Do you live in Ontario and have a young adult or child who will be transition to adulthood soon with a ‘developmental delay’? If so, you likely qualify for funding of up to $35000 through the Ontario Passport Funding program.
What is Passport Funding?
In Ontario, when children receive funding, through developmental services or other agencies, it is usually terminated at age 18 or upon completion of high school. Although there is not the same abundance of programs available for adults, there is one funding source that can be used for the specific resources you need: Passport Funding.
Passport provides adults diagnosed with a developmental disability a minimum of $5,000 annually in direct funding to help adults continue to gain skills and participate in the community. Direct funding means you choose what supports and services are important and pay for them directly.
Will my young adult be eligible?
To receive Passport funding, you must qualify to receive adult developmental services through Developmental Services Ontario (DSO). To be eligible you will need proof of age, residency, and a copy of a psychological assessment. The three things they are looking for within the assessment to classify as a ‘developmental disability’ are deficits:
- In cognitive functioning
- This can be an IQ score of 75 or lower, indication of being below the 5th percentile, or clinically significant descriptions such as “mildly delayed range”
- If the applicants overall IQ does not meet the requirements, exceptions can be made if cognitive functioning falls two standard deviations below the mean in two or more subscales on a standardized intelligence test AND they have a history of requiring habilitative support
- In adaptive functioning
- Consistent (across multiple settings) limitations in practical, conceptual and social skills.
- With an onset prior to turning 18 years old
For more detail on eligibility take a look at https://www.dsotoronto.ca/access-services/eligibility-for-developmental-services-and-supports/
When can I apply?
You can contact your local DSO and begin the application process for someone once they turn 16 years old.
How much money will I receive?
Each person who is approved receives a base amount of $5000 to begin. From there you can qualify for more Passport funding up to $35000 which increases based on need; you can find a breakdown at https://mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/developmental/serviceSupport/passport_QandA.aspx. Once you are approved for the base $5000 you are automatically placed on the Service Registry for additional Passport funding
Once I get funding, what can I use it for?
There are four ways to make use of your funds; community participation, caregiver respite, person directed planning, and administrative fees. You choose which services you require, and how much to allocate to different services then passport reimburses you. There are many services that fall within these categories so don’t be afraid to ask questions ensuring you are not missing out on being reimbursed for any activities you are already paying for!
- Community participation can include almost any activity that gets your young adult out interacting with others and being a part of a community. This could include day programs, social groups, social events, sports teams, recreational activities, job coaching and more.
- Caregiver respite funds can be used to have private workers accompany your young adult on an outing or trip or to come to their residence and work on skills with them. It can also be used towards a respite agency that provides short term housing, in home personal care, or other services that relieve the parent or ‘caregiver’.
- Person directed planning is working with a professional to identify personalized goals and make plans as to how to reach those goals. This can be very beneficial for someone just transitioning to adulthood as it can be a challenge to create appropriate goals and find the right supports that will work best with each individual’s needs.
- Administrative fees can be used to help with things such as scheduling, administering funds, and processing paperwork related to passport.
For more information check out https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/publications/developmental/passport/Passport_Tip_Sheet-en.pdf
How do I apply?
Start by contacting your local DSO agency. They will help you begin the process. You can find this information here https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/developmental/serviceSupport/passport_agencies.aspx
How do I access the money once I am approved?
Passport works on a reimbursement platform. You submit receipts and information to Passport and they reimburse you. Most agencies work to have you refunded within a week of receipt submission. Most agencies have also started using the new MyDirectPlan online program to see your funds balance and submit receipts. Your local agency will be able to give you more specific details on which format they use and how to go about doing this.
Can I use Passport funding towards Club Kodiak (our adult camp program)?
You sure can! Passport is quite familiar with us; many guests have used this funding to attend in the past.
That was a lot of information, where do I even begin?
Take a look here, https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/developmental/serviceSupport/passport_agencies.aspx find your local agency, contact them and let them know you are ready to begin the process.