Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide



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 Yukon

Social Assistance

In Yukon, the Department of Health and Social Services has a Social Assistance program for people who require financial support to pay for their basic needs. There are two broad categories of assistance:

  1. General Assistance (money for food, clothing, utilities and rent)
  2. Items of Supplementary Need (money for things like special health-care costs, furniture and moving)

The amount of assistance a person can receive every month depends on factors such as their income level, family size and where they live within the territory. Social Assistance clients can also obtain benefits such as health care, dental care, prescription drug coverage and transportation to medical appointments.

People living with hepatitis C who cannot work may want to inquire about the Yukon Supplementary Allowance (YSA). The YSA is a financial allowance given on top of the basic Social Assistance to help people who are unable to work for at least one year due to a severe or prolonged disability. People living with a disability or a chronic illness like hepatitis C may be able to access additional financial support to assist with their health-related needs. Individuals can talk to their case worker to get more information. To apply for Social Assistance, people can contact their local Social Assistance Office to make an appointment.

Job Training and Employment Services are available to Social Assistance clients who are able to work, so that they can access the skills training needed to find a job. The Employment and Training Services Unit of the Department of Health and Social Services works with clients to locate short-term job-training programs (one year or less) so that people can find employment as quickly as possible. People can discuss these options with their case manager to see if there is a program that may be helpful.

If people disagree with a decision about their Social Assistance application, they can request a Review Hearing to have their case reviewed. Having the assistance of a community advocate can usually help 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.