Ontario has two main social assistance programs that provide income to eligible residents who need financial help – Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Ontario Works provides financial assistance to Ontarians who need money to pay for basic needs including food and housing.
ODSP provides financial assistance and health benefits to eligible Ontarians who are suffering from a disability that limits their ability to work.
This article covers what you need to know about ODSP benefits, payment dates, how to apply for ODSP, disabilities that qualify, benefit amounts and changes to the program.
Related: Ontario Trillium Program
What is ODSP?
The Ontario Disability Support Program offers income and employment support to people with disabilities. The program is administered by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
ODSP Income Support
Eligible recipients receive a monthly payment that covers their basic needs and the cost of shelter. They may also receive, health benefits and employment support.
ODSP Basic needs Support
This refers to basic necessities such as food and clothing. The amount you receive varies depending on your household, age of family members, and whether your spouse or partner is also disabled.
The maximum monthly amount provided for basic needs for a single recipient who has no dependent child is $672. If a spouse is included in the benefit calculation, it goes up to $969.
See table below for different scenarios:
Number of Dependants other than a Spouse
Dependants 18 Years or Older
Dependants 0-17 Years
Recipient See Note 1
Recipient and Spouse See Note 2
Recipient and Spouse See Note 3
Note 1. A recipient if there is no spouse included in the benefit unit.
Note 2. A recipient with a spouse included in the benefit unit if Note 3 does not apply.
Note 3. A recipient with a spouse included in the benefit unit if each of the recipient and the spouse is a person with a disability or a person referred to in subparagraph 1 i of subsection 4 (1) or paragraph 3, 5.1, 5.2, 6, 7 or 8 of subsection 4 (1).
ODSP Cost of shelter
This refers to rent, mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, utilities, and condo fees. The maximum amount you can get for shelter allowance is based on your family size up to a maximum.
The maximum monthly amount provided to cover the shelter cost of a single ODSP recipient is $497. This amount increases to $781 when the benefit unit consists of two people.
See the table below for shelter allowance amounts based on various family sizes.
Benefit Unit Size
Maximum Monthly Shelter Allowance
6 or more
In cases where utilities are not included in the rent or mortgage, their actual cost can be paid out separately. There is also additional support for those residing in remote communities.
If an ODSP resident is living in a room and board arrangement and not renting or dwelling in a principal residence, the combined board and lodging amount they are paid is different.
ODSP Health Benefits
Health benefits available through the ODSP include:
- Prescription drug coverage
- Dental benefits
- Vision care and hearing benefits
- Medical supplies benefits e.g. diabetic and incontinence supplies
- Nutritional allowance for pregnant and breastfeeding parents
- Extended health benefits
- Medical transportation benefits
- Transitional health benefits if you move on to a paid job and no longer qualify for ODSP
ODSP Employment Support
ODSP provides employment support to recipients who are able or willing to work by helping them with starting at a job, obtaining training, and helping with child care costs.
For example, if you start running a business, you can claim up to the full cost of child care as a deduction from your earnings.
Related: AISH Benefits Explained
ODSP Payment Dates 2020
ODSP payments are made available on the last business day of each month. For 2020, ODSP payment dates are:
- January 31, 2020
- February 28, 2020
- March 31, 2020
- April 30, 2020
- May 29, 2020
- June 30, 2020
- July 31, 2020
- August 31, 2020
- September 30, 2020
- October 30, 2020
- November 30, 2020
- December (usually earlier in the month, but not yet determined)
You can receive your payments via direct deposit, cheque, or on a reloadable payment card.
ODSP Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for the ODSP, you must meet the age, residency, financial and disability requirements.
ODSP Age and Residency Requirement
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be a resident of the province of Ontario.
ODSP Financial Requirements
You must need financial help to pay for basic living expenses. Your household income and assets are assessed by a care worker in consideration for eligibility.
Income that may impact how much ODSP you receive include CPP, employment income, Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS), Old Age Security, and EI.
Income from Canada Child Benefits, Ontario Child Benefit, child support, or payments from a Registered Disability Savings Plan are exempt when calculating your ODSP eligibility.
The value of your assets also goes into determining whether you are eligible for ODSP or not.
Exempt assets include your primary residence and vehicle, Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), prepaid funerals, RDSP, personal effects e.g. clothing, and the cash value of a life insurance policy (within specified limits).
For assets that impact your ODSP eligibility, you can have a limit of $40,000 as a single person or up to $50,000 for a couple and remain eligible.
