Care and support services in Canada are not free. Many families shoulder some of the financial burden in caring for an elderly relative, and most do so willingly. In some cases, however, the demands of caring for a sick or disabled family member can jeopardize your job or the financial security of your family. As a caregiver, you may be eligible for elderly grants that can give you some financial support.
Compassionate Care Benefit Program
CCB is a type of employment insurance benefit. The government pays CCB to family members who have to take time off work to care for a loved one who is gravely ill or at risk of death. Eligible family members can claim a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits, which may be shared between members of the family. You can claim 55 percent of average insurable earnings up to a yearly maximum salary of $51,300 CAD. This gives a maximum weekly payment of $543 CAD. To find out if you are eligible, and to make an application, visit the Canadian government's CCB website.
Family Caregiver Amount
If the elderly relative is your parent or grandparent and she has a physical or mental disability, you may be entitled to claim an additional $2,121 CAD per year in line 305 of your tax return, "amount for an eligible dependent." The benefit is available only to unmarried caregivers and those who are separated from their spouse. Your relative must live with and be supported by you to be eligible for the benefit. You may need a letter from a medical practitioner showing when your relative's impairment began and what the duration of the impairment is expected to be. Attach this to your tax return when submitting your claim.
Residential Rehabilitation Grants in Ontario
The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, helps homeowners who wish to make their home more suitable for elderly relatives. The program takes the form of a fully forgivable loan which you can use to provide an accessible self-contained unit or garden suite within the home. The maximum loan amount is $60,000 CAD. You don't have to repay the loan as long as you comply with the program's terms and conditions; however, the program currently is available only to First Nations members. For details, contact CMHC at 1-800-668-2642.
Home Adaptations For Seniors' Independence
The HASI elderly grants program is also administered by CMHC. It is designed to cover the cost of minor home adaptations that will bring your home up to basic health and safety standards and help a low-income senior live in the home safely and independently. Eligible home modifications might include, for example, handrails, ramps, chair lifts and height adjustments to counter tops. The maximum loan amount is $10,000 CAD. You don't have to repay the loan as long as the elderly relative continues to live in the home for at least six months after the loan closes. Homeowners can apply for the maximum assistance under both the HASI and RRAP programs, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.
A former corporate real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and personal finance, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.