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Special Services At Home

Special Services At Home

Special Services At Home

Niagara Children’s Centre provides support to parents in applying for Special Services at Home (SSAH) funding as well as in administering SSAH funding on behalf of families.

The SSAH program helps families who are caring for a child/youth with a developmental and/or physical disability. The program is funded and managed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.


To be eligible for SSAH funding, the child or youth must:

  • Be a resident of Ontario
  • Have ongoing functional limitations as a result of a disability
  • Require support beyond what is a normal family responsibility
  • Live at home with their families or live away from their family's home but not reside in a Ministry-funded residential setting

The amount of funding received depends on:

  • the type and amount of service your child needs
  • what other help is available in your community
  • what kind of support you already receive

There are no income requirements for the SSAH program. Approval amounts very based on the needs identified in the application. Approval decisions & the amount of funding are made by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

Accessing Funding

Parents can choose one of two ways to access funding:

  • Self-Administered Funding: Parents purchase services and supports on their own and submit expense claims directly to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regional offices for reimbursement. Families contact their Special Agreements Officer from the Ministry with questions about eligible expenses etc. and for assistance with paperwork/submitting invoices.
  • Agency-Administered Funding: Parents purchase the services and supports and submit expense claims to the agency for reimbursement. Niagara Children’s Centre offers this service to families of Centre clients. Families contact the Program Assistant for SSAH at Niagara Children’s Centre with questions about ineligible expenses etc. and for assistance with paperwork/submitting invoices.
  • Note: in both cases, families must pay for the service/equipment upfront and then submit invoices for reimbursement.

Application Process

Parents, family members, and legal guardians of children and youth under the age of 18 with a developmental or physical disability can apply for SSAH funding.

The application must include medical documentation clearly confirming the diagnosis of the child or youth.

Parents can apply by filling out an application on their own or with the assistance of a professional.

Niagara Children’s Centre provides assistance for completing SSAH applications through regular virtual or in-person workshops. See Programs and Services/Events Calendar for workshops.

Up-to-date information regarding the program as well as application forms and processes can be found at the below links:

For families who want Niagara Children’s Centre to administer their funding:

  • Niagara Children’s Centre must be selected on the application under Administration of funding.
  • Once families have been approved for SSAH, Niagara Children’s Centre along with the family will receive a letter stating approval into the program. The funding amount will not yet be indicated and the family cannot yet submit expenses for reimbursement.
  • Once families receive an additional letter with their approved amount of funding, Niagara Children’s Centre will contact the family and:
    • Mail a batch of invoices that must be used when submitting expenses for reimbursement
    • Mail an EFT form to set up direct deposit for reimbursement. The EFT form must be returned to the Centre promptly along with a void check before expenses can be reimbursed.

Additional info for families with funding administered by Niagara Children’s Centre

For new invoices, or any SSAH questions, concerns or requests for assistance contact:

SSAH@niagarachildrenscentre.com or 905-688-1890 ext. 121

Important Notes:

  • Families can choose to mail, email pictures or scanned copies, or bring invoices directly to the Centre with supporting documentation/receipts.
  • Invoices MUST be submitted by the 10th of the month for payment that month. If the 10th falls on a weekend, the invoices must be submitted by 5pm on the Friday. Invoices received after this date will be processed the following month. The reimbursement/payment date is 5 business days after the 15th of the month.
  • A separate invoice for EACH worker must be submitted.
  • Official receipts are required for proof of payment for registration fees for camp, recreation or other non worker services
  • Any family may switch from Niagara Children’s Centre administered funding to self-administered funding (or self-administered funding to Niagara Children’s Centre administered funding) at any time.

What can funding be used for?

Eligible expenses

  • mainstream camp and recreation programs
  • specialized camp and recreation programs
  • advertising for the recruitment of a special services worker
  • special services or a support worker to provide respite and/or personal development
  • travel costs associated with transporting special needs child for the worker
  • basic supplies to implement a program for the special needs child (for example, flashcards)
  • membership fees for special needs associations (for example, Special Olympics, Down Syndrome Association)
  • 1-on-1 support worker at camp or recreational program
  • training for a family member or worker that enhances the understanding of the child with a disability’s needs
  • extraordinary cost of childcare (for children aged 12 and above)
  • nursing for medically fragile children
  • routine homemaking tasks – light housecleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grass cutting, and snow removal
  • gym membership fees for the special needs child
  • daycare and nursery school as respite or if recommended for socialization
  • sensory items that help children and youth to alleviate anxiety/stress and/or support clinical or behavioural plans such as weighted blankets, rocking/wiggle stools or chairs, sensory toys
  • technology items that provide children and youth the means and ability to stay connected and engaged in virtual and online learning/services and skill development activities, up to a maximum of $1,500 annually on items from this category (for example, laptops and tablets; online educational and e-learning activities and resources, including software/apps; peripherals including webcams and microphones, keyboards, mice, monitors; and connected devices and software/apps supporting accessibility; e-readers (such as Kindle or Kobo); and remote monitoring devices and medical alert services and devices)
  • items to support home-based recreation and fitness activities (for example, arts and craft supplies, hobby supplies, puzzles and games, books for leisure/learning, Indoor items and equipment such as, skipping rope, yoga mat, resistance bands)
  • fitness/sports equipment and supplies that may be used on the individual’s property (for example, basketball net, trampoline, frisbee, badminton set)
  • personal protective equipment and supplies, including items such as gloves, masks, gowns, hand sanitizer and goggles and face shields
  • service delivery fees for essential items such as groceries and medication only (note: this does not include the actual cost of the groceries and/or medications, just the service fee for delivery)
  • family and caregiver-mediated supports (for example, training for caregivers on behavioural intervention approaches

Ineligible expenses

  • tutoring and academic programs
  • camp fees for siblings
  • basic care (for example, clothing, food, diapers, routine medical costs)
  • one-time admission costs (for example, movies, amusement parks, museums)
  • regular child care fees for children under 12 years
  • fees and tuition costs for education and employment
  • assistive devices, specialized equipment, home modifications
  • dental services
  • 1-on-1 support in a school setting
  • professional services: junior and senior therapists (for example, Intensive Behavioural Intervention, Applied Behaviour Analysis, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy)
  • direct behaviour therapy with the child/youth (for example, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy)
  • sports equipment
  • restraints and permanent or semi-permanent structures (for example, inground pools, house modifications)
  • videogames and videogame systems
  • media service subscriptions and platforms (for example, Netflix, Xbox Live, Disney+)
  • swimming pools, inground pools
  • e-bikes and electric scooters
  • cell phones
  • televisions
  • cleaning supplies (for example, disinfectant wipes, sprays, etc.)
  • delivery fees for takeout food from restaurants

When hiring a worker, you can

  • Hire a worker directly
  • Work with an agency to purchase supports from the workers they employ
  • Hire a family member who is over the age of 18 and not the primary caregiver, parent, step-parent or spouse