Table of contents

Make a request online: you can use your MyAlberta Digital Identity (MADI) account to provide your Special Needs Assistance for Seniors claims and review your claims history online. This is the fastest option for processing claims and provides you access to benefits without paper documents. MADI is a free and secure way to access various online government services.

Provide documents online: this online option is the easiest way to send your claims, receipts, estimates and updated information to the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program.

Important dates

The benefit year for the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program starts July 1 of one year and ends June 30 of the following year.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this program you must:

  • be 65 years of age or older
  • be an Alberta resident
  • be a Canadian citizen or have been lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence
  • meet financial eligibility criteria
  • have provided a Seniors Financial Assistance application

If you or your spouse, or both, have deferred receiving the Old Age Security pension, you are not eligible for Special Needs Assistance for Seniors.

Any expenses you have before your 65th birthday are not eligible for funding. Special Needs Assistance for Seniors does not provide assistance for individuals under 65 years of age, including spouses, dependent children and grandchildren.

Find information regarding supports for individuals under the age of 65 under Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Income levels for assistance

The maximum assistance available in a benefit year is $5,105. The amount you may be eligible to receive is determined by:

  • your accommodation category
  • your marital or cohabitation status
  • your income – combined with your spouse/partner's income

In general, a single senior with a total annual income of $29,285 or less, or a senior couple with a total combined annual income of $47,545 or less, may be eligible to receive assistance.

Your (and your spouse or partner’s) total income, line 15000 of your previous year’s income tax return(s), is used to determine your eligibility for the current year’s benefits.

If you received Canada emergency response benefits (for example, CERB) in 2020, and your 2020 income was significantly higher than your 2019 income as a result, you may be eligible to have your seniors financial assistance eligibility based on your estimated 2021 income.

The Government of Canada will issue a one-time payment of $500 to eligible Old Age Security recipients age 75 years and older the week of August 16, 2021. This payment will not affect eligibility or benefit amounts for Alberta seniors financial assistance programs. For payment information, contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914.

Complete, sign, and submit an Income Estimate Form (PDF, 74 KB).

Eligible items are funded at primary or secondary income levels.

Marital status Annual total income Funding level
Single senior $24,885 or less Primary and secondary items
$24,886 to $29,285 Primary items only
Over $29,285 No funding
Senior couple $39,345 or less Primary and secondary items
$39,346 to $47,545 Primary items only
Over $47,545 No funding

Eligible items

Special Needs Assistance for Seniors considers specific items that fall into one of the following 3 categories:

  • health supports
  • personal supports
  • appliances or furniture

Your income level determines whether you are eligible for primary or secondary items.

Note: A receipt or estimate of costs is required for all requests, unless otherwise indicated.

Health supports

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and supplies

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.

    Funding maximums

    • $1,634 (once every 5 years) for a medically required CPAP
    • $205 per year for supplies in any subsequent benefit year
      • a receipt or estimate is required annually
      • benefit not provided in the same benefit year as a CPAP machine

    Documents to include

    • Level 1 Polysomnogram or Level 3 Home Sleep Apnea Test with diagnostic and treatment sleep study with raw data, summary and signed interpretation provided by a physician qualified in sleep medicine
      • If the diagnostic study is a Level 3, a separate treatment study is required.
      • If the Level 1 is not a split night or is inconclusive, then a separate treatment study is required.
    • minimum 30-day current/compliance report with complete data
    • prescription from physician with pressure setting
    • confirmation of Body Mass Index (BMI)
    • receipt or estimate for a CPAP machine
    • any other documentation identified as required during the review process

    Each request to the SNA program is reviewed by an Alberta Health Services respiratory specialist before a benefit is approved.

  • Diabetes supplies

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Diabetes supplies include: test strips, lancets, needles, antiseptic swabs, ‘sharps’ containers.
    • Diabetes supplies do not include prescribed medications.

    Funding maximums

    Maximum funding is based on your control method:

    • diet and exercise – maximum funding is $373 per year
    • oral medications – maximum funding is $1,118 per year
    • insulin – maximum funding is $1,251 per year

    Documents to include

    • receipt or a recent 12-month prescription printout from your pharmacist showing the diabetes supplies purchased
    • information regarding the diabetes management method: oral medications, insulin, or diet and exercise
  • Nutritional beverages

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Only Ensure, Boost, Glucerna, Resource, Dairy Thick and Nepro or other brands that are nutritionally equivalent will be considered.

