THE ONTARIO DISABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAM
What is the Ontario Disability Support Program?
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) provides income support and employment supports to enable people with disabilities and their families to live as independently as possible in their communities. ODSP is designed to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities while recognizing that many can work and want to work.
Everyone has a right to apply to ODSP. Eligibility for ODSP is based on an applicant's individual circumstances, including his or her financial situation and disability status.
To be eligible for ODSP an applicant must:
be a resident of Ontario
be 18 years of age or older
be in financial need; and
have assets no greater than the limits set out in the program.
The ministry takes into account a variety of factors related to an applicant's circumstances, including assets and income from all sources, family size and make up, and type of accommodation.
Applicants or recipients must demonstrate reasonable efforts to obtain available income, including child and/or spousal support
A person is ineligible for ODSP Income Support when their income from other sources exceeds the amount they would otherwise receive from ODSP, after all exemptions and deductions have been taken into consideration.
The allowable asset limits are as follows:
$40,000 for a single recipient
$50,000 for a couple
$500 for each dependant (other than a spouse)
(With prior approval, the allowable asset limit may be increased to permit the purchase of an item that is necessary for the health of a member of the benefit unit, or for disability related items or services)
Definition of Disability
To receive ODSP Income Support, a person must be financially eligible and meet the definition of disability in the ODSP Act: www.mcss.gov.on.ca
(a) the person has a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and expected to last one year or more,
(b) the direct and cumulative effect of the impairment on the person's ability to attend to his or her personal care, function in the community and function in a workplace, results in a substantial restriction in one or more of these activities of daily living; and,
(c) the impairment and its likely duration and the restriction in the person's activities of daily living have been verified by a person with the prescribed qualifications (a medical doctor or other specified health professional).
The ministry's Disability Adjudication Unit is responsible for reviewing the medical information provided by an approved health professional and determining whether the applicant meets the definition of a person with a disability as outlined under the ODSP Act, If a person's condition is expected to improve, a medical review date is set. Others may qualify for the program as members of a "prescribed class" if they are financially eligible. Members of a "prescribed class" do not require medical adjudication.
The Disability Adjudication Unit (DAU) is responsible for determining whether an applicant is a person with a disability. Where an applicant is determined to be financially eligible the local office provides a referral to the DAU (unless the applicant is a member of a prescribed class*), and the applicant is given a Disability Determination Package (DDP), to have an approved health professional complete and return to the DAU. If the applicant is receiving Ontario Works and wishes to apply for ODSP Income Support, the Ontario Works office makes a referral to the DAU. The applicant is provided with a DDP to have an approved health professional complete and return to the DAU. The DDP consists of:
Health Status Report and Activities of Daily Living Index
General Consent to the Release of Medical and Related
Information to the Disability Adjudication Unit
An Instruction Sheet
The role of the DAU is to determine whether an applicant is a person with a disability under the ODSP Act using the information provided in the DDP, and any supporting medical
documentation submitted. Once the DDP has been received by the DAU, a determination
is made within 90 days. If the person is determined to be a person with a disability under the ODSP Act: An applicant who applied directly to an ODSP office is granted Income Support after the local ODSP office re-confirms financial eligibility.
• Where the person is receiving Ontario Works, the applicant is granted Income Support based on a review of the financial information in the electronic file provided by the Ontario Works Administrator.
Cases referred from Ontario Works to ODSP are prioritized for a full financial eligibility review within 12 months of the last full Consolidated Verification Process (CVP) review, or the date
that Ontario Works eligibility was determined, whichever is later.
If determined to be not eligible for ODSP Income Support, the applicant may request an Internal Review Applicants have thirty days from receipt of the decision to request an internal review.
Requests for an Internal Review regarding: A financial decision must be made in writing and sent to the local ODSP office. A disability-related decision must be made in writing and submitted to the DAU. If the applicant does not agree with the results of the Internal Review,
they may file an appeal with the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT). During the appeals process, applicants may request interim assistance from the SBT. If the appellant loses an appeal to the SBT, the amount of interim assistance that exceeds the amount the recipient would have been
eligible to receive may have to be repaid-
Applicants who appeal a financial eligibility decision are issued an OOP. This enables the applicant to proceed with their disability determination process while appealing their financial eligibility ODSP employment supports clients may ask to have a decision related to eligibility, or the suspension or cancellation of services, reviewed by an independent Dispute Resolution Committee. ODSP employment supports clients may ask to have a decision related to eligibility, or the suspension or cancellation of services, reviewed by an independent Dispute Resolution Committee
Eligible recipients receive monthly cheques/electronic bank deposits to cover basic living expenses. Monthly income assistance benefit: (effective September 1 2017)
Basic Needs $662
Shelter Allowance $489
Single Person living at home
Board and Lodge $821
Couple; both with a disability
Basic Needs $1,318
Shelter Allowance $768
Couples may receive an additional shelter allowance of $70, but the maximum support may not exceed $1,950
The ODSP monthly income support includes:
Basic Needs - This component is intended to assist with the cost of food, clothing and other necessary personal items for the recipient, and a spouse and any dependent adults, if applicable
Supplements are included in the basic rate for dependants aged 13-17 and sole-support parents with dependants under the age of 18. Eligible recipients may also receive the Ontario Child Benefit and/or Transition Child Benefit for their children.
