In 2020, the Ontario provincial government announced temporary changes to the Passport and SSAH (Special Services at Home) Funding programs. These changes were put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that families and individuals can continue to access the supports and services they need. New applications for SSAH are being waitlisted.
Changes were made to:
We know it can be confusing to keep track of all this information, so we want to break it down in one place and explain what we know so far! Read on to find out how to best take advantage of these temporary supports.
Note: The ‘fiscal year’ is from April 1st to March 31st. So, the 2019/20 fiscal year is from April 1st, 2019 to March 31st 2020. The 2020/21 fiscal year is from April 1st, 2020 to March 31st, 2021.
Temporary Additions to Eligible Expenses
On April 23, 2020, the government announced a temporary expansion to the list of expenses that are eligible for reimbursement for both the Passport and SSAH Funding programs. New additions to the list of eligible expenses include expenses such as laptops, exercise equipment, sensory equipment, and other entertainment items. As these changes are being implemented in response to COVID-19, you should be aware that they are temporary, and that the existing program terms and conditions do still apply. Though a date for any reversals of these new conditions has not yet been announced, the government has communicated that they will provide as much advance notice as possible before making any changes.
Find full lists of the newly eligible expenses here:
MyDirectPlan users should submit these expenses under the ‘Other’ category. You should expect potential delays in reimbursement with expenses submitted under this category, as they require your invoices to be manually reviewed. MyDirectPlan does not review or approve your invoices but, to ensure the fastest possible processing times, we now “split” invoices for Passport Users. What this means is that any time MyDirectPlan detects ‘Other’ expenses (i.e., expenses submitted under the ‘Other’ category) within your submission, the system automatically splits your expenses into separate invoices. In these instances, MyDirectPlan will generate and submit two invoices on your behalf. One invoice will be created for expenses that fall under the ‘Other’ category, and one invoice will be created for expenses that fall under any remaining categories. This way, any delays in processing your ‘Other’ submissions will not affect the processing times of your regular submissions.
Since the 2019/20 fiscal year, eligible Passport and SSAH recipients have received advance funding. Advance funding is funding you receive in advance of processing your expense claims so you can have more immediate financial assistance without having to wait for reimbursement. It is highly recommended that individuals continue to save as many receipts, proofs of payment, and supporting documents for their expenses as possible.
The way advance funding works is that you continue to submit claims as you normally would, but will not be reimbursed for anything until your submissions have exceeded the advance funding amount that you received. If you submit an expense that is partly covered by your advance funding, you will be reimbursed for any amount that exceeds your advance funding amount. For example, imagine you received $500 in advance funding. The first $500 worth of expenses submissions are considered to be paid for by that advance funding. You would not receive any reimbursements until you have exceeded the $500 that you already received. In this same scenario, if you submitted an expense that cost $550, then you would be reimbursed for the $50 that exceeds your advance funding amount.
This is why it is extremely important that you continue to submit claims as you normally would. You will not receive reimbursement until your submitted claims have exceeded your advance funding amount.
How it Works for Passport Recipients
For the 2019/20 fiscal year, all Passport recipients who self-administer and submitted a claim in the 2019/20 fiscal year should have received an advance payment of up to $1,000 (depending on what they had remaining in their 2019/20 budget). This funding would have been received by the end of June 2020 and should be used for expenses incurred during the 2019/20 fiscal year. Did you know that you can still submit expenses for the 2019/20 fiscal year? Scroll down to the section on Deadline Extensions for more info.
For the 2020/21 fiscal year, self-administering Passport Funding recipients should have already received 25% of their total funding budget for this fiscal year in advance funding.
If you did not receive your advance funding and feel you should have, please contact your local Passport Agency to enquire about your circumstances.
How it Works for SSAH Recipients
For the 2019/20 fiscal year, active SSAH recipients who were enrolled in the program by the end of the 2019/20 fiscal year may have been eligible to receive advance funding. Recipients enrolled after April 01, 2020, will not be eligible for this advance funding. Eligible families should have received up to $1000 in payment (depending on what they had remaining of their 2019/20 annual approved funding). Families who had less than $1000 left in their 2019/20 authorized amount should have been provided with that amount in full. Any advance funding payment for the 2019/20 year should have been received by the end of June 2020.
For the 2020/21 fiscal year, eligible families should have received 25% of their annual approved funding in advance. Recipients who made an expense claim in 2019/20 should have automatically received their funding advance by the end of May 2020.
If you haven’t received advance funding, but think you should have, please call your local Regional Office or agency.
For the 2019/20 fiscal year, the ministry announced that they would be waiving the deadline for 2019/20 expense submissions. This means that if you have expenses from the 2019/20 fiscal year that you have not yet submitted, you can still submit them! Please note that this does not mean that funding from your 2019/20 budget can be used for purchases you made during 2020/21 fiscal year. It means that eligible purchases made during the 2019/20 fiscal year can still be submitted for reimbursement if you have funds remaining in your 2019/20 budget. It has not yet been announced whether any expense submission deadlines for the 2020/21 fiscal year will be waived or extended.
Please be aware that we are already seeing delays in reimbursement due to the pandemic, and the closer to the submission deadline you submit your expenses, the more likely you are to experience further delays. We encourage all who are able, whether you are submitting expenses through MyDirectPlan, email, fax, or eCLAIM, to submit your expenses as soon as possible.
That’s what we know so far about the recent changes to the Passport and SSAH Funding programs. We hope you found this article helpful. The MyDirectPlan team will update this article with any new information as we become aware of it but in the meantime, if we missed anything, please do let us know in the comments below!
Need more information? Please find details on how to contact the MyDirectPlan support team, your local agencies, and a list of resources where you can find further information on what we covered in this article:
Telephone: Toll Free: 1-844-MDP-MDP1 (1-844-637-6371)
Support Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM EST – 6:00 PM EST
Contact your Ministry Regional Office
Contact your Passport Agency
- Update: Revised Passport Guidelines (September 2021)