Who can use this tool?
This tool is for service providers who are working in a frontline capacity with clients living on a low income. It is free and accessible online. The content on the tool assumes that you or a referral source that you know, has some knowledge about how to help clients apply for government benefits. To learn more about the purpose and background of the tool, please read the About page.
What information will this tool provide me with?
This tool will provide you with a list of all the benefits that your client may be eligible for, based on their responses to a screening questionnaire. You and your client may select some or all of the recommended benefits, and look at the full list of 60+ benefits that are part of this tool. You can then prioritize the benefits you selected and Print, Download, or Email a PDF of the results to your client and/or yourself. You can also view local agencies that may provide resources related to applying for benefits or for broadly supporting people living on low income.
How do I use this tool?
When you arrive at the website, click “Get Started” to begin using the tool. The tool has three mandatory steps and one optional step.
- This is the screening step where you will go through 17 mandatory questions with your client.
- You may have to select the response that best reflects your client’s situation. For example, some people may have trouble calculating how much money is made by everyone in their household.
2. Eligible benefits
- This step shows you all the benefits that your client is eligible for based on their responses to the screening questionnaire.
- The benefits with a blue star icon are recommended by the tool. Benefits without a blue star icon are other benefits in the same category that are not recommended, but your client may want to consider.
- When you click on a benefit, you will learn about the application process, eligibility requirements, and more. You can also see if that benefit has a pre-requisite benefit that your client must apply for first. It may be helpful to review these with your client.
- Since it is possible that your client is already accessing some benefits, please review the recommended benefits carefully. Then, click the slider from “No” to “Yes” to add benefits to your list, My Benefits.
3. My Benefits
- This step allows you to prioritize the benefits that you and your client have selected.
- Benefits are categorized into eight categories: Health, Housing, Disability, Income, Retirement, Family, Education, and Transportation.
- Your client may have certain emergent needs related to one or more of these categories. This step allows you and your client to select benefits that are more important to apply for than others.
- You can click and drag the benefits to change their order and prioritize certain benefits over others.
- At the end of this step, you can Print, Download, or Email a PDF document of the prioritized benefits for your client and/or yourself. This PDF document has all the details for the benefits that were selected, in the order they were prioritized.
4. Find Help (optional)
- Thanks to our partnership with 211 Ontario, this step allows you to see all the local resources that may help your client access benefits or resources for people living on low income, such as food banks.
- As you support your client through the screening, reviewing recommendations, and prioritization steps, you may discover resources that your client may need in order to apply for benefits, such as access to a computer, printer, ID, shelter, or transportation.
- This step allows you to write down or print local resources that may be applicable.
Can I print or keep a record of the information generated by the tool?
Yes. Once you have selected and prioritized benefits (step three), you can Print, Download, or Email a PDF document of the prioritized benefits for your client and/or yourself. This PDF document has all the details for the benefits that were selected, in the order they were prioritized.
How do I use the PDF that is generated from this tool?
Review the PDF document with your client to make sure they understand the details on each page. You can use the notes section to write timelines, deadlines, instructions, and/or encouraging notes for your client before they leave.
You can also email a copy of the PDF to your client and/or yourself for future use. To keep track of multiple My Benefits lists, you can specify your client’s name in the subject line.
What benefits are included in the Benefits library?
The Benefits library contains all 60+ federal, Ontario, and some City of Toronto benefits in the BST. Benefits for other provinces and municipalities are not currently listed.
The benefits in this library are pulled from Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and City of Toronto websites as of January 2020.