ODSP recipients can work while receiving benefits. You earn up to $200 in net income per month without a reduction in benefits. Amounts exceeding $200 are clawed back at a 50% rate.
Employment income earned by ODSP recipients who are enrolled in full-time education (high-school or post secondary) is fully exempt.
Cash gifts, donations and inheritances up to $10,000 per 12 month period are also exempt.
ODSP Disability Requirement
You must have a mental or physical disability that prevents you from being able to sustain yourself. As per the ODSP Act, this means that:
- You have an impairment that is expected to last one year or more
- Your disability limits your ability to care for yourself or function in a workplace or community
- Your impairment has been verified by an approved health care professional
To meet this requirements, you must submit a Disability Determination Package (DDP).
You may be able to qualify for ODSP income support without completing DDP if you are already a recipient of the Canada Pension Plan Disability benefit or you are over 65 years of age and do not qualify for OAS pension.
How To Apply for ODSP
If you meet the age and residency requirements, you can proceed with starting the application process to determine whether you are financially eligible. You can complete this process online, by phone, or in-person at your local ODSP office.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services has offices in the East, North, Central, and West regions of the province, and Toronto. Find a location here.
A decision on this initial step is sent to you within 15 business days.
If you are deemed financially eligible for income support, your care worker will give you a Disability Determination Package. Your healthcare provider is required to complete the “Health Status Report” (HSR) and “Activities of Daily Living” (ADLI) sections of the DDP.
The following professionals can complete both the HSR and ADLI forms:
Opthamologists, Optometrists, Physicians, Psychological Associates, Psychologists, Registered Nurses in extended class and Registered Nurses.
These healthcare professionals can only complete the ADLI:
Audiologists, Chiropractors, Occupational therapists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers, and Speech Language Pathologists.
The two other forms in the package i.e. the “Consent to Release Medical Information” and Self Report” are completed by you.
The completed package is sent to the Disability Adjudication Unit. A decision is usually completed within 90 business days.
If you have questions about your application, call the Disability Adjudication Unit at 1-888-256-6758.
Applicants who are already on Ontario Works generally qualify financially for ODSP and can apply for ODSP through their Ontario Works Office.
If you are deemed to be ineligible, you can request an internal review within 30 days. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the review, you can ask for an appeal hearing.
How Much ODSP Do You Get in 2020?
The maximum amount of ODSP you receive will vary depending on the actual cost of shelter you incur, type of shelter, number of dependent children (i.e. benefit unit size), eligibility for the remoteness allowance, and whether your spouse or partner is also disabled and qualifies for ODSP.
Here are some examples:
Single parent + 1 child
Single parent + 2 children
Couple – 1 child
Couple – 2 children
A couple who both have a disability and qualify for ODSP get up to a maximum of $1,971 per month (i.e. the double disabled rate).
ODSP recipients who receive board and lodging from the same place are paid a room and board allowaance that is $825 for a single person and $1,230 for a couple.
If both spouses are disabled and qualify for ODSP, the payment amount is $1,644 under a room and board arrangement.
Again, your ODSP amount may vary based on many factors, and these are just some of the potential scenarios.
In addition to ODSP benefits, you may also qualify to receive other provincial and federal benefits such as the GST/HST credit, Canada Child Benefit, and the Ontario Trillium Benefit/Trillium Drug Program.
ODSP Changes and Increase
Several of the proposed changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program have been put on hold. The main update is related to the implementation of a one-time 1.5% increase in ODSP rates in September 2018.
This increase is however lower than the initial plan to increase ODSP by 3% annually for 3 years.
ODSP COVID-19 Emergency Benefits
ODSP recipients who do not receive the CERB may be eligible for an extra $100 monthly payment (single) or $200 (for a family) until July 2020.
To inquire about this extra payment, call 1-888-444-2412 or email [email protected].
ODSP recipients who receive CERB payments will have the first $200 exempt and a 50% clawback rate for each additional dollar.
ODSP recipients who receive the monthly Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) have the first $200 exempt and see a 50% clawback of benefits for amounts exceeding $200.
Ontario Works Payment Dates 2020
If you are interested in when Ontario Works payments are made, here they are. Ontario Works payment dates are made available on the last business day of the previous month:
OW Benefit Month
OW Payment Date
December 31, 2019
January 31, 2020
February 28, 2020
March 31, 2020
April 30, 2020
May 29, 2020
June 30, 2020
July 31, 2020
August 31, 2020
September 30, 2020
October 30, 2020
November 30, 2020
Have questions about the ODSP? Leave them in the comments.