Shelter Allowance- This component assists with the actual cost of heat, utilities, mortgage or rent, property taxes, home insurance premiums and condominium fees, up to the maximum amount based on family size, which includes dependent children
Costs related to a person's disability: Recipients may qualify for a Special Diet Allowance, Guide Dog Allowance or a Mandatory Special Necessities Benefit.
ODSP benefits may be increased.
Adults living with their parent(s) receiving the “Board and Lodge” monthly income assistance benefit may qualify to increase in their monthly benefit. To learn more about how to increase their monthly income assistance benefit contact….Lifetrust@rogers.com
Eligible individuals of an ODSP benefit unit can receive supplemental health care benefits such as drug coverage, coverage for basic dental services, and assistance with the costs of vision care hearing aids, medical transportation, diabetic supplies, assistive devices and mobility device repairs and batteries
Ontario Child Benefit, in the 2007 provincial Budget, the government announced a provincially funded, non-taxable Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) for low-income families with children under 18 years of age.
Eligibility is based on family income, so low-income parents need to file annual income taxes whether they are working or not. Each child must be registered for the Canada Child Tax Benefit for their family to become eligible for the OCB
Transition Child Benefit, A Transition Child Benefit (TCB) may also be provided to eligible families on social assistance who are not receiving the OCB or who are receiving less than the maximum amount of the OCB. Eligible recipients may receive the TCB while waiting for OCB payments to start. When their monthly Ontario Child Benefit payments start, they may receive a lump-sum Ontario Child Benefit/NCBS payment that covers the months they waited. Since the Transition Child Benefit was already paid for the same period, the next social assistance payment is reduced to avoid a duplication of benefits.
Liquid Asset limit
Assets are taken into consideration when assessing financial eligibility. As noted, the prescribed asset limits is $40,000 for a single recipient and $50,000for a couple and $500 for each dependant other than a spouse. Liquid assets include, but are not limited to: Cash; bank accounts; Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), if funds are accessible, bonds, investments; other assets which can be readily converted to cash (e.g.: stamp collection, coins, jewellery etc.)
Certain assets are exempt when assessing financial eligibility. These include: Principal residence; primary vehicle; RRSPs where funds are locked in; Registered Educational Savings Plans (RESPs); Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs); prepaid funerals; tools of the trade for those who are self-employed or require them for employment; some trust funds
With approval, the allowable asset limit for a benefit unit may be increased to permit the purchase of an item that is necessary for the health of a family member or for disability
related items or services.
Assets in access of the asset limit can be exempted!
To exempt up to $100,000 from the liquid asset limit contact us:
Treatment of Income
Income is treated in several ways under ODSP. For example: Some that do not affect eligibility or Income Support payments (e.g. dependent children's earnings, withdrawals from Registered Disability Savings Plans) Some are partially exempt, e g. employment or training income, which is 50% exempted and 50% charged). Some is wholly charged: deducted dollar-for-dollar from
Income Support Payments (e.g. Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance or other income replacement payments)
Gifts and voluntary payments for any purpose are exempt as income up to $10,000 in a twelve month period for each person. Also, all gifts and voluntary payments used for approved disability-related items or services are exempt as income, regardless of the amount; however pre-approval is required. Voluntary contributions and federal contributions to and withdrawals from RDSPs are fully exempt as income
Applicant/ Recipient Responsibility
Eligibility for ODSP Income Support is established on a monthly basis. To determine ongoing eligibility, recipients are required to provide any information that may affect their eligibility for ODSP Income Support, including new or changed circumstances, the receipt or disposition of assets, and the receipt or expected receipt of income or other financial resources. Recipients receive two reports each month with their Income Support cheque or statement of direct deposit:
Recipients are required to advise the worker of changes when they occur If no changes have occurred, the recipient is not required to send in this report- Changes can also be communicated to the worker by phone, letter or fax.
