Project Rainbow Suggests the Following Guidelines for Completing Annual Applications for

The Special Services At Home Program (revised 11/99): 


What is Special Services At Home (SSAH) & Assistance For Children With Severe Disabilities (ACSD)?

Both are funding programs available to families caring for children and/or adults with developmental and/or physical disabilities (N.B. Individuals over the age of 18 with significant physical disabilities, capable of ‘directing own care’ may qualify for funds through the Ministry of Health’s Attendant Care program). Funds are provided by the provincial office of the Ministry of Community & Social Services and are administered regionally. Funds are intended to pay for extraordinary costs associated with a disability.  

Assistance For Children With Severe Disabilities ACSD (formerly Handicapped Children’s Benefits-HCB)

The ACSD program is income-tested and requires a separate application requesting information about expenses, etc. and may assist with additional costs for those who qualify. Additional information and applications can be obtained by contacting your local office for the Ministry of Community & Social Services. 

Consistent with the changes adopted in the recent document, Making Services Work for People, the ministry has begun a new process for reviewing and approving SSAH applications. The goal is to provide a more equitable and accountable system. Applications for funding and subsequent approvals will be assessed on equity. Information should reflect the following three components: 

a) level of functional loss

b) family supports

  c) community supports in place, i.e. school, day program, Homecare, etc 

To receive support through the SSAH program, families should, whenever possible, submit one application annually, anticipating their needs for the entire year including: Family Relief & Support and Personal Development & Growth hours, including recreational programs, extraordinary program fees, camp one-to-one support, etc.. Remember to include Christmas Holiday, March Break and summertime. 
When the application has been reviewed (8-12 weeks) and if an approval is granted, families will have an amount of money for a specified one year period. The agreement can be flexible, i.e. approved funds are not necessarily restricted to the number of hours recorded on the initial application. A subsequent authorization form (MCSS) will not designate itemized amounts of money for camp costs, etc. For instance, within the SSAH parameters (e.g. not to be used for educational support, therapy, day programs or paid to family members) families can choose to use their funds in the best way that suits their situation at the time.  
Documentation must accompany the SSAH application at the time it is sent, detailing your child's disability. A psychological report (as well as any additional assessments if available) is imperative for approval. Reports should be recent (i.e. completed in the last two years).

Please ensure you have completed all necessary information, and have signed the back of the form. For additional assistance, Project Rainbow staff would be happy to help you (416-503-0088x17) during regular business hours.


(Completion Guidelines—01/00) 

The following guidelines have been prepared by Project Rainbow staff to assist families when completing the revised (MCSS) Special Services At Home Application form (Nov/99). The new application form will be used across the province and does not require any ‘Supplementary Information’ forms. Old application forms including supplementary information forms should not be used. 


Although adequate space is not provided in the new application form, it is becoming increasingly important for families to accurately reflect a child’s needs and illustrate how the request for funds will positively affect the individuals’ (applicant) development and the family’s (including siblings) quality of life. To do this, you may need to attach an additional sheet of paper. Consider using other professional’s (i.e. Teacher; Speech Pathologist; OT/PT reports, etc.) recommendations to substantiate requests.  

Because camp opportunities are both ‘Personal Development & Growth’ and ‘Family Relief & Support’, families may want to send a progress report (optional for respite funds) to substantiate a request for service, particularly if the request is new or an increase over previous years. 

Question 1A—Following is a short list of Goals & Accomplishments that may be relevant to a progress report that supports camp requests:




Increased independence

Stayed for 1 week at residential camp


Dresses with fewer prompts

Learn new skills

Learned many camp songs


Paddles a canoe


Improved swimming abilities

Improve social skills

More talkative; eager to express verbally/vocally


Waits more patiently; more settled


Renewed interest in siblings/peers


1B—Family request for paid support. 

The numbers and figures presented (below) are only to demonstrate how the equation is transferred to the SSAH Application format. Your current family situation may warrant more or less hours, etc. It is very important that your request be based on real needs vs. what the ‘average’ family may receive. Every family situation is unique and (family or applicant’s) needs are subject to change. Your request must include all hours that you anticipate for the entire year including any recreational programs. 


N.B. Families will want to provide sufficient details as to how the funds will be spent. Consider attaching a separate sheet of paper as the space on the application is inadequate.  

