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Is OW giving people extra help because of COVID-19?

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Is OW giving people extra help because of COVID-19?
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Is OW giving people extra help because of COVID-19?
Reviewed: 
May 15, 2020
Answer

If you’re already getting financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW), you do not qualify for Ontario’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program. This is for people who are not on OW.

Income Benefits Chart
Income benefits

Learn about benefits that are available if you need money.

Emergency benefit

Instead, there are new resources that OW workers can use to give extra “discretionary benefits” to people getting assistance from OW and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Single people on OW may be able to get up to $100 more a month. People with families may be able to up to $200 more a month.

The government first said that people would only get this amount one time. But they’ve changed that and people can now get it for 3 more months, so that’s May, June, and July.

Most people won’t be able to get this extra money from OW if they’re getting the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Read more in Who can get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and how do I apply?

If you already got the extra money from OW in March or April and you still qualify, you’ll continue to get it. You don’t have to do anything more. You will not qualify if you’re getting the CERB.

If you did not get the extra money yet, you must ask OW for it.

How to apply

You can apply for the extra money by calling your local OW office.

You can also apply by email to MHESS.ASC@toronto.ca. In the subject line of the email, type “Request for COVID-19 Emergency Benefit”. And in the body of your email, give the 9-digit member identification number found on your monthly OW statement and a telephone number where you can be reached. Do not include your name or any other personal information.

You will receive an auto-reply that says your email was received. If you provided a valid member identification number and contact telephone number, a caseworker will call you within 10 business days to confirm your eligibility.

You may be asked to explain why you need the extra money. The reason must be related to COVID-19. For example, you might need:

  • personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, for hospital or clinic visits
  • food and groceries if you can’t get to a food bank, for example, because you’ve been ordered to stay at home, or you’re caring for a family member who is sick or has been ordered to stay at home
  • cleaning supplies if you’ve been ordered to stay at home, or you’re caring for a family member who is sick or has been ordered to stay at home

Contact your OW worker to find out more about the extra money. If you have any problems getting it, talk to your community legal clinic.

Monthly payments

You should continue to get your monthly payments in the way you’ve been getting them, for example, direct bank deposit, payment cards, or cheques in the mail.

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