New Brunswick Disability Support Program

New Brunswick Disability Support Program

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 5, 2021

Having a mental or physical disability can make your life difficult and potentially prevent you from earning a sustainable income. This can be particularly problematic in provinces like in New Brunswick, where the average cost of living is high in certain areas. In fact, a recent study shows that over 20% of working-age (15-64) NB residents currently have at least one disability. Similar statistics can be seen with people who are 65 or over.

That’s why the Government of New Brunswick offers the Disability Support Program. Keep reading to learn what this program can do for NB residents with disabilities.

What Is The Disability Support Program In New Brunswick?

The Disability Support Program is a personalized service offered to disabled New Brunswick residents through the government’s Department of Social Development. When approved, it gives the receiver access to different types of support so that they’ll have an easier time taking care of their own well being and living more independently.

Find out how to qualify for the disability tax credit in Canada.

What Does The New Brunswick Disability Support Program Cover?

Canadians are lucky to have subsidized healthcare but there are certain medical costs that don’t qualify for standard health insurance, even if they’re necessary. Here are some of the services the Disability Support Program can cover in New Brunswick: 

  • Home Support Workers – Disability and health employees that make house-calls can be relatively expensive to hire when funded privately.  
  • Respite – Disabled persons who require temporary planned or emergency care can use the Disability Support Program to hire professional respite workers. 
  • Residential Facility Services – If a disabled resident needs regular nonmedical supervision, the DSP also covers residential facility costs (family/group care, etc.)   
  • Personal Support & Assistance – Disabled persons can use the DSP to pay for the support or assistance that they need in or outside their own home. 
  • Community Participation & Involvement Support – Having easy access to the right communities can provide a lot of additional help for disabled residents. 
  • Personal Training & Skills – Disabled people can also use the DSP to get coverage for personal training or education that they need to live and work. 
  • Transportation Supports – In this case, the type and amount of transportation coverage the DSP can provide depends on the specific disability a person has.  
  • Technical Supports & Assistive Devices – The DSP can also help pay for technical aid or assistive-living tools that aren’t covered by other programs.

What The New Brunswick Disability Support Program Does Not Cover

Before you apply for the Disability Support Program in New Brunswick, keep in mind that there are services and expenses that it cannot provide coverage for, including:

  • Addiction Services – Although it can be a serious medical issue, addiction support for gambling, alcohol and other substances is not covered by the DSP. 
  • Vehicle Retrofitting – Certain types of transportation qualify for the Disability Support Program but not the costs associated with modifying a personal vehicle.
  • Major Home Renovations or Subsidized Living – The DSP doesn’t cover most large home conversions (ramps, elevators, etc.) or mortgage/rent payments.
  • Mental Health Services – While mental health problems can be disabling, many treatments, like psychotherapy or hospitalization, won’t qualify for coverage.
  • Employment Services – It can be tough for a disabled person to find a job without professional help, which is unfortunately not covered by the DSP. 
  • Childcare Services – Similar rules apply to most childcare service costs, such as daycare and preschool fees or hiring home workers (nurses, nannies, etc.). 
  • Income Support – The DSP is not meant to supplement a person’s lack of income. It provides financial coverage for specific disability-related costs.   
  • Medical Services or Prescription Drugs – Medicinal costs like physiotherapy, pharmaceuticals and vision or dental care aren’t eligible for the DSP either. 

Need help covering the cost of a new ride? Find out how to get a car loan while on disability

Who Are The NBACL Independent Facilitators? 

As a Canadian and a New Brunswick resident, you can access a variety of federal and provincial government benefits when you have one or more disabilities. However, the application process is sometimes complicated and restrictive. Similar things can be said about many disability support programs that are funded by community agencies.  

Thankfully, the New Brunswick Association For Community Living (NBACL) is a non-government program that can connect you with many of the same benefits, only with a more personalized approach that’s based on your needs. They do this by assigning you an Independent Facilitator, whose job is to: 

  • Work directly with or assist disabled residents and their families
  • Find the necessary profit and nonprofit support systems on their behalf
  • Help disabled people access different community groups or benefits
  • Help disabled people prepare and submit support program applications
  • Refer clients to other types of government, private or community support
  • Help clients hone their skills so they can develop a better future

NBACL Independent Facilitators are there to personally guide disabled residents toward the best options for their needs and lifestyle. In fact, depending on what disability you have and what your preferences are, the Facilitator may simply refer you to the New Brunswick Disability Support Program and make the application process easier.

If you’re also looking to facilitate the process of filing your taxes, check out disability tax credit consultants

Are You Eligible For The Disability Support Program In New Brunswick?

