Ontario Disability Support Program

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The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)[1] is a means-tested government-funded disability pension paid to qualifying residents in the province of Ontario, Canada who have a disability.[2] ODSP and Ontario Works[3] are the two main components of Ontario's social assistance system. Like most social programs in Canada, the program is funded by the government of the corresponding province. In Ontario, the Ministry of Community and Social Services is responsible for both programs.[4]

This is unlike Social Security Disability in the United States which is a federally funded program under the umbrella of an Old Age Pension, but provides similar benefits—regardless of the state of residence.

The ODSP is defined by provincial legislation, the ODSP Act, and its supporting regulations.[5] It is managed through public policy directives.[6]

Unlike Ontario Works, ODSP does not require recipients to undertake employment-related activities like job searching, or vocational training. This is determined through a subjective evaluation of four criteria[2] that are defined within the ODSP Act:[5]

  • The disability is continuous or recurrent;
  • It is expected to last for a year or more;
  • The disability significantly limits their ability to work, look after themselves, or get out in the community; and
  • It has been verified by an approved health professional.

For recipients wishing to work, an optional component provides employment support funding, such as referral to a specialized employment counsellor.[7]

ODSP is meant to replace the income lost due to the recipient's disability making them unable to work enough to gain self-sufficiency and thus has a higher rate of assistance and asset limits then Ontario Works does.


The program is paid monthly to a "benefit unit" which can consist of a single person between 18 and 65 (or a senior citizen who is ineligible for Old Age Security or Canada Pension Plan) and any others who may require the person's support. This can be any corresponding dependent adult(s) who do not qualify for assistance (though they are subject to workfare requirements)[citation needed], children under the individual's care, or a spouse[citation needed] and consists of two main components[citation needed]. One is a fixed basic needs allowance, and the other is a variable, but capped amount for housing[citation needed]. For those who do not have independent cooking facilities and/or cannot provide grocery receipts, a "Board and Lodging" amount is provided instead[citation needed]. All costs are verified through submitted receipts and information sharing among other government agencies[citation needed].

Outside of employment supports and financhial assistance, the ODSP provides additional health related benefits to assist a recipient with their medical needs.[8] These include:

  • Prescription Medication Coverage (for medications listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit formulary)[9] - a co-pay may still apply [10]
  • Dental Coverage
  • Vision Care (Including assistance with the purchase of Eye Glasses)
  • Medical Transportation assistance (Verified as medically necessary by a Doctor)
  • Nutritional Assistance for Pregnant and breast-feeding women.
  • Coverage for medical supplies related to a recipients disability
  • Transitional coverage for those who no longer meet Financial Eligibility or move-onto full-time work.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Ontario Disability Support Program". Ontario Government. 
  2. ^ a b "ODSP: Who is eligible". Ontario Government. 
  3. ^ "About Ontario Works". Ontario Government. 
  4. ^ "About Social Assistance". Ontario MCSS. 
  5. ^ a b "Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 ONTARIO REGULATION 222/98". Ontario Gazette. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Social Assistance Directives". 
  7. ^ "Employment Supports: What it is". Ontario MCSS. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "ODSP Health Benifits". Ontario MCSS. 
  9. ^ "Ontario Drug Benifit - Formulary Search". Ministry of Health, Government of Ontario. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB program)". Ministry of Health and Long Term Care—Government of Ontario. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 

External links[edit]