SSAH Tips Sheet for Professionals

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The Lives Of Families

What You Need To Know as a Professional Working with/for People with a Disability and Their Families

Stress – it’s daily, constant, continual, a feeling of being in crisis
Confused – overwhelmed -exhausted – frustrated

*Acknowledge this reality and serve families in a timely, respectful way*

The SSAH Program – Overview

  • started in 1982 for children who have a developmental disability
  • 1990 for children with both developmental and/or physical disability, and adults who have a developmental disability
  • “meeting needs broadly described as: personal development and growth and/or family relief and support”
  • considered a program of “last resort” – family to purchase supports and services not available elsewhere in the community
  • two MCSS Policy additions in 2005:
    1. Eligibility for SSAH funding expanded to include individuals who are not living at home with their families and are not residing in ministry-funded residential accommodation.
    2. Primary caregivers can use SSAH funding to compensate some family members to provide respite and/or personal development and growth.

The Fears Of Families About SSAH That You Need To Know

  • fear of not filling out the application form properly, losing time;
  • fear of being pitted against other families for funding;
  • fear of being approved for less than what their child requires;
  • fear of being told to expect less SSAH since their child is school-age;
  • fear of feeling they have to portray their child negatively;
  • fear of being cut back in funding without explanation;
  • fear of not knowing why the amount requested is less than approved;
  • fear of being cut back when their funds were not used up previously;
  • fear about lack of consistency in evaluation of applications;
  • fear of losing SSAH workers, especially without much notice;
  • fear of losing funding if their child appears to be making progress; etc.

Examples Of What Families Need From You

  • Program access – make families aware of the program’s existence and its benefits. While 27,000+ families in Ontario receive SSAH funding, many eligible families have no idea it exists or find out late.
  • SSAH applications – understand language to use, when to fill out a full/short application, meeting deadlines, giving complete info, what can be purchased with funding, compare SSAH goals with school goals (e.g. child’s IEP), ensure proper Supporting Documentation,calculate amount of funding to request, filling out Progress Reports, encourage and help with planning (e.g. circles). Ensure that box “Person or Agency Assisting in the completion of application” is filled out. Be mindful of additional needs at transitional stages e.g. preschool-K, elementary-secondary esp. transition into high school and post-secondary.
  • Sources of Support – connect with local and provincial groups for ongoing support and information, inform families about workshops, share resources regularly that teach about fostering diversity and inclusion, individualized funding approaches, etc.
  • Worker issues – to find good workers and figure out how to keep him, advertising for workers, how to conduct an interview, worker wages (cope with what worker wishes to be paid versus what family can afford), writing up a contract, etc. Ensure families have the CHAP Family Info Package.
  • Invoices — how to fill out SSAH invoices, remind families that invoices can be faxed to regional office, challenges of paying workers in advance and agency administering family’s SSAH funds.
  • Appeals – understand the appeal process available to them step-by-step, assist with letter-writing, attending meetings, follow-up, etc. Ensure that new info is submitted to be considered.

Some Suggested Resources

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  • Sorry are pg 2 and pg 3 of the MCSS response letter with the statistics for SSAH and Passport programs 2015/16.

  • SSAHPC requested and received the statistics for SSAH and the Passport program for 2015/16.

  • I am wondering if you can help me. I am from London and our SSAH goes through VON. I cannot get funding for a variety of things where others do (such an light housekeeping so we can have family time or Camp Kinark family camp). I left a message with the voicemail of the SSAH contact person for MCYS/MCSS - twice - who said on the message they would get back within one business day. It's been over a week. Where can I go from here? VON insists it cannot cover these things. At the same time, I have spoken to many many people who currently get these things covered. I'm at my wits end. My son doesn't like the things that they cover, and I have funding that needs to be used up before April.

  • People and families; call your Passport agency re your application ...we just saw this announcement..............

  • ARCH Disability Law Centre is launching a survey that families will be very interested in. Like their page and partake so your voice is heard.

