The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) has a fairly complex set of guidelines that determine who is eligible for the program.
However, there are two basic areas that determine whether a person with a disability qualifies for ODSP from a financial perspective: their assets and their income. Let’s look at the asset and income limits associated with the program, as well as some key exceptions to those limits.
We’ve put together a comprehensive page on ODSP and Asset Limits, but this summary will introduce you to many of the key points.
ODSP Asset Limits
All of your assets must be worth less than $40,000 in order to qualify (or less than $50,000 if you are married). Your assets include money in the bank, investments, and property that you own. If you are approved for ODSP, your assets must remain under $40,000 to maintain your eligibility.
ODSP Income Limits
You can earn some income from sources other than ODSP. For example, you may still qualify for the program if:
- You are earning monthly wages from a job. Your monthly wages can be a bit more than 2 times the amount ODSP would provide you before you no longer qualify.
- You’re on Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) and receive less from CPP-D than you would from ODSP.
- You receive gifts and other financial support from family, friends and some other sources. You may receive up to $10,000 from these sources in a 12-month period without losing your eligibility for ODSP.
There are also several exceptions to these rules. For example, many assets are considered exempt and, therefore, are not counted towards the $40,000 limit. These assets include:
- Your primary residence. This applies if you are not renting, but own your home.
- Your vehicle. If you own one vehicle, it is considered to be an exempt asset, regardless of its value.
- A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). You can deposit up to $200,000 in your RDSP account, plus $90,000 in government contributions, and still qualify for the ODSP.
- A Henson Trust. A Henson trust is a special type of trust. Assets of any amount held in a Henson Trust are not subject to ODSP asset restrictions.
- An inheritance trust, a life insurance policy, and/or segregated funds and annuities. ODSP will treat a total of $100,000 held in some combination of an inheritance trust, the cash value of a life insurance policy, and/or segregated funds and annuities, as an exempt asset.
Taking advantage of these exemptions can help maintain your eligibility for ODSP if you have assets in excess of the $40,000 limit. Of course, you’ll need to decide which exemptions to pursue in your specific circumstances.
For example, if you are no longer able to work due to a disability but have saved $150,000 over the course of your career, you can move $99,000 into segregated funds. If you qualify for an RDSP, you can move another $16,000 into that account. Now you have $115,000 in ODSP-exempt assets, leaving you with $35,000 of non-exempt assets — well below the $40,000 ODSP asset limit.
Of course, ODSP has many detailed rules and regulations, and this summary has only scratched the surface. Read more about ODSP and Asset Limits including additional examples and program details.
We have a lot of information on the Reegan Financial website about financial strategies for ODSP recipients and their families.