Financial Support

The Kidney Foundation will provide short term financial assistance for costs associated with kidney disease and dialysis. They will assist with the cost of transportation for a short period of time and will also consider assisting with the costs associated with emergency living expenses, medications and equipment as well as dialysis training. Please speak with the renal social worker to understand how the Kidney Foundation might be able to assist you.

The Renal Patient Assistance Fund at London Health Sciences Centre provides financial assistance that is strictly donor-funded, and specifically supports nephrology patients who are assessed as having short-term, emergency financial assistance. Funding will be available for our renal patients who have financial strain as a result of their kidney disease. The Renal Social Work Group has worked in partnership with the London Health Sciences Foundation and the Nephrologists to establish the Renal Patient Assistance Fund to assist patients in their time of financial crisis.

To access financial assistance through the Renal Patient Assistance fund a referral must be made to your renal social worker. The social worker will assess the need and specific situation to determine eligibility for funding in accordance with the guidelines established for the fund.

There are community supports available for items like equipment, mobility devices and renovations to your home and vehicle. For further assistance please contact your renal social worker who can assist in accessing financial supports that meet your specific need.

Medication Coverage

If you are employed, your place of work may provide you with drug benefits. If you are not employed or do not have benefits though your place of employment, you may be eligible for the Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB) program if you live in Ontario, you have a valid Ontario health card and at least one of these statements applies to you:

  • I am 65 years of age or older (you automatically qualify for an ODB card)
  • I live in a Long-Term Care Home or a Home for Special Care (you automatically qualify for an ODB card)
  • I am enrolled in the Home Care program (your Community Care Access Centre case manager will provide you with an ODB card)
  • I have high drugs costs relative to my income (you must apply for Trillium Drug Program)
  • I receive social assistance through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (you automatically qualify for an ODB card).

For more information regarding medication coverage please ask to speak with your renal social worker or your pharmacist.

Financial Support for Transportation

The onset of chronic kidney disease and the possible need for dialysis frequently disrupts personal and family situations and can cause devastating financial strain. The burden of kidney disease and dialysis can lead to reduction in employment and to many financial stressors.

People often find that transportation for dialysis is a drain on resources; a drain on physical resources, emotional resources, social and practical resources, caregiver resources and financial resources. If you are finding it a financial hardship to attend clinic appointments or if starting dialysis is imminent for you, please refer to our transportation and dialysis section.

This is a list of some of the options that might be applicable to you. Your Renal Social Worker can be a good source of helping you understand the financial impact of transportation to and from dialysis and can help you understand the financial assistance that might apply to your specific situation. 

Income support

Ontario Works (OW) is one of the social assistance programs in Ontario to help eligible residents of this province who are in financial need. OW can provide much needed urgent income support to people who are no longer able to work. Eligibility is determined by your local OW office and is based on financial need. To start the process you can apply online, in person or by telephone. The next step is to meet with a worker from OW to review your detailed financial situation. This meeting is done in person and usually happens at your local OW office; however, if your health or mobility is a barrier to you attending the office home visits or even a visit at the hospital can be an option. If you qualify for OW you may also be eligible for additional financial supports such as medications, dietary support and transportation costs.

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is one of the social assistance programs in Ontario to help eligible residents of this province access financial assistance. Eligibility is based on your financial situation as well as your disability. You can start the process by applying on line, in person or over the telephone. The first consideration is your financial eligibility. If you meet the financial need you will be given an application booklet to complete. This includes personal information you provide as well as medical and functional information that your doctor or most appropriate health care professional provides for you. This process can take weeks to months and does not provide urgent financial assistance. If you qualify for ODSP you may also be eligible for additional financial supports such as medications, dietary support and transportation costs

Canada Pension Plan-Disability Benefit (CPP-Disability) is a taxable monthly payment that is available to people who have contributed to CPP and who are not able to work because of a disability. Eligibility is based on you CPP contributions, your disability and on your age (must be under age 65). CPP-Disability Benefit is a written application process, the application can be found online and can be printed for completion. There are portions of the application that you will complete and there are portions that are completed by the most responsible health care professional regarding your medical and functional issues. CPP-Disability Benefit can takes weeks to months to be reviewed and can not provide urgent income support.

Employment Insurance (EI) offers temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers including people who can not work because of sickness or because of compassionate care reasons. To be eligible for EI benefits you must have contributed to EI and you must meet the specific criteria detailed by Service Canada. You can apply on line or in person at your local Service Canada office. To qualify for EI you must have a Record of Employment from your employer and your application must be endorsed by a physician.

Workplace benefits for short term and long term disability are offered by some employers. To find out if you qualify for short term or long term income benefits based on your health care needs please speak to your employer or human resources representative. Often there is an application process that will include information from you and from your health care provider, usually the physician.

Veterans Affairs Canada provides financial assistance to those veterans who qualify based on their service. The assistance can cover costs related to housekeeping, transportation, medications and other needs.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides a monthly retirement pension to eligible Canadians. You must meet eligibility requirements based on your contributions to CPP as well as your age. You can apply for CPP as early as age 60; however, the standard age for applying is age 65. Your CPP does not start automatically, you must apply for CPP either on line or by mailing the completed application to Service Canada.

Old Age Security (OAS) Pension is a monthly payment available to most Canadians over the age of 65. To be eligible you must be a resident of Canada and meet Canadian legal status requirements. OAS does not start automatically, you must apply for. There is detailed eligibility information available online from Service Canada.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to OAS recipients who have a low income and are living in Canada. Detailed information about eligibility and applications can be found on line at the Service Canada website.

Income Tax 

There are significant financial burdens associated with kidney disease and with dialysis treatments. One way that you can access assistance with this financial strain is to consider what tax savings you may be entitled to. Your renal social worker can give you some information on possible savings; however, it is advisable to consult with an accountant who can give you professional advice regarding your income tax.

The most common tax savings is through the Disability Tax Credit, available at Canada Revenue Agency, or by asking your social worker.  Dialysis patients qualify for the disability tax credit if they are expected to be on dialysis for a continuous period of at least 12 months, at least 3 times per week, for an average of at least 14 hours per week, (not including recuperation time after therapy, travel, medical appointments, or shopping for medications).

Once you have completed the patient portion of the application, return the completed form to your NP or your social worker. They will ensure the medical form is completed and signed by a physician. The form will then be returned to you to mail into Revenue Canada.

There is no cost associated with applying for the Disability Tax Credit. The form is easily accessible and simple to complete. If you have any questions about completing the form, please speak with your renal social worker.