    Funding maximums

    • The amount funded is determined by a medical note.
    • Funding is provided to a maximum of 4 bottles per day at $2.04 per bottle.

    Documents to include

    Once a year you must provide a medical note signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or registered dietician that indicates:

    • the number of bottles of nutritional beverages prescribed per day
    • the duration that nutritional beverages are required
    • confirmation of the medical condition that necessitates the use of nutritional beverages

    First time applicants may receive benefits for up to 3 months based on this note. To receive funding after the initial 3 months, please provide receipts.

  • Podiatry

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.

    Funding maximums

    • $26 per month for regular maintenance – nail trimming and callus removal only

    Documents to include

    Receipts must include:

    • senior's name, date of service and type of service provided
    • service provider's name, phone number and signature
  • Prescription costs

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.
    • Over-the-counter medications and medications not on the Alberta Drug Benefit List (PDF, 9 MB) are not considered.

    Funding maximums

    • Assistance is provided for a portion of the co-payment amount for prescription medications only.
    • Funding is provided for the co-payment amount you pay above the average of $45 per month for a single senior (or the senior in a couple where one individual is under the age of 65) and $90 per month for a senior couple where both individuals are age 65 or older.

    Documents to include

    • Your previous 12-month prescription printout (Patient Medical Expense Report) from your pharmacist is needed to determine your monthly average co-payment and your anticipated prescription costs during this benefit year.
    • New seniors may provide documents from their pharmacy confirming their anticipated prescription costs over a 3-month period, including Alberta Blue Cross Coverage for Seniors, or a prescription printout (Patient Medical Expense Report) from the time they turned 65 to today.

Personal supports

  • Bed bug treatment

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Assists with costs to prepare and fumigate a residence due to a bed bug infestation.

    Funding maximums

    • $1,200

    Documents to include

    • letter from your landlord, property manager or extermination company (if a private residence) confirming a bed bug infestation
    • estimate or receipt for treatment services
  • Celiac groceries

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.

    Funding maximums

    • $52 per month
    • Funding is determined using the date your request is received.

    Documents to include

    • medical note from a physician or nurse practitioner the first time you make a request to confirm celiac disease
  • Clothing

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.

    Funding maximums

    • $613 per year
    • Funding is determined using the date your request is received.

    Documents to include

    • A medical note from a health professional confirming new clothing is needed as a result of weight gain or loss (of 25% or more of the senior’s initial total body weight) within the previous 12-month period, due to a medical condition.
  • Home clean-up

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • To assist with the initial clean-up of a home when a hoarding problem has been identified by a social worker or community based worker or agency.

    Funding maximums

    • $1,500 once in a lifetime

    Documents to include

    • letter from the agency identifying a hoarding situation
    • estimate or receipt for the clean-up
  • Housekeeping and yard maintenance

    Eligibility

    • Secondary income threshold: $24,885 for single senior or $39,345 for couple.
    • Assistance is provided for light housekeeping, grass cutting, and snow removal only.
    • Applicants living with, or renting from, family members are not eligible for assistance.
    • Applicants paying family members to provide housekeeping or yard maintenance are not eligible for assistance.
    • Seniors residing in a lodge or supportive living facility are not eligible for assistance.

    Funding maximums

    • $1,226 in a benefit year

    Documents to include

    • medical note from a health professional the first time you make a request specifying the mobility or health condition that does not allow you (and your spouse) to do your own housekeeping or yard maintenance.

    A medical note does not need to be provided if you and your spouse (if applicable) are 80 years of age or older.

    Receipts must include:

    • applicant’s name and address
    • service provider's name, phone number, address and signature
    • breakdown of services provided – housekeeping, grass cutting, snow removal only
    • date of service and hours, cost per hour and total cost
  • Medical trips

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Assistance is provided for medical trips greater than 80 kilometres (round trip) to see a medical specialist or for medical testing/treatment.

    Funding maximums

    • Based on per diem calculation taking into consideration distance travelled, meals and parking.
    • Meal costs are considered on travel days only.

