SSAH/Passport Temporary Allowable Expenses Update

Family Alliance Ontario emailed Minister of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) to with some questions to ask for clarity on the Temporary allowable expenses for SSAH and Passport funding and he responded back. We want to thank Family Alliance Ontario for sharing this information with us, so that we can pass it along to families as well.

These are some of the questions asked by families and the responses from Minister Smith’s office. 

1. 25% advance:

Will this be an automatic deposit? Or do we need to do something to get it?

No action needs to be taken by the family or program recipient. All active program recipients that self-administer their funding will receive an advance payment equal to one quarter of their annual, self-administered funding amount. Advance payments will be issued automatically to those program recipients who have submitted a 2019/20 claim as of March 31st, 2020. This advance payment will be issued automatically by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for those who are registered for automatic deposit, or by cheque mailed by Canada Post.

When can people expect their 25% advance?

Advance funding for eligible Passport recipients will start to flow to program participants the week of May 18th.

SSAH Renewal Packages are currently being mailed to all families that were enrolled in the program last fiscal year (i.e. April 1, 2019 through to March 31, 2020)*.  It is expected that all 2020/21 Renewal Packages will be received by all families who continue to remain eligible for SSAH funding by early June 2020.  

*Note: families with children who turned 18 years old prior to March 31, 2019 will not receive a 2020/21 Renewal Package.

Individuals/families who are eligible to receive 2020/21 SSAH funding can begin to immediately purchase services and supports according to the existing program guidelines in conjunction with the recently announced temporary changes that expanded the list of eligible expenditures, which are effective as of April 1, 2020.

Is that the max for COVID related expenses?

There is no maximum amount allotted for COVID expenses. Families can purchase services and supports, as long as they meet the criteria in the list of eligible expenses.

Please note program recipients will need to stay within their total annual funding amount for the 2020/21 fiscal year. Recipients must balance their current needs against what they may require for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Is this optional or mandatory?

All active program recipients that self-administer their funding are automatically eligible to receive these funding changes.

2.  Timing Requirements:

What exactly is this referring to? Please define 

These temporary changes are effective immediately and can be applied to expenditures dating back to April 1, 2020.  These temporary changes will remain in place until further notice by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. All other aspects of the program guidelines remain in effect.

3.   2019-2020 Fiscal Year Unspent Funds:  

 Can unspent funds be carried over into the 2020-21 fiscal year?

Active program recipients, who self-administer their funding and who submitted a claim in 2019/20 will be eligible to receive an advancement of up to $1,000 from their remaining 2019/20 authorization to offset the expenditures they have incurred but were unable to submit claims for due to regional offices being closed and / or adhering to physical distancing. 

This funding can only be used for expenditures incurred from April 1, 2019 through to March 31, 2020.  This funding is not to be used for expenditures incurred before or after those dates.

4.  Data Plans:  is this an expense that would be covered, would it be month by month or from April 1 - March 31.

Yes, internet and cell phone data plans are temporarily eligible only for monthly costs for the duration of the temporary measures being in effect. Once the government-mandated restrictions are lifted and the program transitions back to standard program requirements, these purchases will not be reimbursed. You will be given as much notice as possible to prepare you for the return to business as usual.

Note: Cancellation fees and/or renewals fees will not be reimbursed.

5.  Can you purchase Netflix or Amazon Prime

Yes, these and other similar services can be temporarily purchased to provide program recipients the opportunity to remain entertained and engaged at home, while following physical distancing.

6.  More specifics on procedure and items such as sensory

The purchase of sensory items are a temporarily eligible expense to support recipients who rely on sensory items to alleviate anxiety/stress and/or support any clinical or behavioural plans. This could include multi-sensory related products and technologies.

7. Does the 25% apply to SSAH?

The advance payment equal to one quarter of their annual, self-administered funding amount applies to both the SSAH and Passport programs.

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