Types of Assistance Offered
Each type of assistance to which you are entitled must be recommended by the person responsible for integrating disabled students at your educational institution. That recommendation must be made using the Recommendation on Types of Assistance Required form.
If that person deems it appropriate, he or she may consult a health professional who specializes in the field of your disability.
Aide financière aux études reserves the right to request the opinion of a physician or an organization that specializes in services provided to individuals that have a major functional or other recognized disability.
You may obtain a refund for costs incurred to use specialized services that compensate for the effects of your disability, and which are required for you to pursue your studies in an educational institution, as long as no other program or body aims to fill the same need.
You and the resource person who is delivering the specialized service must sign an attestation of specialized services. You may use the Attestation of specialized services form. If you do not use that form, be sure that the contract you sign contains the same information required by our form. Afterward, you must send us the attestation of specialized services, duly completed and signed. Note that we may use it at a later date for verification purposes.
Recognized specialized services
The following specialized services are recognized:
Recording on audio cassette of the required books and class notes for a person with a severe visual impairment.
Note-taking manually or using a keyboard for a person with a major functional disability or another recognized disability.
Taking of class notes verbatim for a person with a major functional disability or another recognized disability.
Translation into Québec sign language or American Sign Language (ASL) or signed French or English of the class contents for a person with a hearing impairment.
Assistance provided to a person with a major functional disability or another recognized disability for certain needs, such as academic support (writing exams, library research, tutoring), hygiene, mobility.
Tutoring is among the specialized academic support services offered by coaching departments at educational institutions. Individuals able to provide individual academic assistance to support students experiencing problems or offer specialized training are authorized as tutors under this program.
Paratransit service and housing allowance
The Allowance for Special Needs Program provides for the reimbursement of paratransit expenses in the event of reduced mobility due to a disability and in the absence of an appropriate public transit service.
If you need to rent a dwelling close to your educational institution due to a disability, a housing allowance may be granted. In this case, an allowance for public paratransit services may also be granted.
Eligible paratransit expenses and housing allowance
- Public paratransit
If you are receiving assistance under the Loans and Bursaries Program and you can use a public paratransit service while living with your parents, no allowance will be paid to you because your transportation expenses are already reimbursed under the Loans and Bursaries Program.
If you are receiving assistance under the Loans and Bursaries Program but do not live with your parents or if you are not receiving assistance under the Loans and Bursaries Program, the average cost of a bus pass will be reimbursed.
- Private paratransit, taxi or private passenger vehicle
Expenses incurred for transportation via private paratransit, taxi or a private passenger vehicle may be reimbursed if public paratransit services are absent or inadequate.
If the recommendation is for paratransit services and the public paratransit carrier cannot provide those services, you must include, with the Recommendation on Types of Assistance Required form, a letter from the public paratransit carrier confirming that it cannot provide transportation services to you and specifying the reasons why (e.g. educational institution outside area served, waiting list, conflicting schedule). You will be required to provide that letter only once per award year, provided there are no changes in your circumstances (e.g. change of address or educational institution).
The person responsible for integrating disabled students at the educational institution will recommend the appropriate service after you have provided the required documents.
Note that if an adequate public paratransit service is available and you choose another means of transportation, only the cost of the public carrier’s monthly pass will be reimbursed.
- Housing allowance
If you choose to rent a dwelling near your educational institution due to your disability, a monthly allowance can be paid to cover a portion of the rent. Only public paratransit expenses can be requested along with a housing allowance.
Expenses incurred for adaptive equipment or a device intended to offset the effects of your disability are reimbursed. That equipment must be required to pursue your studies at home, insofar as those needs are not met by another program or organization.
The reimbursement of your material resources must be recommended by the person responsible for integrating disabled students at the educational institution in the Recommendation on Types of Assistance Required form.
You must obtain and keep a price quote for the purchase of each material resource. This will enable the person responsible for integrating disabled students to indicate the cost of the purchase on the form.