Employment/Training Income Report
All recipients receive an Employment/Training Income Report (ETIR). An ETIR must be completed if a recipient - or spouse or adult dependants - receives any earnings from a job or training program between the first and last day of the month. An ETIR must also be completed if a recipient usually reports earnings, even if there are no earnings in a month. Recipients who are self-employed are not required to submit the monthly ETIR but must submit a business income and expense report at least once per year. ODSP employment supports clients may ask to have a decision related to eligibility, or the suspension or cancellation of services, reviewed by an independent Dispute Resolution Committee. ODSP Income Support provides employment-related benefits and assistance to help recipients and their adult family members to find and keep a job and cover some of their work-related costs
ODSP Medical Benefits
ODSP Income Support provides benefits that are health-related: Prescription Drug Coverage - for most prescription drug costs. Dental Coverage - for services provided by both dentists and
dental hygienists, Vision Care and Hearing Aids - for prescription eyeglasses and repairs, routine eye examinations and hearing aids, including batteries and repairs.
Mandatory Special Necessities, assists with the cost of diabetic supplies, surgical supplies and dressings, and travel and transportation to medical appointments.
Mobility Devices - Batteries and Repairs - helps cover the cost of purchasing new replacement batteries for wheelchairs or necessary repairs to a mobility device
Assistive Devices, assists with the consumer contribution for assistive devices approved by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care's Assistive Devices Program Transitional and Extended Health Benefits
Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit, provides extra money to help establish a new residence or to maintain an existing residence. Home Repairs, helps pay for the cost of necessary home repairs
Discretionary Benefit for Low-Cost Energy Conservation Measures - assists with low-cost energy conservation measures to help reduce the cost of energy bills. Discretionary Benefits - Ontario Works offices may provide assistance to ODSP recipients in special circumstances e.g. travel and transportation for non-health related purposes such as attending the funeral for a next
of kin and for special services, items or payments such as replacement and repair of essential household furniture and appliances.
Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities
The ODSP Act provides authority to pay benefits of up to $482 (09/01/2017) a month to parents caring for children under 18 with severe disabilities to assist with their extraordinary costs and
to enable the children to live at home and out of institutions. This program is income tested. The program is administered by the Ministry's nine Regional Offices. The policy responsibility is with the Specialized Services and Supports Branch of the Ministry of Children and Youth
ODSP Employment-Related Supports and Benefits. ODSP provides employment assistance and employment-related benefits to help Income Support recipients and their families find a job and cover some of their costs while looking for a job, starting a new job, or participating in a training
program or other employment-related activity. ODSP Employment Supports helps people with disabilities prepare for and find competitive employment, including providing job placement services. Services are provided through a network of community-based service providers
Ontario Works Employment Assistance provides adult family members without disabilities the supports they need to take steps toward employment including job placement and retention services. Adult family members of ODSP recipients who do not have a disability (spouses and dependent adults) are required to participate in Ontario Works employment assistance activities as a condition of eligibility for ODSP Income Support. However, members are not referred to Ontario Works employment services if they meet the criteria for non-referral. ODSP Income Support Employment-Related Incentives and Benefits
Benefits available to Income Support recipients, who participate in employment activities, include: claiming the following work expenses to further reduce their chargeable earnings (the amount of ODSP Income Support deducted). The full cost of licensed child care or up to S600 each month for each child in unlicensed care; and, up to S300 per month for disability-related items they need to help them in their job such as specialized equipment, sign language
interpreting services or attendant care services.
Family members who report income may receive a S100 monthly Work-Related Benefit to help cover some of their work costs such as transportation or work clothing.
Benefits available to Income Support recipients who participate in employment Activities.
An Employment and Training Start Up Benefit of up to S500 in any 12-month period may be available to help pay for things like work uniforms, transportation, equipment and professional fees.
Coming back to ODSP. Former Income Support recipients who meet certain conditions may be eligible to return to ODSP Income Support without going through a medical reassessment
(called "rapid reinstatement") ' This helps former recipients who stop working, lose their job or have their earnings go down, to start receiving ODSP Income Support again quickly. Eligibility for rapid reinstatement varies depending on the recipient's circumstances.
More information on the Ontario Disability Support Program can be found on their web site visit
ODSP Act: www.mcss.gov.on.ca
FREE LEGAL AID FOR ODSP RECIPIENTS
Legal Aid Ontario funds 76 community legal clinics throughout the province. Thirteen of these clinics provide specialty legal services. Each is a non-profit legal centre, governed by an independent board of director’s representative of the community it serves. Clinics employ lawyers, legal workers, paralegals and administrative staff to provide information, legal advice and representation. To find the legal clinic that handles your community, go to https://www.legalaid.on.ca and enter your address or postal code: or call 1 800 668-8258 to speak to a representative