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Need welfare? How to apply to Ontario Works

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What if someone in my household needs a special diet?

People who have certain medical conditions might be able to get a special diet allowance as part of the assistance they get from OW.

The amount someone gets depends on the medical condition they have.

If you or other members of your household qualify for a special diet, OW must look at this when they decide:

  • whether you qualify for financial assistance
  • how much assistance you should get

To apply for a special diet allowance, you must use the special diet allowance application form. You can ask an OW worker for this form when you apply for OW. You can also apply for the special diet allowance when you are on OW.

A health professional has to fill out the form.

The health professional has to be approved to practise in Ontario as one of the following:

  • a family doctor or a specialist
  • a dietitian
  • a nurse practitioner
  • a midwife, if a woman needs a special diet because she is pregnant or breastfeeding

A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding can get a nutritional allowance. This is separate from a special diet allowance. You apply for it using a different form.

You also have to sign a consent form. This lets your doctor or other health professionals give OW more medical information if they ask for it.

OW can:

  • ask for more information to show that you need a special diet
  • ask a different health professional to fill out another special diet allowance application form

The application form lists all the medical conditions that qualify for a special diet allowance. If a medical condition is not on the list, you cannot get an allowance for it.

And for each medical condition on the form, there is a maximum amount of money you can get.

If OW refuses your application for a special diet allowance, you can appeal the decision. There is information about time limits and how to appeal in CLEO's resource Appealing a decision about social assistance.

To find out more about special diets and which medical conditions are listed, contact your community legal clinic. See How can I get legal help and information?