Benefits for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Recipients
If you're a Niagara resident receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability benefits, financial help is available for essential health and housing stability items and services.
Low-income families who are not on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program may apply for help with last month's rent and rental or mortgage arrears. Eligibility for benefits is based on income and family size.
Discretionary Health Benefits support necessary health and safety needs and must:
- Be approved before purchasing an item or service
- Include one estimate outlining the cost for each item or service requested
- Include medical verification (letter) to support requests for medical necessities
Health-related services and items include:
- Air conditioners
- Beds due to a move
- Blood pressure monitors
- Breast pumps
- Cleaning costs to prevent eviction due to hoarding
- Contact lenses for adults
- CPAP supplies
- Electric hospital beds for persons confined to a bed to prevent bedsores
- Electrical muscle stimulation devices
- Glasses for adults
- Hearing aids
- Home safety items, such as grab bars, bath transfer benches, toilet and shower commodes
- Medical marijuana vaporizer
- Pressure relief mattresses for persons confined to bed to prevent bedsores
- Prosthetic appliances
- Replacement of household items and personal effects in emergency situations due to fire or flood
- TENS machine
- Utility disconnections
Assistive Devices Program
The Assistive Devices Program must be used first for all eligible items. If you're receiving Ontario Works, you may qualify to receive the remaining balance.
For more information, contact the Assistive Devices Program at 1-800-268-6021.
Housing Stability Benefits
Housing Stability Benefits help to cover overdue rent payments or last month's rent.
Individuals or couples are eligible for a maximum of $900 once every 24 months. Families with children are eligible for a maximum of $1600 once every 24 months.
Requests for Housing Stability Benefits must be:
- Approved before you pay to secure or maintain housing
- Received no later than 30 days after your moving date
This benefit may be considered if you're homeless, in an emergency shelter, or moving due to:
- Family violence
- Incapacity or death of a supporting caregiver or family member
- Employment or training opportunities
- A move to more affordable accommodations
- Uninhabitable premises where there is risk to health and safety
- Significant personal health issues
- Discharge from institutions, such as correctional facilities, hospitals, long-term care homes, interval and transition homes
Niagara Kids Benefit
Starting May 1, the Niagara Kids Benefit supports children and youth of Ontario Works recipients living in Niagara in a sport, recreation or arts program of their choice.
Each child may be eligible for up to $300 per calendar year towards an activity.
- Children must be under 18
- Children must be part of an active Ontario Works benefit unit living in Niagara
- Applicants can apply up to 30 days before the registration date of the recreation program. All approvals for benefits must be completed before the program start date.
- Applicants must use other available funding first before using the Niagara Kids Benefit
- Music lessons
- Sports, such as hockey, soccer, baseball, football, gymnastics, cheerleading
- Theatre / drama
- Special interest programs, such as computers, science, nature, robotics
Summer camps are not covered.
Video: Benefits Portal
Learn how the portal works.
Apply online for benefits
The Discretionary Benefits Portal is a fast, easy and secure way to apply online for discretionary and housing stability benefits. You can apply anytime, anywhere and on any device.
To register, you must have a valid email address. Once registered, you can:
- Track the status of all your current and past applications
- Upload documents needed for your application, such as estimates or medical verification
- Get automatic email updates on your application status
- See details about missing information or eligibility decisions
- Apply for multiple items in one application
Other ways to apply
If you can't apply online, there's other ways you can apply.
- Call 905-641-9960 ext. 6072
- Fax your application to 905-984-8760
- Mail your application to the Ontario Works Discretionary Benefit Team at 234 Bunting Rd., St. Catharines, L2R 6Z4
If you're receiving Ontario Works benefits, contact your casemanager directly to request Housing Stability Benefits.