Equality and Justice
For People With Disabilities

Persons with disabilities and their caregivers during COVID-19: What Are the Benefits Available?

Published on August 27, 2020

Persons with disabilities and their caregivers during COVID-19: What Are the Benefits Available?

Joyce Zhao, University of Ottawa Law Student, August 2020

COVID-19 has impacted many people’s life, and it is especially so for persons with disabilities and their caregivers. From increased expenses for medical needs and groceries, to loss of income because of caregiving, unexpected costs incur and accumulate over time. In recognition of this, both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario announced benefits to provide additional support for persons with disabilities and their caregivers. This article introduces three COVID-19 related benefits: a one-time payment to persons with disabilities, the Support for Families Program, and the recently proposed Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. You can find out about other available benefits by using the link to the COVID-19 Benefits Finder at the end of this article. 

One-time Payment to Persons with Disabilities

Beginning this fall, the Government of Canada will make a one-time, non-taxable, non-reportable payment of $600 to eligible individuals. This is an automatic payment, so you do not need to apply for it. However, you may need to take action to ensure your eligibility for this payment. 

According to the Government of Canada website, this automatic payment will be issued to 

- “holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate, and
- beneficiaries as at July 1, 2020 of:
          - Canada Pension Plan Disability
          - Quebec Pension Plan Disability Pension, or
          - one of the disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada”.

If you have not applied for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) or if you have an expired DTC certificate, you must apply for it by September 25, 2020 to be eligible for this payment.

To check eligibility for the DTC and for more information on its application, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

To facilitate the delivery of the payment, you can contact the responsible office to update your address and banking information. 

For more information on this automatic payment and contact methods, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits/one-time-payment-persons-disabilities.html

Support for Families program

The Government of Ontario provides a one-time payment to parents in relation to the educational costs of their children while staying at home due to COVID-19. For each child from age 0 to 12, the payment is $200; for each child or youth from age 0 to 21 with special needs, the payment is $250. Parents, guardians, and caregivers are all considered as parents in this program. 

Eligible parents must apply online for this program by August 31, 2020 at midnight EST. While there is no income requirement for this program, custody of the child is required for the applying parent. 

For more information and to apply online, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-families

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit 

On August 20, 2020, the Employment and Social Development Canada announced several new measures to help Canadians in economic recovery, including The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). This benefit recognizes the loss of income by the caregivers for reasons relating to their caregiving responsibilities and helps to relieve financial pressure on the households. 

The CRCB makes payment to eligible Canadians in the amount of $500 per week, up to 26 weeks per household. According to the Government of Canada website, the benefit is provided to “eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:

- a child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
- a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
- a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.”

For complete information on the new measures proposed, including the CRCB, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/government-of-canada-announces-plan-to-help-support-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-recovery.html?fbclid=IwAR2xF0qVc9qY2soZ2XiA0Akz6iGYfC8TFGzcxwZxI-EOFXBfzTXtNFDTkwo

On August 26, 2020, the Government released additional details of the CRCB. Please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/supporting-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-economy-re-opening-increased-access-to-ei-and-recovery-benefits.html

Other Benefits

The above three benefits are only part of the benefits provided by the Government of Canada and the provincial government. You may be eligible for other benefits and relief. To find out what benefits are available to you, use the COVID-19 Benefits Finder at https://covid-benefits.alpha.canada.ca/en/start