Thursday, December 22, 2011

Poor children to see better in the New Year

December 21, 2011


Manitoba’s new $112,000 Children’s Opti-care program for low-income families is set to be launched Jan. 1 to help cover the cost of prescription eyeglasses for children, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“We were excited to unveil this program earlier this year as part of the ALL Aboard poverty reduction strategy and soon families will be able to take advantage of the offer,” said Mackintosh.  “We want to be sure all children have the benefit of good vision.”
Any family receiving the Manitoba Child Benefit will be eligible for the program provided they do not have optical coverage through another provider.  Families can apply to have their child’s eyeglass costs covered once every three years, but additional coverage may be available for children whose prescriptions change or who outgrow their glasses.
Once eligible families have paid for their children’s glasses, they can fill in a Children’s Opti-care program claim form and mail it in with the receipt.  The maximumreimbursement per child would be $84 or 80 per cent of the current Employment and Income Assistance Program optical fee schedule rate for eyeglasses ($105).  Children’s Opti-care program coverage may be higher for children with special vision needs.
ALL Aboard is led by a committee co-chaired by Mackintosh and Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross.  The committee oversees cross-departmental work to co‑ordinate efforts to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion.  It is complemented by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Education, Poverty and Citizenship, which engages representatives of the broader community.
Families thatre eligible to receive the Manitoba Child Benefit and do not have optical coverage from another program can apply for the Children’s Opti-care program when it comes into effect Jan. 1.  For more information or to apply for the Manitoba Child Benefit, families can call 1-800-563-8793 (toll‑free) or visit
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