The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) provides social assistance for adults with disabilities in financial need. It provides income and health benefits for those who qualify.
This summary will outline the basics of qualifying for ODSP, we have a more comprehensive page about Who Qualifies for ODSP with examples, and some scenarios.
To qualify for ODSP, you must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of Ontario, satisfy the program’s definition of disability and meet the financial eligibility criteria.
You must provide evidence of a prolonged disability that restricts you from working, caring for yourself, or engaging in the community.
Determining whether you meet ODSP’s financial criteria requires a full examination of your assets and income. If you are married or in a common law relationship, your eligibility is based on your collective assets and income.
A single person must have assets that are valued at $40,000 or less. This includes money in the bank, cash, investments, and other types of assets. For married or common law couples, the asset limit is $50,000, combined. But not all types of assets are included in this calculation.
Certain types of assets are considered exempt and do not affect program eligibility. ODSP exempt assets include a primary residence, a vehicle, a registered disability savings plan, and assets held in a Henson Trust, as well as some other types of assets.
Income you receive from other sources typically reduces your ODSP benefits or possibly eliminate them, entirely. The impact other sources of income will have on your ODSP benefits depends on a range of factors. Primarily, it will depend on the source of the income, the amount and when you receive it.
From an ODSP perspective, income is not limited to employment wages. Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits is income. Money from a private pension plan is income. Money from a trust or received as a gift is income. And ODSP does not treat them all the same way.
CPP-D income benefits will reduce ODSP benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis. If you are entitled to $1,169 per month from ODSP and CPP-D provides you $800 per month, your ODSP will be reduced by $800 to $369 per month.
If you earn $800 per month (after taxes and deductions) through employment, your ODSP will be reduced by $300 per month. The first $200 you earn in a month is treated as exempt. Every additional dollar earned, reduces your ODSP benefits by 50 cents.
The amount you can receive in gifts and voluntary payments is $10,000 in a 12-month period. Voluntary payments include money from a trust, segregated fund accounts, and annuities. There are exceptions to this restriction as well. Gifts and voluntary payments are not subject to this restriction if they used for disability related expenses, contributions to a Registered Disability Savings Plan, covering first and last month’s rent, and the purchase of a primary residence.
Those on ODSP must continue to abide by the program’s asset and income guidelines. Positioning yourself to qualify for ODSP and then maintaining your eligibility over the long-term when you have other financial resources isn’t straight forward. Working with professionals who have a strong understanding of the program’s rules, restrictions and exemptions is key.
This summary gave you an overview of ODSP qualifications, you can read more about this topic on our page – Who Qualifies for ODSP which has some in depth examples and common scenarios.