Ontario Works is one of the main pillars of social assistance and welfare payments in the province of Ontario.
If you need financial support to pay for basic needs, this benefit can help and is disbursed through the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services.
Depending on your circumstances, social assistance is also available through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
This article covers Ontario Works payment dates in 2021, how to apply, and how much you can expect in OW benefits.
Ontario Works Payment Dates 2021
Ontario Works payments are issued monthly and are paid on the last business day of the previous month.
For 2021, the payment dates are:
|Benefit Month||Payment Date|
|January||December 31, 2020|
|February||January 29, 2021|
|March||February 26, 2021|
|April||March 31, 2021|
|May||April 30, 2021|
|June||May 31, 2021|
|July||June 30, 2021|
|August||July 30, 2021|
|September||August 31, 2021|
|October||September 30, 2021|
|November||October 29, 2021|
|December||November 30, 2021|
You can receive your payment through direct deposit (faster option), cheque, or on a reloadable payment card.
These payment dates are the same for ODSP and Ontario Trillium benefits.
Ontario Works Benefits
Ontario Works provides eligible Ontarians who are in financial difficulties with money to pay for food, housing, and clothing.
The program also assists them in finding a job.
Ontario Works Financial Assistance
If you meet the eligibility requirements (discussed later below), you receive temporary monthly income support to pay your bills. How much you get is dependent on your family size, income, and the costs of basic necessities.
In addition to this monthly financial assistance, Ontario Works recipients may also qualify for health benefits and coverage for:
- Prescription drugs
- Eye exams and vision care
- Diabetic supplies
- Medical travel and transportation services
- Assistive devices
- Extended health benefits
- Guide dogs
- Special diets
Ontario Works Employment Assistance
The program assists you with finding a job by giving you access to job-specific training, counselling, employment workshops, job placements, and more.
In order to receive financial assistance, you must agree to participate in “employment assistance activities” that will help you find a job.
After finding a job, you may be eligible to receive money to cover childcare, training, and employment-related costs.
After leaving Ontario Works, you may still qualify for extended health and prescription drug coverage, and employment related expenses.
Related: Ontario Child Benefits.
Who is Eligible for Ontario Works?
To qualify for Ontario Works, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Live in Ontario
- Be in financial need and lack the resources to pay for basic needs
- Be willing to look for a job unless medical or special reasons prevent you from doing so.
How To Apply For Ontario Works
You can apply for Ontario Works benefits online.
To complete the 20-30 minutes application, you will need to provide your social insurance numbers (SIN), banking information, and details from your Ontario health insurance plan, tax returns, pay stubs, birth certificates, and immigration papers (if applicable).
After submitting your application, a caseworker will contact you to review your information and request additional documentation, if needed.
You can also apply by calling 416-338-8888 or 1-888-465-4478 (toll-free) or 416-392-2823 (TTY) from 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
If your application is denied, you can request an internal review within 30 days of receiving the decision. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you can make an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal.
Ontario Works Benefit Amounts
The amount of Ontario Works benefit you receive depends on your family size, income, assets, and shelter costs.
The amount payable for basic needs is as follows:
|Number of Children or Dependent Adults||Single Person||Couple|
|1 child aged 17 or under||$360||$494|
|1 dependent adult aged 18 or older||$623||$652|
|2 children aged 17 or under||$360||$494|
|1 child 17 years or under, and 1 dependent adult 18 or older||$623||$652|
|2 dependent adults aged 18 or older||$781||$826|
For each additional child or dependent adult, the monthly basic needs amount is increased by $175.
A shelter benefit can cover your rent, mortgage payments, taxes, insurance premiums, utilities, and other eligible housing costs.
The maximum monthly shelter amounts are:
|Family Size||Maximum Monthly Shelter Allowance|
Depending on your living situation, you may qualify for a board and lodging allowance (instead of basic needs and shelter). The rates for board and lodging are:
A special boarder allowance of $71 is paid in addition to the amounts above.
You are required to report your income earnings every month while receiving financial assistance.
The first $200 in earnings per month is exempt. For every additional $1 earned, $0.50 is clawed back from your payment.
Ontario Works welfare payments are paid by direct deposit on the last business day of the month. Cheques sent by mail may arrive on different dates depending on Canada Post. Your cheque is dated on the same day that direct deposit payments occur.
The maximum benefit paid to cover basic needs and shelter in 2021 is $733 per month.
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Have a question about Ontario Works? Let us know in the comments.