    Documents to include

    • report from the medical specialist or medical facility specifying the dates of the appointment and confirmation of attendance
    • a copy of the receipt if you stayed overnight and paid for accommodations
      • maximum of $103 per night is funded
      • receipts must be in the name of the senior or the senior's spouse
  • Medically supervised transportation – long-term care relocation

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Assists a senior moving from a permanent placement in a long-term care centre to permanently relocate to another long-term care centre.
    • Medically supervised transport using Alberta Paramedical Services or Emergency Medical Services is considered.

    Funding maximums

    • $87 once in a lifetime

    Documents to include

    • documentation from the transferring facility indicating that the senior requires medically supervised transfer by ambulance
  • Medication administration fee

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.
    • Benefits may only be paid to seniors residing in lodges and supportive living facilities.
    • You may be referred to the Alberta Health Services Medication Assistance Program.

    Funding maximums

    • $70 per month

    Documents to include

    • documentation from the facility stating the monthly medication administration fee and the effective date
  • Personal response service monitoring fees

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.
    • In-home systems connecting to a third party responder responsible to dispatch emergency services or a caregiver are considered.
    • Assistance is not provided for installation, personal GPS tracking systems, security or alarm services, or internal facility response services.

    Funding maximums

    • $20 per month

    Documents to include

    • estimate or receipt for monthly monitoring fees
  • Relocation of washer and dryer

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.

    Funding maximums

    • $817 once in a lifetime

    Documents to include

    • medical note from a health professional describing the medical condition that necessitates relocation
    • estimate or receipt
  • Respite care

    Eligibility

    • Secondary income threshold: $24,885 for single senior or $39,345 for couple.
    • Respite care (relief for a caregiver) is provided for a senior living with their caregiver (spouse or family member) who provides daily care to the senior.
    • The respite care must be provided in a care centre.

    Funding maximums

    Documents to include

    • medical note from a health professional documenting the caregiver’s name and the senior's medical condition that requires daily full time care from a caregiver
    • receipt or estimate from the care centre
  • Utility disconnection

    Eligibility

    • Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.
    • Assistance may be available for each utility (water, electricity and gas) once every 3 years.
    • Utilities must already be disconnected or will be disconnected within 48 hours.

    The Electric Utilities Act states electric services cannot be fully disconnected from October 15 to April 15. Natural gas distributors cannot disconnect services from November 1 to April 14.

    Funding maximums

    • Based on actual cost up to a combined maximum of $5,105 per benefit year.
    • Only charges over the last 12 months can be considered.

    Documents to include

    • disconnection notice or most recent bill from your utility company
      • The utility account and disconnection notice must be in the senior’s name and for the senior’s primary residence.
  • Wigs

    Eligibility

    Primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple.

    Funding maximums

    $256 each (2 per year)

    Documents to include

    • medical note from a physician or nurse practitioner the first time you make a request confirming the medical condition
    • estimate or receipt

Appliances and furniture

  • Eligibility

    Only 1 of each funded appliance or furniture type is considered for either a single senior or senior couple in a lifetime. For example, you can only receive funding for a refrigerator one time from this program.

    Only 1 appliance or furniture item is considered for a single senior or senior couple per benefit year. For example:

    • If you are eligible for primary items only, you can receive funding for a bed or a fridge in one benefit year, not both. Exceptions are noted below.
    • If you are eligible for both primary and secondary items, you can receive funding for a bed or a television in one benefit year, not both. Exceptions are noted below.

    Where you live also determines which appliance or furniture items you can claim:

    • homeowners and mobile homeowners: all appliances and furniture
    • renters: bed, microwave, television and vacuum
    • applicants living with or renting from family or friends: bed
    • long-term care: television
    • lodge and designated supportive living residents: bed and television

    Documents to include

    • receipt or estimate with your request for an appliance or furniture item

    All maximum amounts include GST, delivery, removal of the old appliance, installation and hook-up, environmental fees.

    Repairs to funded appliances may be considered.

  • Appliance and furniture items, amounts and exceptions

    Table 1. Items under primary income threshold: $29,285 for single senior or $47,545 for couple

    Appliance Maximum Notes and exceptions
    Bed $511 Includes mattress and frame.
    Dryer $409 You may request a washer and dryer together in the same benefit year.
    Washer $511 You may request a washer and dryer together in the same benefit year.
    Refrigerator $715 You may request a refrigerator and stove together in the same benefit year.
    Stove $715 You may request a refrigerator and stove together in the same benefit year.

