The Ontario Disability Support Program
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is one of two social assistance programs provided in Ontario. This program is designed to help people with disabilities who are in financial need pay for living expenses, like food and housing (Income Support). It can also give support in finding a job (Employment Support) if the person is able to do some work and wants this help. The Ontario Disability Support Program is managed and delivered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
In order to qualify for Income Support you have to be 18 years of age or older. You must live in Ontario and demonstrate a financial need. You must have a substantial physical or mental disability that is expected to last a year or more. The disability must make it hard for you to care for yourself, take part in community life or work. Therefore, when determining your eligibility for Income Support, ODSP will look at your financial situation and disability status.
If you are an Ontario Works recipient, you can ask for an Ontario Disability Support Plan application from your Ontario Works caseworker. Otherwise, in order to apply for ODSP you need to call (519) 438-5111. If you are found to be financially eligible for ODSP, you will be given medical disability forms that need to be completed by a health practitioner.
If you have applied for ODSP benefits and have been turned down, we can assist you in appealing this decision and building your case.
If you have had your ODSP benefits denied, reduced, cancelled and/or suspended we can assist you with challenging this decision and if necessary appealing this decision.
We can also answer questions you have regarding eligibility for benefits, amount of assistance and benefits available for ODSP recipients.
If you have applied for ODSP and been denied or your benefits have been altered in any way you can always challenge that decision. The first step in challenging any decision is to request an Internal Review. The deadline for requesting an Internal Review is 30 days from the date ODSP has issued their decision. If you miss the 30 day deadline, you can request an extension of time to file the Internal Review. If your request for an Internal Review is denied, the next step is to file an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal. The Social Benefits Tribunal is an administrative tribunal that deals specifically with appeals regarding social assistance. The deadline for filing an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal is also 30 days from the date of the Internal Review decision.
We Can Help
Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) can assist you with your internal review and appeals on ODSP issues. It is important that you contact us as soon as possible with the written decision you need help with. If you qualify financially for our services, the work we do for you is free. We only ask that in case you win your appeal, you reimburse us for the medical reports we pay for on your behalf.
Applying for ODSP Benefits
On an ODSP application, it is important that the health practitioner you ask to complete the medical forms provides the correct information to support the application that is to be reviewed by the “Disability Adjudication Unit” (DAU).
Here you can find a checklist that you may wish to provide to the health practitioner completing your ODSP application form. This checklist outlines what should be done to support the application.
If the DAU denies your application, please contact us for help requesting the internal review and Social Benefits Tribunal appeal.
If you are found eligible for an ODSP benefit, the benefit is usually not for life. A medical review date is placed on your file. It is important that you continue to seek medical treatment for your conditions so that there is up-to-date information about the current status of your health.
If the ODSP office requires that you undergo a medical review, you will have to visit your health practitioner to complete another ODSP application form. Here you can find a tip sheet to give to your health practitioner to assist them in completing the medical review form.
If you are denied benefits after a medical review is completed, you can contact our office for assistance.
In order to apply for ODSP you need a health care practitioner to fill out certain forms to submit with your application. If you don’t have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, Health Care Connect can help you find one.
CLEO produces clear, accurate and practical legal information to help people understand and exercise their legal rights, including information about social assistance.
Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO that is designed to make legal resources more accessible. You can find websites, webinars, FAQs and more delivered in plain language and available in a variety of legal topics including social assistance.
ISAC is a specialty legal clinic that focuses on income security issues such as social assistance. ISAC has a number of resources and releases up-to-date information.
Last updated February 3, 2017