Living with a disability can be an expensive ordeal when you’re required to purchase all the equipment to help you live a normal life. Without the proper health care coverage, this can be a serious out-of-pocket expense that few can afford.
In the early 2000s, the Ontario government recognized a need for a program that assisted disabled individuals with their equipment expenses, and thus the Assistive Devices program was born. There are many benefits of the Assistive Devices Program that Ontarians can receive under certain conditions.
If you have a disability that requires assistance from equipment, you could be eligible for this program. Learn everything you need to know about the Assistive Devices Program and whether you qualify.
What Is the Assistive Devices Program?
The Assistive Devices Program is a government-funded program that covers assistive devices for those with disabilities. The program covers 75 percent of the cost of the equipment or 100 percent if you receive financial support from Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, or Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities, making equipment much more affordable for Ontarians.
To find a full list of what’s covered, visit the Ontario website for the Assistive Devices Program for more information.
Do You Qualify?
To qualify, you need to be an Ontario resident with a valid health card and a disability requiring assistance for longer than six months. You also cannot be receiving support from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or Veteran Affairs for Group “A” veterans.
One component of your life that does not impact your eligibility is your income. Ontarians of all income levels are encouraged to apply for the Assistive Devices Program if they match all other criteria.
If you don’t match all necessary criteria, there’s still hope. There are special considerations granted to certain individuals who may not originally qualify but who require additional assistance.
Are My Repairs Covered as Well?
Once the equipment has been provided to you by the program, it is up to you to maintain it. This means that the program will not cover any necessary repairs to your equipment.
The program can, however, contribute to the replacement costs of your equipment, granted that you are still covered under warranty. The program will also assess the cost of the replacement, and if deemed affordable, it will not contribute to your equipment replacement.
How to Apply
To apply for the Assistive Devices Program, you’ll need to follow two steps, as outlined on their website.
- You’ll need to be examined by an ADP registered occupational therapist or physiotherapist who will determine which type of device you require. To find a registered therapist near you, you can email the ADP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complete an application form.
It’s that simple!
Is There a Catch?
Back in 2009, a scandal erupted after Jim McCarter, with the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, released a report that stated stores were charging three times what covered assistive devices were worth. Since devices covered under the program must be purchased from registered stores, many retailers recognized they could increase the prices and still make the sale, since the government paid for the majority of the cost.
The government has since cracked down on retailers trying to take advantage of the system, but it’s important to be aware that overpricing may still exist. When you go to purchase your device, make sure you have done your research beforehand and compared a variety of different options to find the best device at the best price.