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Can Ontario Works say that I have to pay them back out of money I get in the future?

Question
Can Ontario Works say that I have to pay them back out of money I get in the future?

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Reviewed: 
March, 2017
Answer

Yes. Ontario Works (OW) can ask you to pay back financial assistance out of money that you get in the future.

And if you don’t agree to do this, they can refuse to give you assistance or cut off your assistance.

When OW will ask you to agree to pay back money

OW will ask you to agree to pay back money that would affect:

  • whether you’re eligible for financial assistance, or
  • the amount of assistance that you get. 

For example, OW will ask you to agree to pay back assistance if:

  • You’re waiting for benefits from another government program like the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, or workers’ compensation.
  • You’re waiting for money from an insurance company or a private pension plan.
  • A court has ordered someone to pay you and you’re waiting for the money.
  • You’re waiting for spousal support payments.

OW will also ask you to agree to pay back assistance if:

  • you’re getting assistance from OW while you wait to find out if you qualify for income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), and
  • you’re able to get assistance from OW only because they used ODSP’s asset rules, which are not as strict as OW’s rules.

When OW will not ask you to agree to pay back money

But there are some types of income and assets that OW does not count when deciding:

  • if you’re eligible
  • how much assistance to give you

And you don’t have to agree to pay this kind of money back.

For example, they don’t count child support payments owed to you for periods of time that begin on February 1, 2017, or after that date. So OW can't ask you to pay back assistance out of that money.

Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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