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I'm under 18 and don't live with my parents. Can I get social assistance?

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I'm under 18 and don't live with my parents. Can I get social assistance?
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Justice for Children and Youth
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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I'm under 18 and don't live with my parents. Can I get social assistance?
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Reviewed: 
March 1, 2018
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.

If you’re 16 or 17, you may be able to get assistance from Ontario Works (OW) on your own.

But if you’re under 16, you can’t get financial assistance from OW on your own unless you’re a single parent, who is taking care of your children.

Financial assistance from OW is meant to help you with your day-to-day needs. It helps pay for things like rent, food, clothing, and prescription drugs. Some people call this “welfare”.

Reasons for not living with your parents

To get OW assistance on your own, you have to show that you can’t live with your parents because of “special circumstances”.

For example, OW may decide that there are special circumstances if:

  • you’ve been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused at home
  • you and your parents have serious disagreements so they don’t want you living with them and won’t support you financially
  • living with your parents is harmful because there’s a lot of serious conflict or things are very unpredictable, for example, your parents make you move out and then take you back, over and over again
  • your parents have died or disappeared

OW may also decide that there are special circumstances if your parents can’t support you because, for example:

  • they’re in prison
  • they have problems with drugs or alcohol

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