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The federal government provides a wide range of benefits and tax credits to help Canadians struggling financially or who lack the resources to maintain an adequate standard of living. These programs help with the cost of raising children, purchasing a home, attending a post-secondary institute, planning for retirement, living with a disability, and more.

Besides the vast array of benefits offered at the federal level, additional help is available provincially. For those living in Ontario and in need of financial assistance due to a disability, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is worth investigating.

Key Takeaways

ODSP MeaningODSP is a financial assistance program run by the Ontario government to help residents living with disabilities.
Eligibility RequirementsYou must be considered a person with a disability in financial need to be eligible for ODSP.
ODSP Payment AmountThe maximum ODSP payment you can qualify for a single person is $1,308 per month (for basic needs and shelter coverage).
ODSP Payment DateODSP payments are made at the end of each month via direct deposit or cheque.

What Is The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?

ODSP provides financial assistance and other benefits to Ontarians living with a disability. 

The program provides financial aid for your basic needs, such as food and clothing, and the cost of shelter. You may also receive an additional amount for health-related expenses you incur, as well as access to employment support services.

The program was created in 1997 and is administered by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Currently, ODSP serves over 500,000 Ontario residents.

ODSP Payment Dates 2024

ODSP payments are made every month. Below are the 2024 payment dates for ODSP.

Benefit monthODSP Payment Dates 2024
January 2024January 31, 2024
February 2024February 29, 2024
March 2024March 28, 2024
April 2024April 30, 2024
May 2024May 31, 2024
June 2024June 28, 2024
July 2024July 31, 2024
August 2024August 30, 2024
September 2024September 27, 2024
October 2024October 31, 2024
November 2024November 29, 2024
December 2024To be determined

You can arrange payments to be sent to you by direct deposit, cheque, or have them loaded into a reloadable payment card.

How Much Can You Get Through ODSP?

The monthly ODSP benefit amount is comprised of a basic needs component and a shelter component. The amount you can receive depends on your personal and financial situation. 

ODSP rates are also tied to inflation now. In July 2023, ODSP rates rose by 6.5%. When payments increase, you’ll receive a higher payment at the end of July of every year.

This amount you receive may also increase based on other factors, including:

  • Whether your spouse has a disability.
  • The number of children you have and their age.
  • Your geographic location and the type of home you live in.

ODSP Payment Amount: Basic Needs

Basic needs refer to everyday necessities, such as food and clothing. The amount you’re eligible for is based on the size of your family, the age of each family member, and whether your spouse has a disability as well. 

This amount is also affected by the number of dependents you have. Your payment only increases if your dependents are 18 or older.

Number of Dependents Under 18Number of Dependents 18+SingleSpouse Without a DisabilitySpouse With a Disability
00$752$1,085$1,501
10$752$1,085$1,501
01$1,166$1,296$1,712
20$752$1,085$1,501
11$1,166$1,296$1,712
02$1,378$1,532$1,948
Source: Ontario.ca

ODSP Payment Amount: Shelter

The shelter component of the ODSP covers expenses related to your primary residence, such as rent, mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, condo fees, and utilities. The benefit is calculated based on the number of people in your family. Here is how much you can expect to receive:

Family SizeMaximum Monthly Shelter Allowance
1$556
2$875
3$947
4$1,027
5$1,109
6 or more$1,149
Source: Ontario.ca

ODSP Payment Amount: Health Benefits

You and your family may be eligible to receive financial aid for a variety of health-related costs under the ODSP, such as:

  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Vision care coverage
  • Medical supplies coverage
  • Medical-related transportation costs 
  • Nutritional allowance for pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Extended health benefits for when you no longer qualify for income support and have trouble paying for healthcare costs
  • Transitional health benefit if you obtain employment and no longer qualify for ODSP payments

ODSP Payment Amount: Employment

The ODSP maintains partnerships with many service providers who specialize in helping beneficiaries who want to re-enter the workforce, advance their careers, or start a business. The types of employment support you can receive include:

  • On-the-job training
  • Job coaching
  • Help finding and keeping a job
  • Transportation assistance
  • Tools and equipment necessary for your job
  • Specialized computer training
  • Creating a business plan
  • Help with marketing your business
  • Mentorship
  • Financial management training

You won’t be able to utilize any employment support services that are typically delivered through other public and private organizations, such as private insurers, Canada Pension Plan, and Employment Insurance.

Need disability support in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick?

Who Is Eligible For ODSP?

To be eligible ODSP, you must: 

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be an Ontario resident.
  • Be in financial need, where you’re unable to cover your daily living expenses. 
  • Not have assets that exceed the allowable limits.
  • Be classified as a person with a disability as per the program’s definition, or be a member of a prescribed class.

What Disabilities Qualify For The Ontario Disability Support Program?

To qualify for ODSP, you must be considered a person with a disability under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. A person with a disability can include any of the following:

  • You have a significant mental or physical impairment that is expected to last at least a year
  • Your impairment is continuous or recurrent
  • Your impairment prevents you from performing at work or working altogether, caring for yourself on your own, or participating in community life
  • Your impairment has been verified by a health care professional

Some examples of medical conditions that qualify for ODSP include the following:

  • Cardiovascular conditions (coronary artery disease, hypertension, stroke, etc)
  • Respiratory conditions (asthma, chronic lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc) 
  • Nervous system disorders (Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, etc)
  • Musculoskeletal conditions (arthritis, spondylitis, etc)
  • Psychological disorders (bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, etc)

You have 90 days to complete a Disability Determination Package, which must be filled out by yourself and a health care practitioner. Your application will then be reviewed to determine if you meet the definition of a person with a disability, through a process known as the “disability adjudication process”. 

