claimed if you meet the requirements.

Who Qualifies?

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • If you have a permanent or prolonged disability in mental or physical functions.
  • You have marked restriction in one or more of the following areas: speaking, hearing, walking, elimination (bowel or bladder functions), feeding, or dressing.
  • You require life sustaining therapy.

What Do They Mean By Life Sustaining Therapy?

Individuals receiving extensive therapy for a minimum of 14 hours a week qualify under ‘life sustaining therapy’. Specifically for cystic fibrosis patients, physiotherapy treatment for airway clearance and inhaled nebulized antibiotics can be counted as hours towards the minimum weekly requirement for life sustaining therapy. Please visit the Canada Revenue Agency for a Disability Tax Credit Application or ask your social worker for more information.

Employment Insurance

You may be eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) or Sickness benefits (SB). Talk to your CF social worker to help make the right decision for you.
Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance for unemployed Canadians while they look for work or upgrade their skills, as well as Canadians who are sick, pregnant or need to care for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death. Regular benefits can be paid if you lose your job through no fault of your own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and you are available for and able to work but you can’t find a job.

You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you have accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter. Please note that If you filed a claim for benefits within the last 52 weeks, you may be able to reactivate this claim. In most cases you must have worked a minimum of 420 to 700 insurable hours to be eligible to collect EI. (Currently with COVID-19 pandemic, these rules do not apply. Current rules Till Sep 2021; Sickness benefits – current rules in place till Sep 25, 2021 However, it depends on where you live in Canada and the unemployment rate in your economic region at the time of filing your claim.

Sickness benefits (SB) are paid to those who are unable to work due to sickness or injury. You may be eligible if you have an illness or injury that is preventing you from working. You will need a medical certificate from your doctor to qualify. Sick benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks. To apply for either EI or SB you can submit an application online (see below) or in person, even if you receive or will receive money when you become unemployed. You will have to provide proof of your employment (such as: pay stubs, cancelled pay cheques, T4 slip, work schedules). If possible, EI will use the proof to calculate your claim. If you are applying for maternity, parental, compassionate care, or sickness benefits, you should apply as soon as you stop working. Delay in filing your claim for benefits beyond 4 weeks after your last day of work may cause loss of benefits.
Documents required for claiming EI include:

  • Social insurance number (SIN)
  • Record of employment (ROE), personal identification.
  • Complete bank information.
  • A medical certificate
  • Detailed facts and information about your most recent employment and medical facts as to why you have been dismissed from your job.

For more information please ask to speak to your social worker or call Service Canada directly at 1-800-206-7218.

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is a program provided by the Ontario Government that provides support to individuals with a proven disability who are in financial need. It is intended to meet the needs of people with disabilities and help them to become more independent. It has two parts: it provides financial assistance to people with disabilities and the Employment Supports portion of ODSP provides support for people with disabilities to obtain and keep a job. To meet the eligibility requirements, you must:

  • Be a resident of Ontario
  • Be over the age of 18
  • Qualify financially
  • Have a substantial physical and/or mental impairment which is expected to last at least 12 months or more.
  • The impairment limits the person’s ability to complete activities of daily living in at least one of the following areas: personal care, activities in the community or activities in the workplace.

You may qualify if you:

  • are single and have less than a total of approximately $8,000 in cash, RRSP’s or in insurance policies (although these exact amounts can change and it is best to check on the ODSP website.
  • have a spouse or common law partner and have less than a total of $7,500 in cash, RRSP’s or in insurance policies

If you fit in either of these categories and have dependent children, you are allowed an additional $500 in assests for each child.

Here is a list of frequently asked questions that an ODSP office might ask you:

  • How much money do you have in the bank?
  • How much cash do you have?
  • Do you have RRSPs?
  • How much money do you make a week?
  • How much do you pay for rent?
  • Do you have an insurance policy?
  • Do you own your own home?
  • Do you have an OSAP student loan?
  • Are you collecting Old Age Security?
  • Are you collecting Employment Insurance?
  • Are you collecting Canada Pension/Quebec Pension Plan?

The initial step in applying for ODSP involves setting up an appointment at your local ODSP office, which can be done in person or over the phone. To find the address and phone number of the ODSP office nearest to you, please call 1-888-789-4199 or please visit the Government of Ontario website

Once your appointment is made, the office will provide you with a list of documents that you need to bring to the appointment, such as Social Insurance Number, OHIP Number, proof of birth date, immigration status, records of bank statements, and proof of expenses (e.g. rent receipts, school and employment activities). If you require special help, (a sign language interpreter, large print forms etc.) please inform the office while booking an appointment so that the necessary resources will be made available to you. Your appointment will take about 1 ½ hours and your financial status will be reviewed in detail.

