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People with disabilities lead fulfilling lives – however, they might experience a bit more difficulty in doing certain activities or interacting with others and the world around them. 

In Canada, over 2.3 million people over the age of 15 have a disability. Nova Scotia has the highest number of people with a disability than any other province in Canada. In Nova Scotia, 30% of the population, or 229,430 people, all have at least one disability

The majority of people with disabilities in Nova Scotia are over the age of 65 (41%), but still, disabilities appear in people of all ages. While Nova Scotians with disabilities experience obstacles that others without disabilities do not, there is support available to assist with the struggles of disabilities. 

Disability Support Program Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s Disability Support Program (DSP) is for Nova Scotians with:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Long-term mental illness
  • Physical disabilities

The program helps children, youth and adults experiencing the above disabilities with their independence through community-based, residential and day programs. 

Find out here how to qualify for the disability tax credit. 

How Much Can You Get Through Nova Scotia’s Disability Support Program? 

Through the program’s Standard Household rate, eligible participants receive a joint sum of money for shelter allowance and personal allowance. This is meant to support people with the costs of clothing, gas, shelter, utilities, and other personal items. The amount of money given depends on one’s accommodation and on their household composition. 

There are 3 types of household rates:

  1. Standard Household Rate – Rent/Own. If you rent or own your home, you’re eligible for this rate. 
  2. Standard Household Rate – Board. If you board in a shelter, you will receive this rate. 
  3. Standard Household Rate – Essentials (Flat $165/month)

If you aren’t eligible for the above two rates, or a Residential support option, or an Alternative Family Support option, you’ll be eligible for this rate. This rate is for participants who are temporarily in a hospital, rehabilitation centre, or shelter. 

Household Composition And Standard Household Rate (Monthly)

DSP ParticipantSpouseDependent ChildRent/Own Board

Who Is Eligible For The Disability Support Program In Nova Scotia 

To be eligible for Nova Scotia’s DSP, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • 19 years +
  • Lawfully entitled to remain in Canada
  • Resident and makes their home in Nova Scotia
  • Has a valid Nova Scotia health card

There are some exceptions to the age criteria. Some people with disabilities may be considered for the program at age 16-19 if:

  • They meet all other DSP requirements
  • DSP can safely and consistently meet their assessed needs
  • No alternative support program exists in Nova Scotia
  • Placement is an appropriate option and approved by the Director of DSP

You must also have one or more of the following disabilities:

  • Intellectual or Developmental Disability
  • Long-Term Mental Illness
  • Physical Disability
  • Acquired Brain Illness

And, you must meet the following additional requirements:

  • Be able to provide a physician’s report/medical assessment
  • Consent to participate in an assessment from DSP to determine eligibility
  • Undergo a functional assessment of their support level requirements
  • Undergo a financial assessment
  • Complete a program application

Disability Support Program Application Process

The DSP Application process comprises 3 steps:

1. Assessment

A Care coordinator conducts a functional assessment on the participant. In this assessment, the applicant provides unique and meaningful information about their situation. The applicant must consent to the assessment and support planning process, and provide all required supporting documentation, including a medical assessment. Then, the Care Coordinator develops a holistic perspective of the applicant’s strengths, resources, foals, needs, etc. 

2. Determining Eligibility And Level Of Support

The Care Coordinator reviews the application, documentation, and information from the functional assessment. Then, they assess the applicant’s medical care and behavioural support needs and determine if they are consistent with any of the DSP’s levels of support. After, the Care Coordinator will review the outcome of the eligibility determination with the applicant and their family/support system.

3. Casework Supervisor Review And Approval

Finally, the casework supervisor reviews the assessment to ensure agreement with the Case Coordinator’s determination of the level of support. The applicant is then notified of the Department’s decision, and determined level of support in writing. 

Every applicant has the right to appeal the Department’s decision if they disagree with the outcome. They must file an appeal within 30 days of receiving written notice of the decision. 

Looking to buy a car? Learn more about getting a car loan while on disability.

Final Thoughts

Disabilities affect Nova Scotians more than they do in any other province. The DSP offers financial, medical and emotional support to people with disabilities, and helps them regain their independence. 

Chrissy Kapralos avatar on Loans Canada
Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy is a Toronto-based communications advisor. With an English degree from the University of Toronto and editing courses under her belt from Ryerson University, she has continued her lifelong passion for writing and editing. In addition to working for Loans Canada on a variety of financial topics, Chrissy has a few years of resume writing and editing under her belt, and takes great pleasure in helping people find work that fits with their experience and passions. When she isn't working, you can find her practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, reading up on financial and real estate news, or planning her next trip abroad.

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