Budget 2020: A plan for jobs and the economy makes changes to the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program effective July 1, 2020.

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 and/or your spouse 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. For information regarding supports for individuals under the age of 65 please visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services website.

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/cohabitation status
  • your income – combined with your spouse/partner's income

In general, a single senior with a total annual income of $28,785 or less, or a senior couple with a total combined annual income of $46,745 or less, may be eligible to receive assistance.

Your (and your spouse/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.

Eligible items are funded at primary or secondary income levels.

Marital status Annual total income Funding level
Single senior $24,385 or less Primary and secondary items
$24,386 to $28,785 Primary items only
Over $28,785 No funding
Senior couple $38,545 or less Primary and secondary items
$38,546 to $46,745 Primary items only
Over $46,745 No funding

Eligible items

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

  • appliances/furniture
  • health supports
  • personal supports

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

Primary funded items

Appliances/furniture

Only one of each funded appliance/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.

Additionally, you can only request funding for one appliance/furniture item for a single senior or senior couple per benefit year, regardless of whether the expense is a primary or secondary funded item. For example, you can receive funding for a bed or a television in one benefit year, not both. Some exceptions are allowed as noted in the table below.

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

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

The following are maximum amounts. Repairs to funded appliances may also be considered.

Include a receipt or estimate with your appliance/bed request.

Appliance Maximum Notes
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.

All maximum amounts include:

  • GST
  • delivery
  • removal of the old appliance
  • installation/hook-up
  • environmental fees

Health supports

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and supplies: maximum $1,634 (once every 5 years) for a medically required CPAP. A maximum $205 per year for supplies in any subsequent benefit year.

Documents to include with your:

  • Level 1 Sleep Assessment Polysomnogram
  • prescription from physician with fixed pressure setting
  • receipt or estimate for a CPAP machine
  • Level 3 sleep test if your Level 1 test is 5 years or older
  • current 3 to 4 week compliance report from your current machine (if applicable)

Diabetic supplies: Funding is provided based on the control method of your diabetes.

  • Diabetics who control their diabetes through:
    • diet/exercise – maximum funding is $373 per year
    • oral medications – maximum funding is $1,118 per year
    • insulin – maximum funding is $1,251 per year
  • Diabetic supplies include:
    • test strips
    • lancets
    • needles
    • antiseptic swabs
    • ‘sharps’ containers
  • Diabetic supplies do not include prescribed medications.

Documents to include with your request:

  • A receipt or a recent 12-month prescription printout from your pharmacist showing the diabetic supplies purchased.
  • Information regarding the diabetes management method (oral medications, insulin, diet and exercise).

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

  • Only Ensure, Boost, Glucerna, Resource, Dairy Thick and Nepro or other brands that are nutritionally equivalent will be considered.

Documents to include with your request:

  • 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 and confirms the medical condition.
  • 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: maximum $26 per month for regular maintenance (nail trimming and callus removal).

Documents to include with your request:

  • Receipts must include the senior's name, date of service and type of service provided.
  • The service provider's information including name, phone number and signature must also appear on the receipt.

Prescription costs: 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 and $90 per month for a senior couple. Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.

  • Over-the-counter medications and medications not on the Drug Benefit List are not considered.

Documents to include with your request:

  • 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: maximum $1,200.

  • Assists with costs to prepare and fumigate a residence due to a bed bug infestation.

Documents to include with your request:

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

Celiac groceries: maximum $52 per month. Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.

  • Funding is determined using the date your request is received.

Documents to include with your request:

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

Clothing: maximum $613 per year. Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.

  • Funding is determined using the date your request is received.

Documents to include with your request:

  • 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: maximum $1,500. Funded once in a lifetime.

  • 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.

Documents to include with your request:

  • A letter from the agency identifying a hoarding situation.
  • An estimate or receipt for the clean-up.

Medical trips: assistance is provided for medical trips greater than 80 kilometres (round trip) to see a medical specialist or for medical testing/treatment.

Documents to include with your request:

  • A report from the medical specialist or medical facility specifying the dates of the appointment and confirmation of attendance.
  • If you stayed overnight and paid for accommodations, provide a copy of the receipt. A maximum of $103 per night is funded. Receipts must be in the name of the senior or the senior's spouse.
  • Medical trips are funded based on a per diem amount, taking into consideration distance travelled, transportation costs, meals and parking. It is not necessary to provide receipts for these items. Meal costs are considered on travel days only.

A once in a lifetime medical transportation benefit of $87 is available for 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.

Documents to include with your request:

  • Documentation from the transferring facility indicating that the senior requires medically supervised transfer by ambulance.

Medication administration fee: maximum $70 per month. Benefits are provided for the current benefit year only.

Documents to include with your request:

  • Documentation from the facility stating the monthly medication administration fee and the effective date.

Personal response service monitoring fees: maximum $20 per month. 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/alarm services, or internal facility response services.

Documents to include with your request:

  • An estimate or receipt for monthly monitoring fees.

Relocation of washer and dryer: maximum $817. Funded once in a lifetime.

Documents to include with your request:

  • A medical note from a health professional describing the medical condition that necessitates relocation.
  • An estimate or receipt.

Utility disconnection: 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 15th to April 15th. Natural gas distributors cannot disconnect services from November 1st to April 14th

Documents to include with your request:

  • A disconnection notice from the utility company.
  • The utility account and disconnection notice must be in the senior’s name.

Wigs: maximum $256 each (2 per year).

Documents to include with your request:

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

Secondary funded items

Appliances/furniture

Only one of each funded appliance/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.

Additionally, only one appliance/furniture item for a single senior or senior couple is considered in a benefit year regardless of whether the expense is a primary or secondary funded item. For example, you can receive funding for a bed or a television in one benefit year, not both. Some exceptions are allowed.

The following are maximum amounts. Repairs to funded appliances may also be considered.

Include a receipt or estimate with your appliance request.

Appliance Maximum
Microwave $103
Television $307
Vacuum $154

All maximum amounts include:

  • GST
  • delivery
  • removal of old appliance
  • installation/hook-up
  • environmental fees

Personal supports

Housekeeping and/or yard maintenance: maximum $1,226 in a benefit year.

  • Assistance is provided for light housekeeping, grass cutting, and snow removal only.
  • Applicants living with, renting from or paying family members are not eligible for assistance.
  • Seniors residing in a lodge or supportive living facility are not eligible for assistance.

Documents to include with your request:

  • A medical note from a health professional the first time you make a request specifying the mobility/health condition that does not allow you (and your spouse) to do your own housekeeping/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 – total cost

Respite care: maximum 4 weeks per benefit year.

  • 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.

Documents to include with your request:

  • A 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.
  • A receipt or estimate from the care centre.

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, 52 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 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