Access to disability supports expanding

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Islanders needing disability supports, including those for mental health, will be able to access them more easily and quickly.

Cabinet has directed the Department of Family and Human Services to expand the Disability Support Program to include mental health supports.

Program improvements will create a single entry point where Islanders with disabilities, both physical and mental health related, can access a full range of government and community services. Under the expanded supports, eligibility will be based on functional needs rather than a diagnosis, and Islanders who receive more than one service will have a single case worker once they are assessed.

“We are pleased that government is expanding the scope of the program so that Islanders who are disabled by mental illnesses may be eligible for support,” said Reid Burke, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association.  “It is important to provide the necessary assistance to those who are impacted by mental illnesses so they have the best opportunity for recovery.”

A functional assessment will determine how an individual’s disability impacts their daily life and supports will be provided for unmet needs such as assistive devices, respite care, employment supports, or helps navigating various services. The improvements will complement supports already in place.   

Government will begin working with community partners in the coming weeks to help guide the development and implementation of the improved supports. The expanded disability supports should be fully operational by spring 2018.  

“Government is committed to helping Islanders living with disabilities reach their full potential and to be active members of our Island communities,” Family and Human Services Minster Tina Mundy said. “These improvements will ensure that more Islanders are eligible to receive the help they need, when they need it the most.”

Media contact:
Darlene Gillis
Department of Family and Human Services

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