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Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) - Know Your Benefits


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Recorded on Feb 14, 2013 - This webinar from the ODSP Action Coalition will provide an overview of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and cover applying for ODSP, ODSP rates, income, earnings, assets & changes, the different types of ODSP Benefits, appeals and tips and strategies for navigating the system.

Please note before viewing this webinar that after it was recorded, The Ministry of Community and Social Services made changes to ODSP and OW, effective September 1, 2013. The presentation materials below under related files reflect these changes.
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  • (Sinario) So a mother with one child (2-person houshold) on ODSP will no longer have to claim any money that is received from the non custodial parent or aka. child support. So, she will get her max benifit of (all aproximately)1700./month + say child support of 800/month + 700 ctb. + 50/month GST totaling $3350.00 a month. But my family of 2 (adults on ODSP (not by choice) see's 1200.00 and can't make ends meet. Don;t get me wrong, I am over the moon happy as a clam that a single parent and a child will see that in a month to pay for living costs and some other items like a car + i nsurance, food, clothes, school related expendatures. It really is a step in the right direction. But what are we to do. my parents can;t make ends meet, I can;t make ends meet, therefor can't help them even thought I want to. I can't pay for my car now that I have moved into RGI. because my check was cut by $350.wont be able to pay down my credit card now and can't seem to find room for food in that either. especially now that I have 4 utilities to pay for. Gas, hydro, water heater rental, as well as my $50/month water/sewage bill. what do we do. I want my head to just blow off my body because thats the only sing of any relief I might get as I worry and struggle and stress about it every single day. Things wont work themselves out. thats not realistic. Seriousley what do we do and where is the break that we need.
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  • Anybody that was late for applying for your taxes get your cheque automatically taken when your back pay comes in from Canada Reveue. I don't agreee with that!
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  • Looking for an apartment for my Brother in law who is on ODSP.. I have been refused twice now because they want someone with employment..isnt this some kind of discrimination?? i dont think there is a steadier income that ODSP! ..
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  • good info, im on odsp too
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  • Hi Sharron - Sorry to hear about your daughter. We cannot answer questions on Slideshare or any other social media site. If you want to send us a message at Your Legal Rights we will try to get back to you within 1 or 2 business days. You can contact us at
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Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) - Know Your Benefits

  1. 1. 1 ODSP: Know Your Benefits ODSP Action Coalition September 2013
  2. 2. 2 Who We Are  ODSP Action Coalition has been around for more than 10 years  Advocate for changes to ODSP  Have a shared leadership model:  Made up of people on ODSP, and those who work in this field (at legal clinics, agencies and patient advocacy groups)  This workshop is part of our efforts to build knowledge and confidence in our members for personal and political advocacy
  3. 3. 3 Overview  Applying for ODSP  Rates  Income, Earnings, Assets & Changes  Benefits  Mandatory  Discretionary  Employment  Appeals  Tips & Strategies  For more information
  4. 4. 4 Applying for ODSP  Everyone has the right to apply if they think they fit the definition of disability  You can apply for ODSP in 3 ways: 1. Through Ontario Works (OW) 2. Directly to ODSP – If you’re not on OW or don’t qualify for OW 3. Be “fast tracked” if you are: – Age 65+ and not receiving Old Age Security (OAS) – Receiving CPP-Disability or QPP-Disability – Resident in certain health facilities
  5. 5. 5 Applying for ODSP Two different types of eligibility requirements: 1. Financial  Financial eligibility is considered first, before the medical part of the application process • A single person cannot have an income over $1086/month or assets over $5000 • Different income and asset limits apply where the benefit unit is larger than a single person
  6. 6. 6 Applying for ODSP 2. Medical  If eligible financially, then given a Disability Determination Package (DDP) • Must meet the definition of a person with a disability as set out in the ODSP Act • Including, 1) that the impairment is continuous or recurrent and expected to last 1+ years; 2) that it results in substantial restriction in daily living; and, 3) has been verified by registered health practitioner in the Province Ontario
  7. 7. 7 Rates—effective September 1, 2013 ODSP Basic Needs Max Shelter Max OCB Total Single $607 $479 $0 $1086 Couple $893 $753 $0 $1646 Single Parent + 1 Child $750 $753 $101 $1604 Couple + 1 Child $893 $816 $101 $1810