Once you qualify, you’ll start receiving income support through the program.

Financial Requirements For ODSP 

An important factor that determines your eligibility for the ODSP is your need for financial assistance. Being in financial need means that your living expenses are higher than your income and assets. Before you are approved for this program, your income and assets will be reviewed in detail.

Income – You must report all your income sources when applying for the ODSP including employment and self-employment income, employment Insurance (EI), loans, pensions and other tax benefits. 

Do note, that some income sources are exempt, which means they won’t impact your ability to qualify for ODSP or your payment amounts. This includes child support and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

Assets – The value of your assets will also be looked at. To be eligible for the ODSP, you cannot exceed $40,000 in assets as a single person, or $50,000 as a couple. 

Some assets are exempt (such as your primary residence or vehicle), which means they won’t impact your ability to qualify for ODSP or your payment amounts. 

Are you a parent in Ontario? Do you qualify for the Ontario Child Benefit?

Will Working While On ODSP Affect My Income Support?

If you’re able and willing to work, you can continue to receive income support through ODSP. 

If you have a disability, you can earn up to $1,000 per month through work with no impact on your ODSP income support or eligibility. Moreover, if you’re a non-disabled spouse or a dependent (18 years old or older) who is not a full-time high school or post-secondary student, you can get up to $200 per month through employment with no impact on your income support.

If you earn over $1,000 per month, 75% of the excess amount will be deducted from your ODSP cheque, with some exceptions.

How To Apply For ODSP

As mentioned, ODSP pays out a monthly benefit to eligible program participants. To start receiving these payments, you must first apply for the program. Before you begin the application process, ensure you and each member of your family gather the following:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Immigration papers
  • Tax returns
  • Banking information

Once you’re ready, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Fill Out The Application And Submit It

You’ll be asked to provide various details:

  • Full names and dates of births
  • Address
  • Email addresses
  • Monthly income and available assert
  • Monthly housing costs and other expenses
  • Bank account information.

Step 2 – The ODSP Will Review Your Application

You may have to wait up to 15 business days for a response from the ODSP office.

Step 3 – The ODSP Will Contact You

After reviewing your application, the ODSP will contact you and arrange an intake interview. During this phase, they may ask you to provide additional documentation.

Step 4 – Meet Your Caseworker

You’ll meet with a caseworker from the ODSP to evaluate your application. They may ask you to supply additional documents to help them assess whether you’re eligible for ODSP. You’ll also sign a consent form to allow the ODSP to gather any further details they may need to verify about you.

Once the meeting is complete, the caseworker will contact you within 15 days to inform you if you’re eligible for ODSP. 

Step 5 – Submit Your Disability Determination Package

If you’re deemed eligible for income support, your caseworker will provide you with a disability determination package. The purpose of this report is to provide details on the status of your health and how your medical condition affects your daily life.

The disability determination package must be completed by qualified medical professionals and sent to the Disability Adjudication Unit for assessment. 

Step 6 – The ODSP Will Review Your Disability Determination Package

Medical professionals who work for the ODSP organization will evaluate your disability determination package to determine if your medical condition qualifies you for the ODSP. The Disability Adjudication Unit will send you a letter informing you of their decision within 90 days.

Step 7 – The ODSP Will Contact You

If you’re approved for ODSP benefits based on the Disability Adjudication Unit’s decision, your caseworker will let you know when you’ll receive your first payment.

What’s The Difference Between Ontario Works And ODSP?

Ontario Works (OW) is a social assistance program that provides financial assistance to Ontario residents who are unable to work or can’t find work. ODSP, on the other hand, provides income support specifically to those with a disability. 

Under the Ontario Works program, recipients must participate in certain activities that can help improve their skills and find relevant employment. ODSP, on the other hand, doesn’t have these requirements. Recipients of ODSP don’t have to participate in employment-related activities, such as training or actively searching for work.

Final Thoughts

ODSP will help you immensely if you have a disability and limited means to support yourself and your family financially. You can use the payments to pay for an assortment of living expenses, such as food, clothing, housing, and medical care. This ensures you and your family are cared for.

Ontario Disability Support Program FAQs

What happens if I receive an ODSP overpayment?

An overpayment refers to additional funds that you’ve received that you’re not entitled to. If you receive an overpayment, you’ll have to pay it back. There could be a handful of reasons for an overpayment, including inaccuracies or omissions about information regarding your income and assets. To prevent an overpayment, make sure this information is up-to-date and accurate.

What is the age requirement for ODSP?

You must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for ODSP.

Can I receive ODSP if I’m on OAS?

OAS is considered as income when applying for ODSP. The amount you receive from OAS may unqualify you financially for ODSP income support. The reason for this is that your OAS payments may exceed the amount you receive from ODSP. However, if you don’t qualify for the OAS program, you can still receive ODSP payments, provided you don’t have substantial income from other sources.

Mark Gregorski avatar on Loans Canada
Mark Gregorski

Mark is a writer who specializes in writing content for companies in the financial services industry. He has written articles about personal finance, mortgages, and real estate and is passionate about educating people on how to make smart financial decisions. Mark graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with a degree in finance and has more than ten years' experience as an accountant. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing poker, going to the gym, composing music, and learning about digital marketing.

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