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Can Ontario Works help pay for a special diet?

Question
Can Ontario Works help pay for a special diet?

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Reviewed: 
October, 2016
Answer

People who have certain medical conditions might be able to get a special diet allowance as part of the financial assistance they get from Ontario Works (OW).

The special diet allowance is to help with the extra costs of a special diet. The amount people get depends on their medical conditions.

The most a person can get as a special diet allowance is $250 a month. And for some conditions, the amount is much lower.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding

A woman who is pregnant or breast-feeding can get a nutritional allowance. This is separate from a special diet allowance.

Talk to your OW worker about how to apply for this.

If you qualify for both, you can get a special diet allowance and nutritional allowance at the same time.

If OW refuses to give you a special diet allowance

If OW refuses your application for a special diet allowance, you can appeal the decision.

1. Ask OW for the application form

To apply for a special diet allowance, you must ask your Ontario Works (OW) worker for the special diet allowance application form.

When to apply

You can apply for a special diet allowance when you first apply for OW or while you’re on OW.

If you or other members of your household qualify for a special diet, OW must look at this when they decide:

Reviewed: 
December, 2016
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2. Ask a health professional to complete the application form

A health professional has to fill out the special diet allowance application form.

The health professional has to be approved to practise in Ontario as one of the following:

  • a family doctor or a specialist
  • a dietitian
  • a nurse practitioner
  • a midwife, if the special diet is for a baby less than a year old because breastfeeding isn’t possible

Medical conditions

The application form has a list of all of the medical conditions that qualify for a special diet allowance.

If a medical condition is not on the list, you can’t get an allowance for it.

And for each medical condition on the list, there’s a maximum amount of money that Ontario Works (OW) will give you.

The most you can get for a special diet allowance is $250 a month. This could be for one or more than one condition.

Reviewed: 
December, 2016
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3. Give the completed application form to OW

You and your health care professional both have to sign the special diet allowance application form. Then, you have to give it to Ontario Works (OW).

By signing the form, you agree to let your doctor or other health professionals give more medical information to OW, if they ask for it.

OW can:

  • ask for more information to show that you need a special diet
  • ask a different health professional to fill out another special diet allowance application form

If OW refuses to give you a special diet allowance

If OW refuses your application for a special diet allowance, you can appeal the decision.

Reviewed: 
December, 2016
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4. Get the decision about your special diet allowance

Ontario Works (OW) will send you a letter with their decision about your application for a special diet allowance.

If OW gives you a special diet allowance

If OW decides to give you a special diet allowance, the letter will tell you the amount.

OW will also say if they’ve decided to give you a “review date”.  This means that OW plans to review your medical condition at that time to see if you still need a special diet allowance.

If OW refuses to give you a special diet allowance

If OW refuses to give you a special diet allowance, you may be able to appeal the decision.

Reviewed: 
December, 2016
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Learn more about this topic
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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