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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. 37.9% of the Nova Scotian population (over the age of 15) 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, the Nova Scotia Disability Support Program offers support.

Key Takeaways

  • Residents of Nova Scotia living with a disability can get financial assistance through the Disability Support Program (DSP). 
  • To be eligible for the DSP, you must be a resident of Nova Scotia who is at least 19 years old and living with a disability. 
  • You can get up to $1,393 for basic costs such as food, shelter, clothing and other personal expenses through the Standard Household Rate. 

Nova Scotia Disability Support Program 

The Nova Scotia Disability Support Program (DSP) includes multiple voluntary programs designed to help those living with: 

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

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

Programs Under The Nova Scotia Disability Program

As mentioned, there are many different programs you may qualify for under the DSP. Here are some of the programs you can get financial support for if you live with a disability. 

Standard Household Rate

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 their household composition.

DSP ParticipantSpouseDependent ChildRent/Own Board

Standard Household Rate – Rent/Own  – If you rent or own your home, you’re eligible for “Standard Household Rate – Rent/Own”.

Standard Household Rate – Board – If you board in a shelter, you will receive the “Standard Household Rate – Board”, which is outlined in the table below.

Standard Household Rate – Essentials – If you’re not eligible for the standard household rate above, you may be eligible for the essentials rate if you are temporarily in a hospital, rehabilitation centre, or shelter.

Independent Living Support (ILS)

The Independent Living Support (ILS) program assists with daily living activities. The goal is to promote independence amongst its participants by aiding with laundry, household maintenance, cooking, shopping and other day-to-day activities. 

Alternative Family Support Program

This program provides support for individuals who would prefer to live in a family-like setting. This program offers more flexibility and alternative options so that the unique needs of individuals can be accommodated. For more information about the Alternative Family Support Program, you can visit the Government of Nova Scotia website. 

Licensed Homes For Special Care

This program helps place individuals in need into Homes For Special Care, which includes:

  • Small Option Homes (SOH)
  • Group Homes
  • Residential Care Facilities
  • Adult Residential Centres
  • Regional Rehabilitation Centres

Direct Family Support for Children (DFSC) & Enhanced Family Support for Children (EFSC)

This program supports families who have children with disabilities living at home. The goal is to maximize the support they need and prevent any delays if out-of-home placement is needed. For more information and eligibility requirements for DFSC and EFSC, visit the Government of Nova Scotia website.

Flex Program

If you have a disability and live alone, with your family, or with your personal support network, you can get individualized funding through the Flex program. The goal is to provide financial support to those with a disability so they may afford expenses related to their disability. The funding is also meant to help the individual gain better independence and delay or prevent their need for the DSP-funded residential support option.

Note: For a full list of programs, click here.

Who Is Eligible For The Nova Scotia Disability Support Program? 

Generally, to be eligible for the programs under the Nova Scotia DSP, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • 19 years +
  • Lawfully entitled to remain in Canada
  • Resident of Nova Scotia
  • Has a valid Nova Scotia health card

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

Are you eligible for the Nova Scotia Child Benefit?

What Is The Nova Scotia Disability Support Program Application Process Like?

To determine the level of support you require and the programs you’re eligible for, you’ll undergo an assessment with a case worker. 

1. Assessment

A Care Coordinator conducts a functional assessment of 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. 

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. 

Nova Scotia Disability Support FAQs

How much can you get on disability in Nova Scotia?

The amount you can get will vary based on your marital status, number of children you have and whether you rent/own or board. Depending on those factors, you can get up to $1,393 a month. 

Who can I contact?

You can contact the Department of Community Services at 1-877-424-1177 or call your Care Coordinator directly for more information about the Standard Household Rate program.

Can children qualify under the DSP? 

Yes, children who are under 19 may qualify for the Direct Family Support for Children (DFSC) program and the Enhanced Family Support for Children (EFSC) program.
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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