  8. 8. 8 Income, Earnings, Assets & Changes  All income and earnings must be reported to ODSP by the 7th of the month  Income includes: Earnings from work Long term Disability Foreign pensions Canada Pension Credit card cash advances Old Age Security Child support WSIB payments Boarder/lodger income Employment Insurance Loans Child Tax Benefits Honorariums Assets or windfalls
  9. 9. 9 Income, Earnings, Assets & Changes Allowable Asset Levels  $5000 for Recipient  $2500 for Spouse  $500 for dependent (other than a spouse)  Sometimes more assets could be exempted if they will be used to purchase disability- related items or the health of a benefit unit member (Director’s permission needed)
  10. 10. 10 Income, Earnings, Assets & Changes Other exempt assets:  Principle residence  One motor vehicle  Pain & suffering awards: $100,000  Car Accident, criminal injuries compensation, Bill 165, Ontario Child Benefit equivalent payments for children in care, disaster relief  Awards: WSIB Non-Economic Loss, Family Law, First Nation, Hep C, Walkerton, Grandview, Helpline, Veteran Affairs  Inheritances: $100,000 (in trust)  Gifts: $6000 or less in 12 month period  Lottery winnings: $5000 or less in 12 month period  Registered Education Savings Plans & Registered Disability Savings Plans  Disability related education, items or services  Student loans, bursaries, grants – tuition and educational costs  Business or self employment loan or assets - $20,000 (tools & vehicle)
  11. 11. 11 Income, Earnings, Assets & Changes Changes to report  Changes in address  Changes in people living or moving away from home  Children turning 18  Adults turning 65  Changes in amount of rent you pay  Changes in assets or income
  12. 12. 12 Benefits: Two main types  Mandatory  Available across Ontario  If ODSP says ‘no’ to your request, you can appeal all the way to the Social Benefits Tribunal  Funding for mandatory benefits is based on needs  Discretionary  Available through municipalities  Different benefits are available in different places  You can ask for a review if you are denied, but there is no higher level appeal  Funding is limited/capped
  13. 13. 13 Benefits: Mandatory  Special Diet Allowance  Recipient must ask his/her worker for the Application for Special Diet Allowance  Doctor, nurse practitioner or dietician must complete the application  Amount depends on applicable medical condition(s)  Maximum is $250/month  If a person is pregnant or nursing she should also ask for the Pregnancy/ Breastfeeding Nutritional Allowance
  14. 14. 14 Benefits: Mandatory Drug Benefit  A monthly drug card is provided to all members of the “benefit unit”  Covers cost of prescription medications listed in Ministry of Health’s Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Formulary (co-pay could be required up to $2)  If medication not listed in ODB Formulary, ask doctor about Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s “Exceptional Access Plan”
  15. 15. 15 Benefits: Mandatory Dental Benefit  A dental card is provided to:  All recipients, their spouses and dependent children from 0 to 17 years old  If not covered (for example, dependent child 18 or over) can apply for OW discretionary dental coverage  An emergency dental card can be issued in exceptional circumstances  Talk to dentist about services that are available and what you may require.
  16. 16. 16 Benefits: Mandatory Vision Benefit  ODSP covers cost of an eye exam every 24 months  Recipients and members of benefit unit (except dependent adults) receive coverage for purchase (every 3 years) and repair of lenses and frames  Replacement lenses if any change in prescription for kids, only for adults if “significant” change  Replacement for loss or damage for kids but NOT for adults except if no fault loss/damage
  17. 17. 17 Benefits: Mandatory Hearing Benefit  Cost of hearing evaluation  ODSP covers 25% of cost of hearing aid or appliance; Assistive Devices program covers 75%  Replacement batteries and appropriate repairs  Hearing aids can be replaced every 3 years as long as its no longer working and cannot be repaired at a reasonable cost  Cost of Visual Smoke Alert System and installation for each room (must be hardwired)
  18. 18. 18 Benefits: Mandatory Mandatory Special Necessities (MSN) • Health professional must fill out the Mandatory Special Necessities Form to access these benefits  Diabetic Supplies  Covers needles, swabs, lancets, blood glucose monitors  Surgical Supplies and Dressings  Prescribed by physician as a result of surgical, radiological or medical procedure or disease.
  19. 19. 19 Benefits: Mandatory Mandatory Special Necessities  Medical Transportation  If costs are more than $15/month, ODSP may cover:  Transport to doctor’s appointments  AA or NA support groups (prescribed, local)  counselor or psychiatrist sessions  mental health therapy  Emergency costs (ambulance, family member driving) may be covered with receipts & details
  20. 20. 20 Benefits: Mandatory  Medical travel continued  If doctor indicates recipient must take taxi, ODSP may pay for the taxi (with receipts)  If overnight travel is necessary to get medical treatment, ODSP may pay for travel, accommodation and meals if specified by approved health professional  Northern Travel Amount - $100 for accommodation if live more than 200km away, plus $.41/km less 100km
  21. 21. 21 Benefits: Mandatory Guide Dog Benefit If you have a guide dog you may receive up to $75 a month to help with care and feeding costs Veterinary bills are not included in this amount. Look for an animal foundation or a sympathetic vet!
