In response to the COVID-19covid 19 outbreak, we made temporary changes to the special services at home program. Learn about these temporary changes due to COVID-19covid 19.

About the program

Families who are caring for a child with a developmental and/or physical disability can apply to the special services at home program to get funding for primary caregiver relief and related supports or for activities of personal growth or development including camps and recreational activities, like swimming and music classes.

Respite enhances the primary caregiver’s capacity to provide care for the child with a disability living at home through the provision of indirect assistance. Indirect assistance can help provide relief to the primary caregiver so that they may take some time away from caregiving, or from one or more of their other responsibilities such as cooking, housekeeping and grocery shopping.

The amount of funding you receive depends on

  • the type and amount of service your child needs
  • what other help is available in your community
  • what kind of support you already receive

What services you can get

The program can help you pay for special services in or outside of your home as long as your child does not receive support from a residential program.

Read the full list of eligible expenses and find out what services are ineligible.

For example, you can hire someone to:

  • help your child learn new skills and abilities, such as improving their communications skills and becoming more independent
  • provide respite support (a break, or respite, from the day-to-day care of your child)

Who you can hire to provide support

You can:

  • hire a worker directly
  • work with an agency to purchase supports from the workers they employ
  • hire a family member who is over the age of 18 and not the primary caregiver, parent, step-parent or spouse

For help finding a worker and for more information on services in your community, please visit respiteservices.com

Eligibility

You can apply for this support if your child:

  • has a developmental and/or physical disability
  • lives in Ontario
  • is under the age of 18
  • needs more support than you can provide
  • lives at home with you, or is not living at home with you and is not being helped by other residential services

How to apply

To apply:

  1. Review the program guidelines and the April 2020 addendum for more information about temporary changes to eligible expenses, while communities are under COVID-19covid 19 restrictions. Download and complete an application form.

    Download application form
    To fill out the form, you must have Adobe Reader. Download it for free from the Adobe website.
    • Download the form by right clicking and choosing “Save link as…”
    • Once the form is downloaded, navigate to the folder you saved the file to (if you’re not sure where the file was saved, check your “downloads” folder).
    • Open the form with Adobe Reader. Do not open it in your web browser.
    • If you receive a message to install Adobe Reader, this means you have opened the form in your browser. Go back to step 2.
    • If you are still unable to open the form, please contact your ministry regional office to obtain a paper form.
  2. Attach a medical statement or psychological assessment to your application. It should include:
    • a description of the disability
    • explanation of why you need the services
    • how much it will cost
  3. Mail the completed application form and the medical assessment to your nearest regional office.

All applications are assessed based your child and family’s unique needs and circumstances. Please notify the local regional office of any changes to your information so that we can keep your file updated.

Information for families enrolled in the program

All families who were enrolled in the program in 2020-2021 and who continue to be eligible for funding will receive a renewal package for 2021-2022. Families should start receiving the renewal package by mail starting mid-May 2021. Please notify the local regional office of any changes to your information so that we can keep your file updated.

If you have a child, or children, who turned 18 years of age before March 31, 2021, you will not receive a 2021/2022 renewal package.

The 2021-2022 renewal package includes:

  • a contract renewal letter for the fiscal year 2021/22
  • copies of the invoice template

How to manage your funding

You can choose to administer your funding in two ways:

  • Self-administered funding: you get your own funding, purchase services and supports on your own and submit expense claims directly to regional offices for reimbursement
  • Agency administered funding: an agency administers your funding on your behalf. Please contact your local regional office to get more information on the list of agencies in your area that can support families who get SSAH funding.

Information about self-administered funding model

Submit your invoices

If you choose to manage your special services at home (SSAH) funding you must send your invoices for eligible services to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for reimbursement.

You have two options. You can:

  • use the 2021/2022 invoices that you received with your SSAH 2021/2022 approval package to e-mailed, faxed, mailed or dropped off
  • submit your invoices electronically through MyDirectPlan

Use the contact information for your local regional office on your invoice if you choose to email, fax, mail or drop off your invoice.

Where possible please limit your invoices to one per month.

Some services have special instructions for submitting invoices:

  • invoices for respite workers must be submitted after the last date of service listed on the invoice
  • invoices for camp registration fees or recreational programs must include registration forms with proof of payment
Use an invoice from this year

You must use the invoice that you received with your 2021/2022 approval package.

If you use an invoice from last year for services incurred after April 1, 2021, we will not accept your invoice. We will return your claim by the same delivery method (email or mail) to you to resubmit.

Send a complete invoice

We cannot process invoices that are incomplete or missing required information. If you submit an incomplete invoice we will return it by the same delivery method (email or mail) to you and your payment will be delayed.

You must include information about each worker who provides you with a service on every invoice. We are looking for basic information such as the worker’s name, phone number and signature and dates that services were provided.