A. 8 hours per week for 52 weeks = 416 hours

@ $10.00/hr

TOTAL = $4160.00 

B. 6 hours per week for 52 weeks = 312 hours

@ $10.00/hr = $3120.00 &

20 days @ $50.00 (i.e. Project Rainbow Summer Camps—see below) = $1000.00

TOTAL = $4120.00 

  1. 4 hours per week for 42 weeks = 168 hours

@ $10.00/hr = $1680.00 &

24 hours per week for 10 weeks (i.e. summer) = 240 hours

@ $10.00/hr = $2400.00

TOTAL = $4080.00 

  1. 4 hours per week for 39 weeks = 156 hours

@ $10.00/hr = $1560.00

20 hours per week (i.e. Christmas, March Break & Summer) for 13 weeks = 260 hours

@ $10.00/hr = $2600.00

TOTAL = $4160.00 

Sample Per Diems for Project Rainbow Participating Programs (1999/2000)


Day Camps

Residential Camps

Toronto; York Region; Durham

YMCA Camps (Toronto Island, Sports, Arts, Aquatics) $55.00/day

Magic Forest (North Toronto, 3-7 yrs) $45.00/day; Harbourkids $55.00/day;

Pal-O-Mine $50.00/day

Seneca College (King City & Newnham) $50.00/day

Across Ontario


YMCA Camps (Kelso, Sports, Arts, Junior camp [4-6 yrs])


U of T Erindale (Sports, Arts)


Per diems range from $25.00 per day to $45.00 per day.


YMCA (Bronté Creek-Sports, Arts, Explorers, Sneaker, etc)


An average request for funding might be 7-14 days @ $35.00.


Note: Per diems (i.e. daily cost of support counselor to work with your child at camp) vary according to the camp program. Sample requests have been provided below. You may request day camp support, residential camp support, or both. Funding approval may vary according to the individual ministry office. 


Question 2A—This question was developed in response to family feedback about forms being “too negative” and “deficit-focused”. It is intended to allow MCSS staff to have a more complete picture of your son/daughter. It is not intended as a way of decreasing the amounts of supports eligible.
Questions B,C,D,E,F --Where it says “check how often or check the amount…”, it can be read as “needed/required” which is frequently more that what may actually be “provided”. You may also want to look at broad categories and measure from your child’s weakest level.  

When students have 1:1 support in the classroom, parents may want to include this, particularly when it supports (B) Personal Development & Support and (C) Supervision (safety, etc.). 

Question 2D—repetitive behaviours should be noted here. Parents may want to elaborate, i.e. allowing an individual to engage in repetitive behaviours, by its nature is solitary and can be hard to break/interrupt after prolonged periods, etc.
Question 2E--Additional lifting for positioning; activities; in/out of car, etc. should be added here, even though it is not listed as an example except as ‘mobility’.  

Remember to use sections provided for additional information


Remember to give details including:

younger siblings
other child with disability or emerging concerns
another adult (spouse or aging parents) requiring care because of illness, frailty etc.
spouse with health problems
recent marital separation

 Remember to use section provided for additional information. 


Your answer here should reflect the nature of the support, for instance, the help from a volunteer or neighbour may be ‘as requested’ or more of a ‘spontaneous’ nature rather than something consistent and dependable that you could count on daily, weekly, i.e. every Monday night, from 6:00 - 9:00pm.


Question 5A--MCSS is requesting relevant information on services received within the past year, e.g. for a 12 year-old, you need not list daycare/nursery.
See Other… If your son/daughter is involved in a recreation program with paid support, (i.e. SSAH hours) it should be noted in this section
Question 5B—When using nursing agencies, families should reflect the actual costs involved as they are considerably higher. If they are not reflected, you may be in a situation of using twice as many hours to cover the costs of specialized supports.
Question 5C--For qualifying families, Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) (formerly Handicapped Children’s Benefits--HCB) provides a monthly allowance to families with total combined income of less than $57,000.00 (approximate) for a family of 4. Income rises slightly with more dependents. Contact MCSS for more information and an application.


Relevant signatures by family and release of information to other agencies or professionals involved with your son/daughter.
Notice of the Right to Review Decisions when families are dissatisfied with the amount of funds approved by MCSS, they have the right to appeal.  Appeals are very important. Recently, some families in Ontario have gone as far as the Provincial Ombudsman’s Office with SSAH complaints. As a result of these cases, the Ombudsman’s office has been paying particular attention to how appeals are handled, etc.

July 30, 2002