Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide


Prince Edward Island

People living with hepatitis C may have difficulty working if their illness becomes severe or the side effects of treatment become difficult. Different programs are available to help cover costs of living for people in these situations. Income assistance (also referred to as financial or social assistance) is for people who need help paying for basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing and health care. Applicants may want to discuss their health status with their case worker so they can get the most financial and social support possible.

Programs in Prince Edward Island

Social Assistance

In Prince Edward Island, the Department of Community Services, Seniors and Labour offers an income support program known as Social Assistance. If a person requires help paying for their basic needs, such as food, rent, personal expenses and medical costs, they can apply for benefits at their local Social Assistance office. In addition to a monthly payment, people may also have access to non-financial supports, such as employment services. Islanders can call their local Social Assistance office or their case worker if they need help finding or retaining employment due to their health condition.

People with disabilities can also apply for non-financial benefits from the Disability Support Program (DSP). Disabling symptoms of chronic hepatitis C may or may not be considered a disability by the DSP. Non-financial benefits include supports such as transportation, job training, recreational services and technical aids. The DSP provides supports in three main areas: child disability supports, adult disability supports, and employment and vocational supports. People living with a disability can contact their Regional Disability Office to find out if they are eligible for assistance. If a person already receives Social Assistance and their health condition is severely debilitating, they can speak with their case worker to find out if they qualify for the DSP.

If people disagree with a decision about their application for Social Assistance or Disability Support Services, they can file an appeal to have their case reviewed. Having the assistance of a community advocate can usually help with this process.

Programs in Canada

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

CPP is normally for people who have retired from working, but if a person has a medical disability, he or she may be able to receive monthly pensions before turning 65 from CPP Disability. A person must have worked in the past and paid CPP contributions (this is a standard deduction on most paychecks). The application must be accompanied by a detailed medical assessment confirming the medical condition. Often a person must appeal a negative decision for CPP disability before the application is approved.

Employment Insurance (EI)

EI is a program for people who have stopped working because they were laid off, had a baby or are too sick to work. Eligibility is based on the number of hours a person has worked, whether they have been on EI before, and what the unemployment rate is. It is usually a shorter-term program but can help while people are waiting for other programs, such as disability pensions. EI Regular Benefits can last almost a year while EI Sick Benefits generally last about 15 weeks. The amount of money a person can receive is based on a percentage of their income from their most recent job.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Many employers have employee benefits that can provide short-term disability benefits or a disability pension. Some may even have EAPs that provide counselling and financial planning. The person should enquire through the personnel or HR department. All such enquiries are kept confidential but the employee will have to disclose some personal medical information.

Revised 2014.