Programs that provide assistance for people who are having difficulty understanding and/or obtaining grants, payments, services or other benefits for which they are eligible. The programs may help people understand the eligibility criteria for benefits, the benefits provided by the program, the payment process and the rights of beneficiaries; provide consultation and advice; help them complete benefits application forms; negotiate on their behalf with benefits administration staff; and/or represent them in administrative processes or judicial litigation. Included are benefits counselling organizations that offer a range of advocacy services and legal aid programs that offer more formalized legal assistance.
Programs that provide assistance for people who are experiencing an unexpected financial crisis and have insufficient resources to obtain essential services or to meet expenses in situations where financial assistance related to their specific circumstance is unavailable. Monetary assistance may be in the form of immediate cash, loans, cheques or vouchers.
Programs that provide benefits screening services which help individuals determine whether they are eligible for benefits through any of a wide variety of public and private federal, provincial and local programs. In addition to identifying the benefits that a person may be eligible to receive, the service also provides a detailed description of the programs, local contacts for additional information (typically the addresses and phone numbers of where to apply for the programs), and materials to help successfully apply for each program. Some benefits screening programs may focus on specific populations such as older adults and people with disabilities.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.