FEPS connects children to disability supports

28 September 2018
Author: Simi Khosa
The Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving (FEPS) program provides one-on-one financial problem-solving, tax filing assistance and financial education workshops to Ontarians with low and modest incomes and urgent financial problems. In just three years, FEPS has helped over 35,000 Ontarians with low incomes solve financial crises, build their financial capability, tax file, and secure over $100 million in federal and provincial income assistance in just three years. (FEPS II Year 1 report

Lori's story

Lori, a single mother of two children, aged 5 and 10 years old, was first introduced to FEPS when she participated in a workshop offered by Agincourt Community Services Association’s (ACSAs) Child and Family Department. Both of her children have developmental issues and require full-time supervision. Due to the strain, Lori had fallen behind with her tax filing and was directed to FEPS to help her catch up.

It turned out that Lori had not filed her taxes since 2013 and thus had not collected any tax benefits or Canada Child Benefits (CCB) for her two children. After the FEPS worker prepared four years of tax returns for her, Lori sat in a state of shock... her expected benefits totalled over $57,000.

Overwhelmed but cautious, Lori’s first question was, “What do I do with all this money?” The worker then discussed savings tools both for Lori and her children. Lori’s outlook went from, “How can I afford things right now for my children?” to “What can I do now to ensure my children have a financially secure future?” Not long after, the FEPS worker followed up and connected Lori with resources including an online financial planning tool for people with disabilities (futureplanningtool.ca), and an opportunity to network with other families living with developmental issues.

The support and programs offered by FEPS and ACSA gave her the strength to take action and make important connections that will help her and give her confidence in her decisions and her children’s futures. 

FEPS is a community-based program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children Community and Social Services (MCCSS) and delivered by: ACSA, Jane Finch Community and Family Centre, The Working Centre, West Neighbourhood House and Prosper Canada.

Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) acts as a bridge between people who need help and those who can provide it. Today, ACSA addresses a variety of issues including systemic poverty, hunger, housing, homelessness, unemployment, accessibility and social isolation. 

Resources:
RDSP calculator
Future Planning Tool
SmartSaver

*Photo from stock photography


THE AUTHOR

Simi Khosa is the Marketing and Communications Intern at Prosper Canada. Simi is interested in learning about social justice issues. She has a media studies and women and gender studies degree from the University of Toronto. Simi is pursuing a masters degree in gender studies from Memorial University in September 2018.

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