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Is there financial assistance available for post-secondary students with disabilities?
There are different types of financial assistance available for students with disabilities. They may depend on your individual need or your program.
A disability can occur at any time in your life. You could have been born with a disability, it may have been the result of an accident or developed over time as you age. The Government of Canada does not have a single, official definition of disability.
If you are applying for financial assistance, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) defines a disability as “any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation.”
A permanent disability is lifelong, while a persistent or prolonged disability will impact your life for at least 12 months.
To get financial assistance due to your disability, you must provide documentation from your healthcare provider. The Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at your school should be able to help you navigate this process and ensure you receive the support you need.
Is financial support available through OSAP?
The Canada Student Grant for Students with Disabilities is available to students with disabilities for each school year you are enrolled in a designated school.
You can apply for this grant as part of your OSAP application by submitting a Disability Verification Form and any additional documentation from your healthcare provider confirming your disability.
You can get this grant for each year of your studies as long as you qualify. The amount you receive remains the same regardless of your assessed need.
What other financial assistance options do I have?
Students can also apply for other financial assistance depending on their identified needs.
Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD) and the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities (CSG-PDSE) - This funding helps pay for educational services and equipment you may need to participate in your studies. It may also cover costs for psycho-educational or disability assessments.
Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) - The DSO helps adults with developmental disabilities connect to services and supports in their communities.
Disability Award - This program provides injured Canadian Armed Forces members or Veterans with a tax-free award for an injury or illness resulting from military service. If you are approved for a Disability Award you may have flexible payment options.
Excise Gasoline Tax Refund - If you have a permanent mobility impairment and cannot safely use public transportation, you can ask for a refund of part of the federal excise tax on the gasoline you buy. A qualified medical practitioner must certify your eligibility.
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) - This program gives financial and employment assistance to people with disabilities.
Tax Credits and Deductions - There are specific tax credits and deductions available for persons with disabilities, their supporting family members, and their caregivers.
Documents and Record Keeping
You may need to provide estimates for the costs of the services and equipment you will need. Some programs require you to save receipts for each item and keep a time log that shows when you used each resource. If you do not meet these requirements you may be asked to return all or part of the funding.
Examples of the kind of information you may need to save or document:
- Receipt Summary for Equipment, Software and Other Items
- Specialized Transportation: Taxi Receipt Log
- Counselling & Therapies Timelog
Your school may provide additional grants and bursaries for students with disabilities. You can find the information through your Student Accessibility Services (SAS).
Can I get help repaying my loans?
If you need assistance paying your student loans off because of a recognized disability, you may be eligible for repayment assistance or even have your debt cancelled.
The Repayment Assistance Plan - Disability Assistance program is available for anyone with a student loan in repayment with a disability recognized by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. To be eligible, you must fall within the income threshold.
The Severe and Permanent Disability Benefit is available if you have an eligible severe permanent disability that prevents you from working or studying. Your remaining loan may be cancelled if you qualify, but you would not be eligible to receive any additional Canada Student Grants or Canada Student Loans again.
If you are not ready for post-secondary education, you may be eligible for financial assistance based on your circumstances.
For More Information
- Disability Services and Supports - Find out what kind of services you can access as a person with a disability in Ontario.
- Health & Disability Law - Clear language publications about health and disability laws. From Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).
- Benefits Wayfinder - This bilingual one-stop portal lets you search for federal, provincial, and territorial benefits; from Prosper Canada.
February 24, 2023