Excerpts from CLEO:

Helping seniors with health costs

As people get older, they often need to find different ways to cover their health costs. There are some government benefits that can help them do this.


When a person turns 65, there’s a risk that they’ll no longer qualify financially for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), including ODSP health benefits. These health benefits cover things like prescription drugs, routine eye examinations, and dental care.

They may no longer qualify for ODSP because at 65 they automatically get the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and might also be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS).

Getting these income supports likely means that their income will be too high to qualify for ODSP.

So, before applying for GIS or GAINS, people should consider whether getting these income supports will cut them off from ODSP health benefits.

ODSP’s Extended Health Benefit

The Extended Health Benefit (EHB) is for people who:

  • are no longer eligible for ODSP because their income is too high,
  • and have high health costs

To qualify, the person must still be eligible for ODSP except for the fact that their income is too high. For example, they must be a resident of Ontario and have no more assets than what ODSP allows. But, after the age of 65, they no longer have to prove that they meet ODSP’s definition of a “person with a disability”.

CPP disability benefits and retirement pension

Up until age 65, people who pay into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and have a long-term disability can apply for CPP disability benefits.

Seniors Co-Payment Program

This program is for:

  • single people over 65 who have an income of less than $22,200,
  • and couples with at least one spouse over 65 and a combined income of $37,100 or less.

New tax credit for people over 70

In 2022, the Government of Ontario created the Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit, a new refundable tax credit for residents who:

  • are over 70, and
  • earn less than $65,000 a year.

The tax credit lets people claim a refund of up to 25% of their eligible medical expenses up to $6,000. The maximum credit is $1,500.

To get the credit, the person must claim their eligible medical expenses on their income tax return. People can claim this new credit as well as the existing Ontario Medical Expense Tax Credit.

Learn more about income supports for seniors, eligibility criteria, how to apply, and where to get help by viewing the full newsletter from CLEO here.

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