Use one invoice per worker.

Keep your proof of purchase

It is the responsibility of the families to provide proof of purchase of services and confirm the eligibility of the expenses claimed if required for auditing purposes.

Get additional invoices

If you require additional blank invoice templates, you can:

  • make copies of the invoice templates we sent with your approval package
  • contact your special agreements officer and ask them to email you blank invoice templates
  • download a 2021-2022 invoice template

Submit your expense claims

After you purchase services or supports, you can submit your expense claims by:

  • email: email your expense claims to your local regional office
  • mail: mail your expense claims to your local regional office
  • fax: fax your expense claims to your local regional office
  • using our online tool, MyDirectPlan

Use MyDirectPlan

MyDirectPlan is a tool that can help you organize and submit SSAH expenses online. With MyDirectPlan you can:

  • submit your invoices directly to your regional office for approval
  • keep track of your funding budget
  • view used and remaining funds
  • have your workers review and approve their hours online

As a MyDirectPlan user, you will also have access to our mobile app so you can manage your funding on the go and enjoy convenient features, like being able to take photos of your receipt on your phone or tablet and attach it directly to your expenses. The MyDirectPlan (MDP) mobile app is available for download on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

Signing up is easy. To get started all you need is your funding letter and go to www.MyDirectPlan.com and create an account. Our step by step wizard will help you get onboard.

If you have any questions or need assistance contact us:

Allow 30 business days for processing

Please allow 30 business days from the date your completed invoice is received by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for payment to be deposited into your bank account.

If you are new to the program, please allow 30 business days from the date all your banking information and invoice is received for payment to be deposited into your bank account.

Change the information in your file

Change banking information

To change your banking information, please contact your special agreements officer by either mail, email or phone. They will advise of the process to update your file which may include:

  • direct deposit form containing the primary caregiver’s name; and
  • either a void cheque or banking information (typically a letter from your banking institution)
Name change for contract administrator

If you change your name, you must notify your special agreements officer and provide government-issued documents as proof of identity. Acceptable ID includes birth certificate, marriage certificate or a valid driver’s license.

You must bring the originals with you to the ministry office to meet with your special agreement officer in order for a true certified copy to be placed in your file.

Please allow 30 business days for the change to take place.

Address change

If you change your address, please inform your special agreements officer by either mail, email or phone.

List of services you can purchase

Eligible expenses

  • mainstream camp and recreation programs
  • specialized camp and recreation programs
  • advertising for recruitment of a special services worker
  • special services or a support worker to provide respite and/or personal development
  • travel costs associated with transporting special needs child for the worker
  • basic supplies to implement a program for the special needs child (for example, flash cards)
  • membership fees for special needs associations (for example, Special Olympics, Down Syndrome Association)
  • 1 on 1 support worker at camp or recreational program
  • training for a family member or worker that enhances the understanding of the child with a disability’s needs
  • extraordinary cost of childcare (for children aged 12 and above)
  • nursing for medically fragile children
  • routine homemaking tasks – light housecleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grass cutting, and snow removal
  • gym membership fees for the special needs child
  • daycare and nursery school as respite or if recommended for socialization

Ineligible expenses

  • tutoring and academic programs
  • camp fees for siblings
  • basic care (for example, clothing, food, diapers, routine medical costs)
  • one-time admission costs (for example, movies, amusement parks, museums)
  • regular child care fees for children under 12 years
  • fees and tuition costs for education and employment
  • assistive devices, specialized equipment, home modifications
  • dental services
  • 1 on 1 support in a school setting
  • professional services: junior and senior therapists (for example, Intensive Behavioural Intervention, Applied Behaviour Analysis, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy)
  • sports equipment (some items might be eligible during the COVID-19covid 19 pandemic; please refer to the temporary expanded list of eligible expenses)
  • electronics, including phones, computers, tablets (some items might be eligible during the COVID-19covid 19 pandemic; please refer to the temporary expanded list of eligible expenses)

Please contact your special agreements officer if you are unsure if an expense is eligible for reimbursement. The contact information for your special agreements officer is in your contract renewal letter.

Contact us

Payments

For inquiries about payments, please contact the business services unit in your local regional office. The contact information is in the copy of the invoice we sent with your contract approval package. Please only call about invoice payments that you submitted more than 30 business days ago.

When you call, please have your:

  • authorization number (this number changes every contract year)
  • approval letter

We recommend that you keep track of your account balance. A tracking sheet is included in your contract approval package for this purpose. You can also keep track of your balance on MyDirectPlan.

General inquiries

Please contact your special agreements officer for information about the program, if:

  • you require more blank invoices
  • your address changes
  • you have questions about what expenses are eligible
Updated: September 02, 2021
Published: April 14, 2021