"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Direct Family Support ... Part of the Services for Persons with Disabilities Program

As promised, a look at the first of the three new policies under the Province's Services for Persons with Disabilities program.

Families familiar with the former In Home Support Program for Children will be fairly familiar with the concept behind the Direct Family Support program. Simply put, direct financial support "extraordinary expenses" is provided to a family who cares for an eligible family member with a disability at home.

Under the new program, age is not a factor - the family member with a disability can be either an adult or a child. Although the eligibility requirements are slightly different depending on the age of the indivdiual with a disability, as set out below.

For children, eligible expenses include such things as respite, transportation, medication and other items "considered as "special needs".

A different standard is applied to adults, for whom eligible expenses can include shelter, food, clothing, prescriptions, transportation, a comfort (personal use) allowance, and other "special needs". If this wording sounds familiar to you, there's good reason. The Direct Family Support for Adults is intended to take away the stigma associated with receiving social assistance (which is now more properly called "Employment and Income Assistance") and provide one source of funding for adults with disabilities in the Province, for both basic and special needs.

In the case of a child
  • the child must be a permanent resident of NS
  • under the age of 19 years
  • live in the home of his or her family or guardian; and
  • fit within one of the following classifications:
  1. diagnosed by an approved clinician as having a mild or moderate intellectual disability* with a significant behavioural challenge that has been documented within the last two years;
  2. diagnosed by an approved clinician as having a severe intellectual disability* that has been documented within the last two years; or
  3. have a significant physical disability* with ongoing functional limitations that are a result of the disability and which seriously limits their capacity to perform age appropriate activities of daily living as determined by an approved clinician;

  • In addition, the family must also meet certain financial eligibilitycriteria.


In the case of an adult:

  • the adult must be a permanent resident of NS
  • between the ages of 19 and 65
  • reside in the home of a family member or guardian
  • have a medical diagnosis of either an intellectual disability*, long termmental illness* or physical disability*
  • have unmet needs as identified through the assessment process
  • meet the financial eligibility criteria


* Definitions of these terms and others can be found in the Direct Family Support Policy document


For more information, contact:



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