  • SSAHPC has created a new graphic that depicts the 2016 Direct/ Individualized Funding budget versus the balance of the Developmental Services Budget. We are shocked to hear that there are 14,800 people on the Passport Wait list for funding. We recommend that families who are on this huge waiting list meet with their M.P.P.

  • Here is a Message that the SSAHPC shared at the recent Family Alliance ON conference held Oct 29, 2016 about some SSAH statistics from the past versus the present ones we know. There are 2 pages here to share with you. In addition, there are some important links and some tips for you about what you can do regarding your SSAH funding. These could be helpful; especially, if your son/daughter needs more SSAH support.

  • There is a conference being held by Family Alliance Ontario -Oct 29-30, 2016 that may be of interest to families . Please see the posted flyer or email: or go to their facebook page.

  • After the long awaited Paul Dube, Ombudsman's report was released Wed. Aug. 24th, 2016, SSAHPC members have read this document with tears, anger and frustration. The link for this report is on our web site- News page and FB page (see previous post) Please read one parent's perspective who has said it best ! Please feel free to share this page with other families, your neighbours, relatives and friends. You could even share with your provincial M.P.P. A Parent’s Perspective – August 27th, 2016 Families throughout Ontario have waited patiently for the Ombudsman’s report, “Nowhere to Turn: Investigation into the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ response to situations of crisis involving adults with developmental disabilities”. During nearly four years Ombudsman staff received about 1,500 complaints from families in extreme distress whose sons and daughters have been failed by a broken system that left them to flounder in hospitals, long term care facilities, homeless shelters and even prisons. A wise man once told me if I couldn’t figure out what went wrong to “follow the money” and it would lead to some answers. When we try to follow the money at the Ministry for Community and Social Services we find a reduction of regions in the province from 9 to 5 but no decrease in staff. We find millions of dollars spent on what some parents call dehumanizing, tortuous assessments done on individuals every five years with no services or reasonable funding as an outcome. We find bureaucrats willing to place people with developmental disabilities in hospitals at huge expense rather than support that person at home or in his community for a fraction of the price. We find elderly parents trying to create solutions for their children being left unfunded and unheard. We find not-for-profit agencies turning away people because they have no funds to pay for its services. We find a ministry that funds agencies at twice the dollars that it funds an individual living in the family home, to pay for the same supports. The saddest most shocking part of the report is the telling of stories of tremendous neglect and indifference to the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. One thinks of the mandate of physicians to “Do no harm” and wishes it could be adopted by this bureaucracy. When did it happen that authorities could so easily turn a blind eye to conditions so egregious that they brought hardened police to tears and disbelief regarding the levels of degradation people must live in? So often throughout the report, we are told that it is the police who fight fiercely for better care for individuals and are shocked when met with a bureaucracy that does not respond. Constantly we are told of a ministry that cannot or will not respond to any crisis. Minister Helena Jaczek has apologized to the individuals with developmental disabilities and their families who have been so terribly hurt by the Developmental Service system. She has promised to act on all the Report’s recommendations. Words are nice, but it is actions that people with developmental disabilities and their families need now. It is too late for some; too late for Guy Mitchell and for many others whose tragic stories have not been told in the newspapers. We are grateful for this report from the Ombudsman. It is long and filled with hours of hard, painstaking work to reveal the facts. Now it is up to the ministry to do the right thing and to do it now. *********

  • On August 24, 2016 Paul Dube, the Ontario Ombudsman released the long awaited "4 years coming" report. This document is the result of an investigation related to complaints from families and people on Ministry of Community and Social Services supports to people with disabilities and their families. Here is the link, Find relevant documents on the Ombudsman’s website at:

  • Yesterday on Aug 24, 2016 The ombudsman released their final report after 4 years of waiting for the over 1450 families who submitted complaints about MCSS and met with Ombudsman staff including many family members of SSAHPC . Here is the link to the report We will have more comments and posts about this shocking report.

  • very good article on RDSP... All families who have a child with a disability should have an RDSP.

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