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Can I get disability benefits?

Can I get disability benefits?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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Can I get disability benefits?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
July 3, 2018

Long delays for appeal hearings

If you're appealing a decision made by OW or ODSP in 2020, your appeal hearing may not happen for a long time. People report that they're getting hearing dates from the Social Benefits Tribunal that are between 9 and 16 months in the future. We'll update this information as things change.

Applying for social assistance?
Applying for social assistance?

Use this chart to decide whether to apply for OW or ODSP.

If your income is low and you live in Ontario, you may be able to get financial help from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). This kind of help is called income support.

Income support from ODSP is for people with serious health problems. There are rules about who can get income support and what you must do to keep getting it.

How much you get from ODSP depends on a number of things.

You have to qualify both:

  1. financially, and
  2. in most cases, as a person with a disability.

You must be 18 or older to get income support on your own from ODSP. But you can apply if you will turn 18 within the next 6 months.

Who is a “person with a disability”

Most people must meet the ODSP definition of a person with a disability.

This means that an approved health professional, such as a doctor, fills out the forms that are in the Disability Determination Package to confirm that:

  • you have a physical or mental health problem that’s expected to last a year or more, and
  • your health problem limits your ability to work, look after yourself, or do daily activities at home or in the community.

The law also says that your health problem must be substantial and must limit your abilities in a substantial way.

It can be a health problem that you have all the time or one that sometimes goes away but then comes back.

And it can be one health problem or a number of different problems that together limit your abilities.

Getting ODSP without proving you’re a “person with a disability”

Some people can get income support from ODSP without having to complete a Disability Determination Package. This is because they don't have to prove that they meet the definition of a “person with a disability”. See Step 3.

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