Boost Your Income
ODSP Explained: How Much You Can Get, Payment Dates, and How to ApplyJuly 04, 2023
Are you an Ontario resident living with a disability and struggling to cover basic living expenses like food and housing? Find out how ODSP can help you, whether you qualify, and how much you could receive from the program.
Table of Contents Contents
What is ODSP?
Run by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is a social assistance program offering income and employment support to eligible Ontario residents with disabilities. ODSP income support covers living expenses like food, housing, and health benefits such as drug and dental coverage. The program is meant to be a last resort, which means you must try getting income from other sources (e.g. job, Canada Pension Disability benefit, Workplace Safety, and Insurance Board) before turning to ODSP for financial help.
Who is eligible for ODSP income support?
You may qualify for ODSP income support if you:
- live in Ontario
- are 18 years or older
- are in financial need
- have a disability as defined under the ODSP Act
If you’re under 18, you can begin the application process up to six months before your 18th birthday. After applying, you’ll need to go through a process to confirm you meet ODSP disability and financial need requirements.
Definition of a person with a disability
According to the ODSP Act, a person with a disability is defined as someone living with a substantial and continuous physical or mental impairment that’s expected to last a year or more. The impairment must restrict a person’s ability to work, care for themselves, and participate in community life.
The disability also needs to be verified by an approved healthcare professional. Your caseworker will have you and your healthcare provider complete a Disability Determination Package. The package will be reviewed by specialized ministry staff to see if you meet ODSP’s definition of a person with a disability.
Demonstrating financial need
To be in financial need means your basic living expenses cost more than your income and assets. To prove this, your caseworker will ask you for documents that show:
- your household’s housing and shelter-related costs
- any income or money coming into your household
- value of assets belonging to household members
In addition to these documents, you’ll also need to provide signed consent so your caseworker can contact third parties to verify your financial information.
Treatment of assets
When applying for ODSP, you’re required to declare any assets you and your family owns. Generally, a single person can have up to $40,000 in non-exempt assets. The limit for couples is $50,000.
Examples of non-exempt assets include:
- cash and money in bank accounts
- stocks and bonds
- Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP)
- property such as a house or land
- trust funds
- other assets you or your family own
Certain assets are exempt and won’t affect your eligibility or how much you can receive from ODSP income support.
Exempt assets include:
- the home you own and live in
- your primary vehicle
- pre-paid funerals
- Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP)
- Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP)
- trust funds from an inheritance or life insurance policy (up to allowable limits)
- the cash surrender value of life insurance policies (up to allowable limits)
- essential household and personal items like furniture and clothes
Treatment of income
All income sources must also be reported to your caseworker when you apply.
Examples of income include:
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits
- earnings from a job or training program
- profit from a farm or business, including self-employment
- spousal or sponsorship support
- Guaranteed Annual Income Supplement (GAINS)
- Old Age Security (OAS)
- Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
- Employment Insurance (EI)
- other money you or your family receives or may be entitled to receive
Certain sources of income are exempt and won’t affect your eligibility or how much you can receive from ODSP income support.
Exempt income includes:
- some federal tax benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit
- some provincial tax benefits such as the Ontario Child Benefit
- payments from a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
- Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans for education expenses
- child support
How much can I get from ODSP?
If you qualify for ODSP, as of 2023, you can get $1,308 per month as a single individual to help cover your living expenses. Amounts vary depending on your family size, living expenses, and specific situation.
Monthly payments are broken up into two parts: basic needs and shelter allowance.
The basic needs portion of your monthly ODSP payment is meant to take care of food, clothing, and other personal items like toiletries.
Check out this table to see how much you can get for basic needs depending on your situation.
The shelter allowance portion of your monthly ODSP payment covers:
- rent or mortgage payment
- utilities and heating costs
- property taxes
- home insurance
- condo fees
Here’s how much you can get from the shelter allowance depending on your situation:
Maximum monthly shelter allowance
What are the ODSP payment dates for 2023?
ODSP payments are issued on the last business day of each month. The easiest way to get your ODSP payments is by direct bank deposit. Other options include cheque and a reloadable payment card if you don’t have a bank account.
ODSP payment dates for 2023 are:
- January 31, 2023
- February 28, 2023
- March 31, 2023
- April 28, 2023
- May 31, 2023
- June 30, 2023
- July 31, 2023
- August 31, 2023
- September 29, 2023
- October 31, 2023
- November 30, 2023
Can I work and get ODSP income support?
Yes, it’s possible to work and collect ODSP at the same time, however it depends on your situation and how much you earn. Let your caseworker know if you’re working or want to work and they’ll tell you how it will affect your income support.
As of September 2013, you’re allowed to earn up to $200 per month without having your ODSP income support reduced. If you make more than $200 per month, half your earnings above $200 are exempt, which means it doesn’t impact your ODSP eligibility or the amount you get for income support. You can even deduct child care and disability-related work costs from your earnings before it counts against your income support. However, as of February 2023 this amount will be changing to $1000 per month before your ODSP income support is reduced.
There are exceptions to this rule. If you’re attending high school or an approved post-secondary institution, your earnings are totally exempt. The ministry also doesn’t look at the earnings of your kids if they’re under 18 years old.
How do I apply for ODSP income benefits?
You can apply for ODSP income benefits online or by calling or visiting your local ODSP office. Applying online takes 20 to 30 minutes and lets you determine if you’re eligible for ODSP and other social assistance programs. If you do apply online, keep in mind you’ll need to go to a local ODSP office to finish the application with a caseworker.
What other ODSP benefits are available?
ODSP health benefits
ODSP income support recipients and their families may qualify for health benefits such as:
- prescription drug coverage
- dental coverage
- vision care
- medical supplies
- coverage for medical transportation
- nutritional allowance for those pregnant or breast-feeding
- Extended Health Benefit for those who are no longer financially eligible for ODSP
- Transitional Health Benefit for those leaving ODSP for paid work
ODSP employment supports
The ministry knows people with disabilities can and want to work. That’s why they established ODSP employment supports to help you find and keep a job or start a business. The program can still assist you even if you’ve never worked or have been out of work for long periods. Community-based service providers across the province provide ODSP employment supports.
You’re automatically eligible for ODSP employment supports if you’re already collecting ODSP income support. Simply fill out the Application for Employment Supports and call or visit your local ODSP office to get started.
If you’re not getting ODSP income support, you’re still eligible for employment supports. To qualify, you must:
- be 16 years of age or older
- be legally allowed to work in Canada
- live in Ontario
- have a physical or mental disability that’s expected to last at least a year and makes it difficult for you to find or keep a job
If you meet all eligibility requirements, the next step of the application process is completing the Application for Employment Supports and Verification of Disability/Impairment, which has to be done by an approved healthcare professional.