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Financial Wellness Guide


Financial Wellness Guide

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Financial security means that an individual has enough money to meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing. It also means working toward financial goals and leading a rewarding life. People with arthritis may face barriers to financial security. While some manage well at work with little to no additional support, others may need to leave (or may not even be able to enter) the workforce to address their symptoms. In fact, working-aged Canadians with arthritis are twice as likely to report that they are not participating in the workforce compared to their peers without arthritis. Assistive devices, medication, and therapy are added expenses that may threaten someone’s financial well-being.

This Financial Wellness Guide links you to online resources to help you work towards building a stronger financial safety net. Here you will find information about federal and regional sources of funding for people with disabilities, tax credits, employment services, and more.

  • Am I eligible?

    There are over 100 different types of arthritis and its symptoms can take many different forms.  Not everyone with arthritis will experience a disability.  For some people, arthritis doesn’t drastically affect their abilities or quality of life.  However, for others, the impacts of arthritis can be severe, potentially affecting one’s abilities to perform activities of daily living such as getting dressed, preparing food, caring for children, working, or spending time with loved ones.

    While there is no clear definition of disability in the Canadian Human Rights Act or Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s 2010 report on Life with Arthritis in Canada identifies arthritis as “a leading cause of pain and disability in North America.”  It defines disability as “a term that refers to difficulty in functioning at the body, person, or societal levels, in one or more life domains, as experienced by an individual with a health condition in interaction with contextual factors.” 

    Legal definitions of disability can vary between provinces/territories, though for the sake of accessing disability-related supports, these often entail the following: 

    • a significant physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurring that is expected to last a certain minimum amount of time (varies by region) 
    • your impairment substantially impacts your ability to work, care for yourself, or take part in community life 
    • your doctor or a licensed healthcare professional can verify your limitations 

    Many programs also require proof of financial need (i.e. your income is insufficient to adequately cover your basic needs).   

    Eligibility criteria for some federal disability support programs, such as the Government of Canada’s Disability Tax Credit program, may be narrower than provincial/territorial programs.  That is, receiving support from one program does not guarantee your eligibility to receive support through another program.  Please make sure to check the eligibility criteria of all programs to which you are applying to ensure that you are eligible. 

  • Definitions

    Funding for persons with disabilities: Short- and long-term financial aid for individuals with disabilities to manage essential living expenses.

    Tax credits: Amounts that reduce the tax you pay on your taxable income. The more tax credits that apply to you, the more you can reduce your income tax.

    Employment services: Federal, provincial/territorial, and local programs that help you find and prepare for the job you want.

    Return-to-work programs: Services that offer a proactive, formal plan to help workers who are injured or impacted by a disability remain at work or safely return to work. They also outline the steps that workers and supervisors need to take if an injury occurs.

    Job training and skills upgrading: Education and training programs to help you advance your career. May include industry certifications, workplace experience, and entrepreneurial support.

Canada-Wide Programs

Thank you to Meg Zhang for her assistance with this project.