Ontario Disability Support Program
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP, formerly Family Benefits Allowance) is a provincial program, administered through the Ministry of Community and Social Services. ODSP is an “asset-tested” program for those who have both a proven disability and financial need. Applicants must demonstrate, like Ontario Works, that they have financial need, and no other available financial resources.
In order to be eligible for ODSP, you must verify that you have very limited liquid assets (savings, stocks, bonds, RRSPs, etc) or other sources of income (employment income, Employment Insurance, CPP-D, Long-term Disability, rental income, etc), and/or the income from all sources is less than your needs according to a budget limit established by Ontario Disability Support Program. When you apply for ODSP you will need to verify information related to your previous income, housing/rental charges, family size, all your liquid and acquired assets, plus any other large assets. You may need to provide information for several months, even the last couple of years to determine your eligibility. You will also need to provide medical information to demonstrate your disability.
Definition of Disability
Part of the application for ODSP will be the Disability Determination Package – given by the worker. This package contains a Health Status Report to be completed by your physician, an Activities of Daily Living Report that can be completed by your physician or other certified health professional, a Self Report and consent form. To be considered disabled, applicants must have a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and is expected to last one year or more, and there are substantial restrictions in your activities of personal care or functioning in the community or functioning in the workplace.
Applicants can apply to ODSP either directly through a local office, or apply through Ontario Works if they have immediate financial need. The application has two component – a demonstrated financial need, and a demonstrated substantial disability. You must prove your financial need for your application to continue. The medical adjudication for your disability will take about six months. Once the disability is certified, an updated financial assessment will be conducted (to verify your present financial situation) and then you will be granted ODSP.
The monthly entitlement is determine on two calculations – a basic allowance to cover primary needs (food, clothing, other needs) and a shelter allowance (rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes) to a maximum amount. The entitlement increases with the size of the family unit.
- Ontario Drug Benefits Card that covers medications listed in the Ontario Drug Benefits formulary
- Basic Dental Care, vision care and hearing aids
- Employment Supports through the ODSP Employment Supports Program (100% voluntary participation)
- Other benefits can include medical transportation coverage, back to school allowance for dependent children, Community Start-Up Benefit, special diet costs, Employment Start-Up benefit, special incentive calculations for earned income, continued benefits while receiving funds to attend post-Secondary school
- Have as much information related to your income, assets and housing charges as possible, for as long back as possible
- You can work when you are receiving ODSP, you can attend school, volunteer and participate in the Employment Supports Program
- There are many changes coming to the ODSP program regarding employment supports, training programs, earnings, assets and case management – speak to your worker or look on the website for more changes
- Local ODSP offices can be found in the Blue pages of your phone book, and your Provincial MPP may be a source of information
A list of local offices and contact information is available on the Ontario government website: www.cfcs.gov.on.ca