Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
The Canada Pension Plan is an earnings related social insurance program run by the federal government. Adults, 18 and over and legally employed, pay into the CPP, and receive the benefits later in life.
Information for Custodial Grandparents Who May Wish to Apply for Government Benefits and Subsidies
“My sister raised her granddaughter without a bit of help from anybody, you know? Because she didn’t know.”
When grandparents take custody of their grandchildren, they may not know about the different kinds of assistance available to them. This pamphlet can help you learn about the kinds of financial assistance you might qualify for as a grandparent raising your grandchild(ren).
Many individuals who have taken custody of their grandchildren do so out of urgent or unforeseen situations, such as the death or sudden illness of the grandchild’s parent, or other emergency.
In addition to the challenges you may experience in unexpectedly raising your grandchild, you may find that your financial needs have increased as a result of having caregiving responsibilities and/or custody of your grandchild.
Often, custodial grandparents encounter financial difficulties when caring for their grandchildren. Some grandparents have retired, are unemployed, or unable to work outside the home due to the demands of taking care of their grandchildren. You may not be able to work because of your own health conditions or disability.
Many people need financial help to ensure the health and well-being of their families. This pamphlet can help you understand what financial resources exist to assist you as you raise your grandchildren. It can help you understand how to apply for these resources and who to contact for further information.
In Ontario, you can apply for several kinds of financial assistance. Your income and the circumstances you are experiencing may determine what kind of assistance you are eligible for. Do not hesitate to ask. These programs exist to help you raise your grandchild.
If you are unemployed and ineligible to receive Employment Insurance benefits, and you need immediate financial assistance, you may qualify for income assistance through Ontario Works.
Eligibility requires that you be willing to take part in activities that may help you find work. You may also be eligible to receive health benefits and assistance with costs related to eviction, moving, and employment.
Where do I get more information?
If you have a disability, you may qualify for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). ODSP is a program that provides financial assistance to people living with disabilities, whether you are able to work or not. (benefits vary based on income and need).
Where can I find more information?
NOTE: It can take several weeks to find out if you qualify for ODSP. If you need immediate financial assistance, you should apply to Ontario Works (see above).
Temporary care assistance may be available if your grandchild is not your legal dependent (for example, if you are not an adoptive parent) and the child is not under the care of a Children’s Aid Society.
You may receive temporary care if your grandchild is expected to reside with you temporarily, and no parent or other person who is legally obligated to support your grandchild can provide care. You may be eligible even if you are receiving other government benefits or assistance for your own care.
What support might I receive?
Where can I get more information?
If CAS is involved with your grandchild, there are two types of arrangements that may be made: Kinship Care and Kinship Service.
If the child is not a ward of the CAS but there is an open CAS file, you may still be able to receive occasional help.
For example, CAS may help buy extras such as a crib or car seat.
For more information: https://www.oacas.org/
You may receive this benefit if you are the primary caregiver of a child under the age of 18 and meet certain income guidelines.
How do I apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit?
You do not need to apply for the Ontario Child Benefit. You are eligible if you have registered your grandchild for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, and have filed your income tax return for the previous year.
Am I eligible?
To determine your eligibility, use the Internet at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-child-benefit
You may be able to claim your grandchild for various deductions and tax credits.
Accessing Government Benefits and Subsidies
For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/taxes-and-benefits
If you are raising the child of a parent who has died or is disabled you may be able to get CPP Survivor Benefits or CPP Disability Benefits.
For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp.html
If you are working, you may be able to get benefits to take a parental leave of up to 35 weeks.
For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html
You may be eligible for the Ontario Child Care Supplement (OCCS) for Working Families if your grandchild is under seven years of age, you do not receive subsidized day care for this grandchild, and if you meet specific income qualifications.
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/child-care-subsidies
You may be eligible for an Ontario Child Care Subsidy. Child Care Subsidies are jointly funded by the Ontario government, municipal governments, and First Nations communities. You may be eligible if the child is under age 12 (or under 18 if the child has “special needs”) and is enrolled in a full-time child care program, a recreation program, or a before- and after-school program at a school with full-day kindergarten. The amount you may be eligible to receive depends on your family’s net income as reported on your income tax.
You do not need to be employed to be eligible for a Child Care Subsidy. You may still qualify if you are not employed but you or the child (or both) have documented “special needs” that can be confirmed by a professional such as a doctor or social worker
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/child-care-subsidies
If your grandchild is age 17 and under, you have a low income, and you do not have access to dental benefits through any other government assistance program (such as Ontario Works), then your grandchild may be eligible to receive free regular dental care.
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-dental-care
If your grandchild has a severe disability, you may be eligible for financial assistance through Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Your eligibility will depend on your family income.
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/assistance-children-severe-disabilities-program
If your grandchild has a developmental or physical disability, you may be eligible for financial assistance to help pay for specialized services in or outside the home. Children must be living at home and not receiving help from a residential program. Funding can be used for such things as services to help your grandchild learn or develop skills and abilities, or to hire someone to come in and give you a “break” from the day-to-day care of your grandchild.
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/special-services-home
If your grandchild requires the use of any of the following, you are eligible for financial assistance under the Assistive Devices Program through the Ontario Government’s Assistive Devices Program.
For more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/assistive-devices-program
If your grandchild has a physical disability, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from Easter Seals.
For more information: https://www.easterseals.org/