    Table 2. Items under secondary income threshold: $24,885 for single senior or $39,345 for couple

    Appliance Maximum
    Microwave $103
    Television $307
    Vacuum $154

Special circumstances

Special circumstances may affect the assessment of your Special Needs Assistance for Seniors request.

Seniors living in a long-term care or supportive living facility

If you are a senior couple who have been involuntarily separated for health reasons and one of you is residing in a lodge, long-term care or supportive living facility, ensure you contact the Alberta Seniors Benefit program. Depending on your specific situation, Alberta Seniors Benefit may provide additional support. Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program may also take into consideration that you are maintaining two residences.

If you live in long-term care or designated supportive living, Special Needs Assistance for Seniors will deduct any Supplementary Accommodation Benefit claimed on your income tax return before calculating your eligibility for assistance.

Estates

Estates of a deceased senior may be eligible to receive reimbursement for expenses that a senior incurred prior to his or her death. The request must be received within 3 months of the date of death to be considered.

How to make a claim

To make a claim you must first be enrolled in the Seniors Financial Assistance programs.

If you have already completed this application form, there is no need to apply again.

You will not be eligible for any item purchased prior to your enrollment in the Seniors Financial Assistance programs.

Step 1: Review the information booklet

Step 2: Get a receipt or estimate for requested items

Send a receipt or estimate for each of the items requested. Ensure the receipt or estimate includes your:

  • full name (please print)
  • Personal Health Number
  • address
  • phone number

You may use the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors request form (PDF, 60 KB) when providing your receipt or estimate, but it is not necessary to make a claim.

Step 3: Include supporting documents

Some funded items need medical notes. Unless otherwise specified, a health professional includes:

  • physicians
  • nurse practitioners
  • registered nurses
  • registered social workers
  • physical therapists
  • occupational therapists working in the field of health care

Step 4: Review dates

The program can accept a receipt for an item that was bought up to 12 months prior to the date it was received. The date of the receipt is compared to the date we receive your claim.

You must have been eligible to make a claim when the item was purchased.

Step 5: Use one of the following options to start your claim

Make a request online

Use your MyAlberta Digital Identity (MADI) account to make your Special Needs Assistance for Seniors claims and review your claims history online. To make a claim or to create a MADI account, click on the link below and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Provide your SNA claim online

After review, the SNA program will send you a letter advising of your eligibility.

Online requests to the SNA program are voluntary. If you prefer, you may continue to request assistance using mail, fax and in-person options.

Send estimates, receipts or documents to the program

Submit documents online

Fax to 780-422-5954

Mail to:

Special Needs Assistance for Seniors
PO Box 3100
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4W3

After you make a claim

Alberta Seniors and Housing will review your request and contact you by mail regarding the outcome.

You may be contacted for additional information. If additional information is requested and not provided, the request will be assessed with the information on hand. The file may be closed if the missing information is critical to making a decision.

If you provided an estimate to SNA and have received funding, you may be asked to send in receipts showing that you purchased and paid for the items. Keep all receipts for funded items for at least 2 years from the date of purchase.

If you do not spend the money on approved items, you may be asked to return the funding.

If you do not send in a receipt, or return the funding, you will not be eligible for assistance in the future.

Appeals

To request an explanation or review of the information used to determine your eligibility for the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll free: 1-877-644-9992

You may appeal a decision regarding your request for assistance.

Step 1. Write a letter of appeal

Send information and supporting documentation that will assist with the review of your file to:

Director, Seniors Financial Assistance
Special Needs Assistance for Seniors
PO Box 3100
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4W3

Or send by fax to: 780-422-5954

Step 2. Request a final review

If your concern is not resolved, request a final review by writing to:

Assistant Deputy Minister
Seniors and Strategic Services Division
PO Box 3100
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4W3

Or send by fax to: 780-422-5954

Step 3. Complete a Notice of Appeal form

Once Step 2 is complete, a Notice of Appeal form will be mailed to you. Follow the instructions provided with the form.

Contact

Connect with the Alberta Supports Contact Centre:

Hours: 7:30 am to 8 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 1-877-644-9992
Fax: 780-422-5954

Address:
Special Needs Assistance for Seniors
PO Box 3100
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4W3

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