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What are the rules about getting spousal support and financial assistance from Ontario Works?
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.
OW reduces the amount of your assistance by the amount of spousal support you get.
But a new rule that applies starting February 1, 2017, says that this only happens if you get the support money. OW does not reduce your assistance if you’re supposed to get spousal support but it’s not paid to you.
Trying to get spousal support
OW can require you to make “reasonable efforts” to get spousal support from someone who is or was your spouse as defined by family law.
Reporting spousal support payments
You have to tell OW about any spousal support payments that you get. This lets OW know how much to take off your assistance.
If you don’t tell them, OW will say that they gave you too much money and you have an overpayment. They can take steps to get the money back.
If OW says that you have to pay back assistance and you don’t agree, you may want to contact a community legal clinic.
If OW thinks you broke the rules on purpose, they can ask the police to charge you with fraud. If this happens, get legal help right away.
Applying for OW
This is because to qualify for OW, your income can’t be more than a certain amount. That amount depends on the number of people in your household and the cost of your housing.