There are so many programs available to help those who need it—the problem is, so few programs are well known, meaning those who might make use of them find themselves with little to no information. For people who need expensive devices and supplies in order to live comfortably, it can be overwhelming, but there is help. Take the Assistive Devices Program, for example.
The Assistive Devices Program is designed to provide help, support, and funding to Ontario residents who have long-term physical disabilities and have the need for devices to improve their everyday lives (like wheelchairs, hearing aids, and oxygen equipment). Namely, it's designed to help people achieve more independence and a better quality of life overall by partially covering the costs of these devices. For thousands who qualify, this program has changed their lives and made it easier for them to live day-to-day with as few hurdles as possible. It is a resource worth knowing more about.
Who Is Eligible?
Much like other Ontario programs, the Assistive Devices Program is available to people who live in Ontario, and have a valid Ontario health card issued in their name. It's open to people who have had a physical disability for six months or longer, but the devices covered can't be required exclusively for sports, work, or school (such as wheelchairs used especially for sports, handcycles, or racers). The program also doesn't cover equipment that is available under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or to Group 'A' veterans for their pensioned benefits. For those suffering from a chronic illness or dysfunction that requires long-term oxygen therapy, they may be eligible for home oxygen funding as well.
For each category of devices, there are specific criteria when it comes to eligibility, so it's best to research specific areas when you're considering an application for yourself, or on behalf of someone else.
How Much Does It Cover?
The list of devices covered is fairly extensive—the Assistive Devices Program covers over 8,000 different pieces of equipment and supplies. This can mean everything from wheelchairs and mobility aids to masks and tubing, oxygen delivery equipment, and test strips for insulin-dependent diabetics.
The program itself covers up to 75% of the cost of certain devices, such as artificial limbs, braces, wheelchairs, and breathing aids, but works on a fixed rate for other devices, such as hearing aids. Things like syringes and needles for seniors are paid out directly to them, instead of to an insurance company or pharmacy. When it comes to the Home Oxygen program, the Assistive Devices Program pays the full amount for seniors over 65 and for people 64 and under who are on social assistance, in long-term care living, and more. For others that have the same needs, the Assistive Devices Program covers 75%.
Like with many of these programs, the client will pay a portion of the cost at the time of purchase, and the vendor (pharmacist, medical supply stores, etc.) will bill the ADP with the remainder. In cases where the funding is paid out directly to the person (such as with needles and syringes), the person will pay the full amount themselves, out of the grant money given. Luckily for some, there are also many organizations within Ontario that can help pay a portion of the client's copay, in the event that the cost is still fairly prohibitive. Organizations like the March of Dimes, Kiwanis, and more, as well as social assistance are excellent resources and can help ensure that everything you need is covered.