As mentioned, only specific disabilities, treatments and expenses qualify for coverage under the Disability Support Program in New Brunswick. Even if you currently have one or more disabilities, you must pass the following requirements to become eligible:

  • Be a resident of New Brunswick 
  • Be at least 19 to 64 years old
  • Have a long-term disability (medical conditions that require short-term treatments, like alcohol, drug or gambling addictions will not qualify)
  • Have a disability where community involvement, specialty benefits and other supports would help you live a healthier, more independent existence

What Is The Disability Support Program Application Process Like?

To qualify for the Disability Support Program in New Brunswick, you must be a permanent resident of working-adult to retirement age and have a serious disability that requires regular attention or treatment. If you fall within the proper eligibility requirements, you can complete the application process in 3 ways:

  • Alone or with help from a family member/friend
  • Through New Brunswick Canada (by phone, email, post, etc.) 
  • With guidance from a NBACL Independent Facilitator

Documents Required

It’s important to know that the New Brunswick Government and the NBACL could have slightly different application processes. That said, you may need to provide the following elements when you apply for the Disability Support Program through either provider:

  • Medicare Card (proof of name, date of birth, etc.) 
  • Government ID for proof of address (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
  • Bank statements or other proof of income
  • Telephone Number(s)

What Will Be Assessed?

Once you apply, the program provider will review your case, including the circumstances of your disability and the potential cost of your support(s). While general facilitation services are free, the government employee or facilitator will also inspect your current income to figure out your financial contribution to the program, if any.

The DSP’s Two-Pronged Service Delivery Model

When applying for the Disability Support Program in New Brunswick, you’ll have the option of self-managing your case or asking for the aid of a social worker: 

  • If you apply for the self-managed service delivery model, you’ll eventually have to meet with a department employee for an assessment. The employee will then determine which support(s) suit you best and help you develop your case. Afterward, you’ll be free to manage your own service requirements.  
  • You can also request the alternative support delivery model, which gives you regular support and advocacy from a social worker. Consistently meeting with one of these professionals can make the whole assessment process easier, especially if your disability causes you severe physical or mental limitations.      

What Happens If You Disagree With The Assessment?

If you aren’t satisfied with the financial contribution, support conditions or eligibility requirements of your Disability Support Program, you can always file a request for an Administrative Review, which allows for a secondary assessment of your case. 

Disability Support New Brunswick FAQs

If I move to another province, can I still access my New Brunswick Disability Support program benefits?

Unfortunately, no. If you have become a permanent resident of another province, you will no longer qualify for the Disability Support Program in New Brunswick. Every province/territory offers different disability-based programs, benefits and rates.  Once your new residency status is confirmed, check with your regional government and communities to find the right program(s). For instance, if you were originally getting social assistance in New Brunswick, your program supervisor might be able to get your disability certified through the Medical Advisory Board of your new province/territory. If approved, you should receive a new medical card and different benefits. 

Can the New Brunswick Disability Support Program help modify my home to make it more accessible? 

Before you apply, remember that the Disability Support Program in NB doesn’t cover home modifications. Don’t worry, because the federal and provincial governments both offer programs that help residents cover the cost of repairs and renovations that their home undergoes due to various medical conditions, including chronic disabilities.  For example, the Government of New Brunswick offers the Homeowner Repair Program, which gives financial support to: 
  • Low-income homeowners making improvements to substandard dwellings
  • Low-income homeowners renovating rental properties for easier accessibility
  • Low-income seniors who need a safer, more accessible home to live properly 
  • Aging parents that require limited modifications for eligible dwellings
When approved for the program, the provincial government will offer you a “forgivable loan”, which allows you to borrow money from them and repay what you owe over a maximum period of 15 years. Depending on the circumstances of your disability and living situation, a portion of the debt may be waived or “forgiven”. Loans can range up to $20,000 for homes that need repairs/modifications to accommodate a disability.

How will I receive my Disability Support Program payments?

Disabled New Brunswick residents who qualify for disability support will normally receive monthly payments from the provincial government. The resident can accept their funds via direct deposit or have a trustee/representative collect them. Alternatively, they or their representative can hire a service provider to accept the payments.

Applying For The Disability Support Program In New Brunswick?      

If so, don’t forget to do research and contact the provider to ask questions beforehand and make sure you will actually qualify. The Disability Support Program is not meant for everyone but there are plenty of other government and community initiatives that can help improve your living situation if you have a long-term disability in New Brunswick.

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and traveling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer. Bryan uses the BMO Cash Back Mastercard to earn cash back on everything from boring bill payments to exciting excursions. He is also a strong saver, holding both a TFSA and an RRSP account in order to prepare for his future while taking full advantage of tax benefits.

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