What is a disability?
A disability is a mental or physical condition that impacts your ability to work, study, care for yourself, or actively take part in your community.
For the purposes of financial aid applications, a permanent disability is expected to remain with you for the rest of your life. A persistent or prolonged disability is one that’ll affect your performance for a period of at least 12 months, but is not permanent.
To get financial assistance, you’ll need to provide documentation from a healthcare professional and/or a disability advisor at your school that you have a disability and need extra support.
How can I get disability support through OSAP?
The Canada Student Grant for Students with Disabilities is available to students with disabilities for each school year.
You can apply for this grant when you apply for OSAP by submitting a Disability Verification Form, along with documentation from your healthcare provider that confirms your need for extra support.
If approved, you could receive $4,000 per year. The amount students receive for the grant is the same regardless of what disability they have and whether it’s permanent, persistent, or prolonged.
What other financial support am I eligible for while in school?
This funding helps pay for educational services and/or equipment students need to participate in their studies. The BSWD and CSG-PDSE may also cover costs for psycho-educational or disability assessments.
- Is available for students who have either a permanent or temporary disability
- Grants students a maximum of $2,000 per year
- Is available only to students who have permanent disabilities
- Grants students a maximum of $20,000 per year
Some examples of services or equipment you may get funding for are:
- Note-taker (including computerized)
- Specialized transportation
- Counseling (BSWD only)
- Computer and accessories (including laptop, printer, monitor, keyboard, etc.)
- Assistive software like screen reading, voice recognition, etc.
- Noise canceling headphones
How do I apply for financial support for my disability while in school?
To be eligible for BSWD and CSG-PDSE, you must self-identify as having a disability on your OSAP application and get approved for funding through OSAP (or an Institution-Funded Special Bursary). Both full- and part-time students can apply.
- Apply for OSAP and self-identify that you have a disability.
- Go to Accessibility Services on your campus to verify your disability and discuss what services and equipment to apply for.
- After getting your OSAP results, submit the form for BSWD and CSG-PDSE with the help of an advisor from Accessibility Services. The 2021-22 application form can be found here.
The deadline to apply for BSWD and CSG-PDSE is 60 days before the end of your study period, as defined by OSAP.
Please note that in your application, you’ll need to provide estimates for the costs of the services and equipment you’ll need.
You’ll also need to provide receipts for each item, as well as a time log that shows when you used each resource. If you don’t provide proof that you used the resources you got funding for, you’ll need to return all or part of the money you were granted.
Here are examples from the University of Toronto of how to document and submit proof:
- Receipt Summary for Equipment, Software and All Other Items
- Specialized Transportation: Taxi Receipt Log
- Counseling & Therapies Timelog
In addition to BSWD and CSG-PDSE, your school may provide alternate grants to support you. Contact your campus’s Accessibility Services to find out about other types of support you can get during your studies.
What financial support is available for students with disabilities who took out loans to pay for school?
If you took out student loans to go to college or university and are having trouble paying them off because of your disability, you may be eligible for repayment assistance or even have your debt canceled.
A Repayment Assistance Plan - Disability assistance is available for anyone who has a student loan in repayment and has a disability recognized by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. To be eligible, you must fall within the income threshold.
The Severe and Permanent Disability Benefit is available to borrowers with a severe permanent disability that prevents them from working or studying. If you qualify, your entire loan may be canceled, but you will not be eligible to receive any additional student aid from the Government of Canadian again.
What financial aid is available for people with disabilities who aren’t in college or university?
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is available to any adult living in the province who demonstrates a financial need and has a disability as defined by the Ontario Disability Support Program Act.
To determine financial eligibility, the program reviews your:
- Income and assets (i.e., anything you own or invest in)
- Living expenses
- Family size
If you’re under 18, you can start the process up to six months before you turn 18 years old.