  22. 22. 22 Benefits: Mandatory  Extended Health Benefit  If you have too much income to remain on ODSP  AND your monthly health related cost are greater than your monthly entitlement, you can get coverage for:  Prescription drugs  Dental & vision (incl. eye exam every 24 months)  Diabetic & surgical supplies  Batteries and repairs to mobility devices  Medical transportation costs (more than $15/month)  Co-payments for Assistive Devices Program
  23. 23. 23 Benefits: Discretionary Health-related  Prosthetic appliances (e.g., back braces, surgical stockings, artificial limbs, etc)  Cost of completing other medical forms  Air conditioners for people with severe asthma  Funeral and burial costs (unless you receive CPP death benefits)
  24. 24. 24 Benefits: Discretionary Non Health-related expenses  Vocational training/retraining  Used after employment assistance expense funds used up and include transportation costs  Must be job specific and connected to a job available in local labour market  Moving expenses (may include storage)  Non health-related travel/transportation  To return home outside Ontario  To attend court to seek spousal support  To visit next of kin in hospital or for funeral
  25. 25. 25 Benefits: Discretionary Other special items and services if no other source available to pay:  New Born Allowance ($360 for stroller, crib, etc)  Blood test – for child support application  One time $50 energy conservation benefit  Caulking, weather stripping, insulating water pipes  Cost of preparing a will (where not covered by another service)  And “any other service” – it can’t hurt to ask!
  26. 26. 26 26 Assistive Devices Program  Ministry of Health provides assistance to people with longer term physical disabilities  Assistive devices include walkers, wheelchairs, visual, hearing or speech aids, etc.  Ministry of Health covers 75% of cost and ODSP pays remaining 25%  If assessment needed for any device, ODSP will pay for assessment  ODSP covers cost of batteries and repairs—this is a mandatory benefit
  27. 27. 27 27 Earnings  The amount of income from a job or self- employment that you can keep changed in September, 2013  The 1st $200.00 of net earnings is “exempt”—it will not be subtracted from ODSP cheque  Net earnings: “take home” pay after deductions like taxes, EI, CPP, union dues  50% of remaining net earnings is deducted  $100 is added to ODSP cheque whenever anyone has net earnings (Work Related Benefit)
  28. 28. 28 Self Employment  Net Earnings for self-employed people means the gross earnings of the business minus approved expenses  Expenses are deemed to be at least $100 per month; no proof is required for expenses less than $100.00  Casual work or odd jobs, earning less than $100.00 per month, are usually considered self- employment.
  29. 29. 29 Employment Benefits  When starting a new job  Up front child care costs (such as a deposit for daycare). Up to $600 for informal care or the actual child care cost at a formal (licensed) daycare  Employment and training start up benefits. This includes things like tools and equipment, work wear, and the cost of a pardon
  30. 30. 30 Employment Benefits  Transitional Health Benefit (THB)  Exit ODSP due to excess earnings. No coverage with employer. Don’t qualify for Extended Health Benefit.  Rapid Reinstatement  If you’ve exited ODSP and want to reapply, AND you’re financially eligible, this allows you to skip the full reapplication process IF:  Exited for employment and were previously on family benefits  Exited for any reason and didn’t have a medical review date  Had a medical review date and exited before date passed, but no review by Director has taken place yet.
  31. 31. 31 31 Employment Benefits  Employment transition benefit  Up to $500 once every 12 months  If going off ODSP for full time or part time employment or training  Salary is greater than ODSP entitlement  Employment Supports  Help provided through non-profit agencies to prepare for, find or maintain employment
  32. 32. 32 32 Appeals  The process for appealing is the same first step:  Submit an Internal Review request (in writing)  Within 30 days of a decision (if miss deadline, request an ‘extension of time’)  If denied or cut off ODSP  Mandatory benefits  Discretionary benefits  Suspensions, changes or reductions in benefits  ODSP office has 30 days to answer
  33. 33. 33 Appeals  The second step for appealing exists when:  The Internal Review answer still no, you can appeal that negative decision to Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT)  Within 30 days of receiving the Internal Review answer (  Denied ODSP or cancelled ODSP  Mandatory Benefits  Suspensions, changes or reductions in benefits  Discretionary Benefits = no further appeal beyond the Internal Review
  34. 34. 34 Appeals  Contact local community legal clinic for help with Internal Review & Appeal to Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) (  If you appeal to the SBT, they will notify you of a hearing date  If your ODSP benefit is cancelled and you have appealed the decision, you can ask for Interim Assistance until the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) has made a decision  If you lose the appeal, you will have to pay back that Interim Assistance.
  35. 35. 35 Tips & Strategies  Know about the benefits available  Ask in writing and keep a copy (of everything!)  Ask your worker if specific form needed (and get the form)  Pay attention to time limits (for ex, for appeals)  Keep letters, benefit statements, and work stubs  Make records about conversations, contacts, etc  Where possible and needed, get doctors or other professionals to support your requests in writing  Ask for help from your local community legal clinic
  36. 36. 36 For more information  This presentation is very general and may not have answered your questions.  To find out more information about the work of the ODSP Action Coalition, please see our website: or our facebook page:  To find your local community legal clinic for free legal advice on ODSP, as well as more information about applying for and receiving ODSP, see