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Can I get OW if I own property or other things?

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Can I get OW if I own property or other things?
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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 OW if I own property or other things?
This question has an answer and 5 steps
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Reviewed: 
September 1, 2017
Answer

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.

Things that you own are called assets. Ontario Works (OW) has rules about what you can have in income and assets and still qualify financially for financial assistance.

Your assets can’t be worth more than a certain amount of money. That amount depends on the number of people in your household.

And when OW adds up how much your assets are worth, they include assets owned by everyone in your household.

Who’s in your household How much OW lets you have in assets
you $10,000
you and a spouse $15,000
you and a child or dependent adult $10,000 for you, plus $500 for each child or dependent adult
you and a spouse and a child or dependent adult $15,000 for you and your spouse, plus $500 for each child or dependent adult

Assets that OW does not count

There are some types of assets that OW does not count. These are called “exempt” assets. See Step 1 for examples.

You still have to give OW information about all of your income and assets, even if some of them are exempt.

If you’re applying for income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program

If you’re applying for income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), it can take months to find out if you qualify as a person with a disability.

So, if you need money now for food and housing, you might be applying for assistance from OW while you wait.

And if you’re applying for ODSP, OW will use the ODSP asset rules when they decide if you qualify financially for OW assistance.

ODSP rules allow people to have assets that are worth more than the OW rules allow.

But OW can use the ODSP asset rules to decide if you qualify only once in your lifetime.

Getting advice

The rules about assets are complicated.

And, OW can refuse to give you financial assistance, reduce it, or cut it off if:

  • you give away assets
  • you sell assets for less than what they’re worth

There is more information about the rules in steps 1, 2, and 3. You may need to get legal advice about your situation.

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