If the material resources recommended are not part of the categories listed in this section, the person responsible for integrating disabled students at the educational institution must include a letter explaining why you require that material at home to offset the effects of your disability and pursue your studies adequately. Aide financière aux études will evaluate those reasons and, if they are not considered valid, the reimbursement may be refused. The expression Special needs and your permanent code must be specified in the upper right-hand corner of the letter.
Material resources exclude furniture (chairs, tables, adapted beds, etc.), digital touch-screen devices (MP3, smartphone, etc.) and electronic tablets.
Eligible material resources
The following material resources are eligible:
- Specialized software
If you have a severe visual impairment, this software will give you access to books in electronic form (e.g. XDI).
The cost of perishable material (e.g., NCR paper, photocopies, CDs) is reimbursed if that material is required for reading, note-taking and transcription services.
- Computer access device
Only substitutes or alternatives to a standard keyboard (e.g. keyboard with large letters), a standard mouse (e.g. mouth pointing device), and a standard screen (e.g. software to enlarge cursor or pointer) are reimbursed.
- Braille course material
Expenses incurred for the transcription (data entry, encoding) of printed material in Braille are not reimbursed, except the reproduction of course material into Braille (paper or the electronic equivalent). Prices are predetermined following an agreement between the authorized service provider and the Ministère.
- Desktop or laptop computer
If you must purchase a desktop or laptop computer to pursue your studies, you could be entitled to an additional allowance of $2 000, all taxes included.
Anti-virus software, extended warranties and installation costs are not reimbursed.
The cost of a carrying bag and speakers are only reimbursed if recommended to offsets the student’s disability.
Aide financière aux études will assess the rationale for the recommendation and if this is deemed inappropriate could decline to reimburse.
The computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer and if applicable, operating system and office suite software such as word processing, spreadsheet and presentation are only reimbursed once in a lifetime.
Students who have already benefitted from the former Guaranteed Loan Program for the purchase of a micro-computer or have had the cost of purchasing computer equipment recognized under the Loans and Bursaries Program do not qualify for this allowance.
You will be reimbursed for only those additional peripherals that are related to the computer and acquired under this program, in addition to the amounts provided for above, if they are required to offset the effects of your disability.
In order for the peripherals to be eligible for reimbursement, you must have acquired them at the same time you purchased your computer.
Assistive communication device
An assistive communication device is reimbursed for non-vocal persons who have particular difficulty in making themselves understood. The device must enable the user to construct a message with symbols or pictograms, which are subsequently translated into an auditory message or a text. Considering the cost and complexity of this type of device, it is strongly suggested that you consult an augmentative communication expert before making your request.
An assistive communication device is reimbursed only once in a student’s lifetime.
Equipment repair or replacement
Reimbursement of the cost of repairing or replacing devices (desktop or laptop computer, augmentative communication device) can be awarded only if the devices were acquired under the Allowance for Special Needs Program and you attend a school where the “material resources” program component is covered.
In that case, you must send us the Application for the Authorization of Equipment Repair or Replacement form, duly completed.
To be approved, the estimate must be less than 60% of the value of the device at the time of purchase. If it is more costly to repair the device, you can request it be replaced. The same applies if the repairs cost more than the current replacement cost or if the device cannot be repaired.
You must receive authorization from Aide financière aux études before incurring expenses for the repair or replacement of a device. However, the expenses incurred to obtain an estimate will not be reimbursed.
For a computer, the cost estimate for repairs must be made by the business that sold it, pursuant to the related guarantee, or by any other business if the guarantee is not applicable. The repairs must be carried out by the business that provided the estimate.
For an assistive communication device, you must obtain a cost estimate for repairs from the technical assistance service of the rehabilitation centre or a recognized facility. The repairs must be carried out or requested by the technical assistance service that provided the estimate.
Following the payment of the required amount, you have 60 days to send us the invoice confirming payment of the device’s repair or replacement. Note that this differs from the procedure for sending receipts, which requires receipts be sent within 30 days of the end of the period of study concerned.
Important: The cost of repairing or replacing the device is only reimbursed once in the student’s lifetime.