Step 2: Applying for benefits

Help with navigating online resources


If someone has a low digital literacy, it can be tough to complete online benefits applications, use online portals such as MyCRA, and find relevant information about benefits updates or eligibility. Even without specific benefit knowledge, a staff member helping clients navigate these online platforms can be a big help in applying for benefits.

Offering online support may be a simple way for your organization to provide access to benefits support and it is easy to provide along with settlement or employment supports.

You should be prepared with the following:

  • Physical space — An accessible space for community members to use the computer with the assistance of a staff member. It is important to have a private area, such as an office area, to help clients feel at ease asking questions and sharing personal information.
  • Staff time — Staff will require time to sit with clients and help them navigate the online forms. Clients may require assistance understanding the terminology, using the computer, or need moral support.
  • Technology — Up-to-date technology is required as many government forms require up-to-date versions of software such as Adobe Acrobat.

  • Designate technology and an accessible space within your organization for staff and community members to access. You may want to have a designated staff person available to assist community members who require online support.
  • Create instructions or handouts on how to use the technology in plain language - and multiple languages if possible.
  • Integrate online navigation assistance into already existing meetings. You can ask in a pre-assessment survey if clients need this kind of support.

  • Consider offering courses or workshops for clients to learn how to navigate benefit applications online. You can also offer workshops on how to use the Benefit Wayfinder and demonstrate how it works. Consider providing a printed booklet on how the [Benefits wayfinder]( works during these in-person sessions. This kind of workshop contributes positively to a person’s financial empowerment.
  • Provide digital training for staff so they can help clients with online navigation.

  • Libraries are a common place where this kind of support is available as they provide internet access and have librarians on-hand to support and answer customer questions.
  • The Toronto Public Library offers technical help and a Book a Librarian service.

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Best practices

Get practical tools, methods, and advice. Learn from other organizations who are already providing access to benefits services by accessing this collection of their best practices.

Best practices