Ontario residents living with a disability may be eligible for support with basic living expenses through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). ODSP is a government social assistance program that was introduced in 1998 to support Ontario residents living with disabilities.
The benefit is meant to supplement income from employment or other sources, so, in most cases, it won’t provide enough income to live off of, but it is still a meaningful supplement. The ODSP payment consists of two parts: a shelter allowance and a basic needs allowance (intended to cover costs related to food and clothing).
Below, we’ll take a look at the ODSP payment dates, eligibility requirements, and how to manage your payments.
Overview of ODSP Payment Dates
ODSP payments are made monthly each year, typically on the last weekday of each month. When the last weekday of the month falls on a holiday, the payment is typically made a few days early.
Below, we’ll take a look at the requirements for the ODSP payments, a detailed payment schedule, and provide tips for managing your payments.
ODSP Eligibility Requirements and Application Process
Before applying for the ODSP benefit, use this information to determine your eligibility.
Keep in mind that the application process for the ODSP benefit can take multiple months. To ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible, gather the required documents ahead of time and ensure that all of the information you provide is accurate.
What are the criteria for receiving ODSP payments?
To be eligible for ODSP payments in 2023, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- 18 years of age or older
- A resident of Ontario
- Have a substantial physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least one year and significantly limits their ability to work, attend school, or take care of themselves
You must be able to provide proof that your disability has been verified by a healthcare professional. When you apply for the ODSP, your caseworker will provide you with a Disability Determination Package that you must complete in tandem with your health care professional.
Additionally, applicants must demonstrate financial need, which means their income and assets must fall below specific thresholds. The exact financial eligibility criteria can vary depending on factors such as family size and housing costs. Meeting these requirements is essential for individuals to receive the crucial financial support provided by ODSP.
What documents are required to prove eligibility?
To apply for the ODSP benefit, you will need the following documents:
- Social insurance numbers (SIN) for yourself and any family members included on your application
- Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) cards
- Birth certificates for each person on your application
- Immigration papers (if applicable)
- Tax returns
- Banking information (to set up payment via direct deposit)
You will also be asked to provide personal information for yourself and your family members, including:
- Full legal names, birth dates, and status in Canada
- Home address
- Email addresses for any family members 18 or older
- Your total monthly income and available assets
- Your monthly housing costs
- Other monthly expenses such as childcare, medical costs, and disability-related expenses
Next steps after submitting your application
A caseworker in your local ODSP office will review your application, and contact you to set up an appointment to go over your personal information in person. The purpose of this meeting is to verify the information you submitted is still accurate.
At this point, the caseworker will provide you with the Disability Determination Package that was mentioned above. You will have 90 days to complete this paperwork with the help of your healthcare professional.
The caseworker may also request your consent to access your information from other government assistance programs such as Employment Insurance as well as credit bureaus. Pulling this information helps the caseworker to determine your financial need.
How much is the ODSP payment?
The amount of ODSP benefits you’ll receive will vary depending on your specific situation. The ODSP payment amount is determined based on your demonstrated financial need, whether you have any dependents, whether your spouse is a person living with a disability, your living expenses, and more.
A single person can receive up to $1,308 monthly for shelter and basic expenses.
You may receive additional funding if you have a dependent or a spouse or medical benefits.
The Government of Ontario states that the amount of the ODSP payment is related to inflation, so if inflation increases, the ODSP payment should increase proportionately. In September 2022 the payment increased by 5% and again by 6.5% in July 2023. However, there are no clear statements from the government regarding an increase in 2024.
What are the payment dates for 2023?
- 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
- December 20, 2023
How often do payments occur?
ODSP payments are made monthly and are typically delivered via direct deposit to the recipient’s bank account. This is the most efficient and reliable way to receive funds, as long as you have an active bank account.
There is also an option for ODSP recipients to receive payments through a reloadable payment card. This card is similar to a prepaid credit card or debit card. You can use the card to withdraw cash from ATMs or make purchases in stores.
You can receive ODSP payments by cheque, but this isn’t recommended. Cheques can only be used in certain situations, such as, if an individual lives far from a bank or ATM or has a disability that makes it challenging to use ATMs.
How to Manage Payments
What are the best ways to budget for ODSP payments?
If you are like many ODSP recipients, this benefit may make up the majority of your income. In this case, maintaining a thoughtful budget is essential to ensure you have enough cash to cover all of your essential expenses.
Ideally, your budget should account for your rent or mortgage expenses, utilities, food costs, outstanding debts, and emergency savings.
To stretch your ODSP payment as far as possible, look for a free or low-cost bank account so you aren’t forced to pay excessive fees. Some banks offer no-fee accounts with low-cost features, making it free (or very inexpensive) to do day-to-day banking.
Consider setting up auto payments for your bills to ensure they’re always paid on time and don’t incur late fees. You may find it easier to manage your money if you set up a separate account just for bill payments and transfer the necessary funds over there each month. That way, you’ll know exactly how much cash you have available to spend in your primary checking account.
Sticking to a consistent budget and tracking your spending each month will ensure that you stay on track with your budget and don’t run out of funds before your next payment date.
If you find yourself in a tight spot, struggling to make ends meet between ODSP payments, you could consider taking out a small short-term loan through a service like Bree. You can access up to $200 with no interest or fees to cover essentials in the short term.
Working while receiving ODSP
You are permitted to work even if you’re receiving ODSP payments each month, but the amount of benefit you’re eligible for may be reduced depending on how much you earn.
You can earn up to $1000 per month in addition to the benefit without it affecting your ODSP eligibility or benefit amount. Non-disabled spouses or children over 18 of ODSP recipients can earn up to $200 per month before you see a reduction in the amount of support you’re eligible for.
ODSP recipients can receive support finding employment and accessing training programs to help bolster their skills. You can earn micro-credentials for in-demand roles, and more!
If you opt to leave the ODSP program for a paid role, you may be eligible for an Employment Transition Benefit. This $500 benefit is meant to help facilitate the transition between income assistance and a paid role. This can help cover any additional expenses you may incur as you prepare for your new job. And it can offer relief in that anxious period before you receive your first paycheck.
The benefit is available once during every 12-month period, and only $500 per family will be awarded.
How can I make sure my payments are received on time?
The most reliable way to receive your ODSP benefit on time each month is to have it deposited directly into your bank account. This way there’s no need to worry about a check being lost in the mail or accidentally misplacing your reloadable payment card.
Having your payments deposited directly into your checking account ensures you have access to the funds as soon as possible.
Approximately 6.9% of Ontario residents rely on ODSP income support or Ontario Works financial assistance to cover their essential expenses. ODSP is meant to offer support to cover essential expenses like housing, food, and medical costs for Ontario residents living with a disability.
Individuals must demonstrate proof of disability and financial need in order to qualify for the benefit. ODSP payments are made monthly on the last workday of the month and are typically sent via direct deposit.
Anyone receiving the ODSP benefit should practice careful budgeting to ensure they can cover all of their essential expenses in between payment dates.