Paying for long-term care
Get current accommodation costs and learn how the Long-Term Care Rate Reduction Program helps low-income residents pay for basic accommodation.
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Long-term care accommodation costs
All long-term care home residents are required to contribute towards the cost of accommodation and meals. This is called a co-payment fee.
The amount of your co-payment fee is based on whether you are in a basic, semi-private or private room.
Regardless of room type, all long-term care residents are entitled to the same level of care.
The Ministry of Long-Term Care sets maximum co-payment fees each year. These are standard across all long-term care homes in Ontario, whether for profit or not-for-profit.
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In addition to your co-payment fee, your long-term care home may charge extra for optional services, such as:
- cable TV
Reduced rates for low-income residents
If you are a resident and cannot afford the basic co-payment fee, you may be eligible for financial help through the Long-Term Care Rate Reduction Program.
This program helps cover the co-payment fee for eligible:
- residents living in basic accommodation
- spouses or partners who live together in a two-bed semi-private room that has been redesignated as basic accommodation
Regular semi-private and private accommodation are not eligible for a rate reduction.
There is no specific income threshold for receiving a rate reduction because the Long-Term Care Rate Reduction Program considers multiple factors in calculating a resident's rate reduction.
While everyone’s circumstances are different, a person who is not claiming any dependant deductions or income exclusions (please see below for more details) would likely qualify for a rate reduction if their income is $25,049 or less (based on the basic accommodation rate effective October 1, 2022).
The amount of rate reduction you receive will depend on:
- your income
- whether you need to support dependants (a spouse or child) living in the community
Most people who receive a rate reduction still pay a portion of their co-payment fees.
To apply for the program, you or your lawful representative must complete an application form and submit it to your long-term care home.
Benefits that affect rate reductions
Before you apply, or to calculate if you are likely to quality for a rate reduction, make sure you are receiving all the government benefits you may be entitled to.
If you are age 65 or over
You may qualify for:
If you have a partner or spouse who is also eligible for OAS, you can calculate your benefits separately, resulting in both you and your partner or spouse receiving a higher benefit amount. To do this, fill out a form for Involuntary Separation (the form name is unrelated to your marital status).
If you are under age 65 or ineligible for Old Age Security
You may qualify for the:
How rate reductions are calculated
The Long-Term Care Rate Reduction Program is based on your annual net income. The program uses this formula to calculate reduced monthly rates:
Reduced monthly rate = (annual net income ÷ 12) − comfort allowance − dependant deductions
Calculation terms defined
Annual net income
Follow these steps to calculate your annual net income (do not use this method if you are eligible for ODSP or are in the process of transitioning from one set of government benefits to another):
- Start with your most recent Notice of Assessment. Your annual net income will be on line 23600. (If you find a discrepancy or error in your Notice of Assessment, contact the Canada Revenue Agency for assistance.)
- Add any new income that is coming to you but that is not included in your Notice of Assessment.
- Some income can be excluded from your net income amount. If any of these apply to you, subtract:
- taxes payable
- Registered Disability Savings Plan income
- Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan death benefit income
You may be able to exclude additional sources of income if:
- it was applicable to a period when you were not receiving a rate reduction, and is income that is no longer available to you
- it is lump-sum income used to pay for an assistive device from the Assistive Devices Program or used to pay for long-term care accommodation
Please note that your rate reduction calculation will not include your assets. For example, a house you own will not be counted towards your annual net income.
The comfort allowance is a portion of income retained for personal needs, such as clothing, telephone, cable and the Ontario Drug Benefit Program’s mandatory prescription co-payment. Currently, the monthly amount is $149, but this may fluctuate due to changes in income during the year.
You may be able to retain some income to support a dependant spouse or child(ren) living in the community. The actual amount, if any, depends on the dependant’s own net income.
Your spouse or child must access all income sources available to them before you can request a dependant deduction.
A spouse means two people who are married to each other or live together in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage.
To be eligible for the dependant spouse deduction:
- You must have been living with your spouse immediately before entering your current long-term care home. If you lived in another long-term care home, hospital or other institution prior to entering your current long-term care home, your spouse must have been living with you immediately before you entered one of these institutions.
- Your spouse cannot be receiving an OAS pension or eligible to receive an OAS pension.
A child is considered a dependant if they are:
- under age 18
- under age 25 and are financially dependent on you while enrolled full-time at a recognized secondary or postsecondary school
Situations where you cannot receive a dependant deduction
- A resident’s dependant does not meet the eligibility criteria described above.
- The spouse or child is also living in a long-term care home, hospital or other government institution.
- You, your spouse or child are receiving income support from ODSP or Ontario Works directly or as part of a benefit unit.
When to apply
You can only apply for a rate reduction after you move into your long-term care home. Apply within 90 days of moving in.
Your rate reduction will begin to apply for up to 90 days before the date you submit your application. To make sure you receive a rate reduction for as many days as possible, submit your application within your first 90 days at your long-term care home.
How to apply
Whether you are applying for the first time or re-applying, the process is the same.
- Make sure you are receiving all the benefits you might be eligible for.
- Gather information about all your sources of income.
- Inform your long-term care home that you intend to apply. The home will provide you with the application form(s) and can help you complete the application.
- Complete and submit the application, along with any required supporting documents, to your long-term care home.
Your home will submit the completed application to the ministry. Once processed, you will receive a rate statement letter outlining your monthly rate.
Re-apply every year
The Long-Term Care Rate Reduction Program runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.
Because your income can change, you must re-apply for a rate reduction each year.
For your reduced rate to begin on July 1, you must re-apply between July 1 and September 28. If you do not re-apply, your long-term care home can charge you the full cost for basic accommodation.
If you re-apply and qualify after September 28, your reduced rate will begin to apply for up to 90 days before you submitted your application.
If you are already receiving a rate reduction the year you turn 65, you will have to re-apply one month after your birthday, which is typically when you would transition from one set of government benefits to another.
For more information, or to get help filling out forms, speak to the staff at your long-term care home.
If you still have questions, email the ministry at LTC.RateReduction@ontario.ca. If you don't have access to email, call the Long-Term Care Family Support and Action Line at