If you qualify financially, you will be given a package of 4 forms to fill out. This package is called the Disability Determination Package (DDP). The 4 forms are:

  1. Health Status Report: This form must be filled out by a doctor.
  2. Activities of Daily Living Report: There is a list on the front of the Activities of Daily Living Report form that will tell you who is able to fill this out.
  3. A Medical Consent Form: You must sign this form so that your doctor or medical professional has your permission to release medical information to the ODSP office.
  4. A Self Report: This is your chance to tell ODSP, in your words, what it is like to live with your disability. Please note: you do not have to fill out this form but ODSP would like to hear what you have to say.

With the help from the CF team, the ODSP package should be completed within 90 days of receiving the package. The completed forms are to be mailed to the Disability Adjudication Unit, where a decision will be made if you qualify and mailed to you in writing.

Ministry of Community and Social Services
Ontario Disability Support Program
Disability Adjudication Unit
Box B18
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1R3

When you have been qualified and accepted for Ontario Disability Support Program, you will be entitled to a Drug card. This will allow you access to medications that are on the Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB) formulary.

How much money could you get from ODSP? Well that depends on your situation!

  • You could get as much as $ 930 per month if you are single.
  • You may get as much as $1417 per month for a family of two.

This is completely voluntary but it is meant to help people with disabilities prepare for, find, and maintain employment. For more information, please talk to your CF social worker.

Ontario Works (OW)

If you need money right away for food and housing, Ontario Works might be able to help you.

Ontario Works provides financial and employment assistance to people in temporary financial need. People receiving assistance through Ontario Works are expected to participate in a wide range of employment assistance activities which help them prepare for, find, and keep a job.

  • All applicants must be residents of Ontario.
  • Applicants must be eligible financially and willing to participate in employment activities.
  • Financial need is determined according to family size, income, assets, and housing costs and is updated as circumstances change. For example, a single person can only have assets (either cash or specific items that can be easily converted to cash) valued at up to $520. For families, the asset limit is higher.
  • Participation expectations are laid out in an agreement, which is signed by each individual applicant and updated as activities are completed or modified.
  • The agreement includes a plan to take part in employment assistance activities that support the individual’s shortest route to a job.

The application for Ontario Works is a two-stage process beginning with a call to an Ontario Works Intake Screening Unit (call centre). During the initial telephone interview, you will be provided with information about the program and asked for information about your financial and employment situation.

The second stage of the application is completed in person at your local Ontario Works office. There you will be required to complete and sign a detailed application form and a participation agreement outlining a plan to return as quickly as possible to paid employment.

To begin the application process you will need to call the Intake Screening Unit (call centre) nearest to your home. The Social Worker can help you find this location.

All Ontario Works applicants without Grade 12 (high school diploma) or equivalent without proof of a learning disorder are required to take a literacy screening test. In addition, Ontario Works participants whose reading, writing, and/or math skills appear to be a barrier to employment may be asked to complete the screening test and/or be sent for an assessment. Some people haven’t been able to obtain or keep a job because they do not have basic reading, writing and math skills. Literacy screening and training connects people on assistance with the help they need.

Ontario Works is focused on helping people find and keep employment. Ontario Works provides a range of employment assistance such as:

  • Practical help in finding a job, such as writing résumés and letters of application and how to perform well in interviews, delivered through resource centres
  • Community and employment placements to gain working experience
  • Basic education and job skills training such as keyboarding, forklift operating, chainsaw operating, hospitality
  • Support in developing self-employment opportunities
  • Learning, Earning, and Parenting (LEAP) to help young parents finish high school, learn more about parenting, and get a job
  • Literacy screening and training
  • Addiction treatment
  • Earning exemptions that allow participants to earn income as they move back into the workforce

When you have qualified for Ontario Works, you are now entitled to receive a Drug card. This will allow you access to medications that are on the Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB) formulary. If a medication is not covered, your doctor can write a letter asking for a special release for you. If this is applicable, it may need to be reviewed and renewed annually.

The Ontario Works website provides you with the latest news about Ontario Works, answers to frequently asked questions, and access to publications for participants, employers, communities, and the public. To apply for Ontario Works financial and employment assistance call your local social assistance office or speak with your Social Worker for assistance. Information can also be obtained on the Ministry of Community and Social Services Website or speak to your social worker for more information.

Costs & Drug Coverage Information

Find more information on the financial support available for medication on the medication & drug access page, under the Living with CF heading.