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What are the rules about getting spousal support and income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program?

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What are the rules about getting spousal support and income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program?
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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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What are the rules about getting spousal support and income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program?
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Reviewed: 
November 30, 2017
Answer

Spousal support payments affect the amount of income support you get from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

ODSP reduces the amount of income support you get by the amount of spousal support you get. For example, if you get $100 in spousal support each month, ODSP will reduce your monthly income support by $100.

But a new rule that applies starting January 1, 2017, says that this only happens if you get the support money. ODSP does not reduce the amount they give you if you’re supposed to get spousal support but it’s not paid to you.

Trying to get spousal support

ODSP can require you to make “reasonable efforts” to get spousal support from someone who is or was your spouse as defined by family law.

But the rule is different for child support. ODSP will not say that you must try to get child support when you apply for assistance or while you’re getting assistance.

Reporting spousal support payments

You have to tell ODSP about any spousal support payments you get. This lets ODSP know how much to take off your income support.

If you don’t tell them, ODSP will say that they gave you too much money and you have an overpayment. They can take steps to get the money back.

If ODSP says that you have to pay them back and you don’t agree, you may want to contact a community legal clinic.

If ODSP 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 ODSP

When you apply for ODSP, they include spousal support as part of your income. So, getting spousal support affects whether you qualify financially for ODSP.

This is because to qualify financially, 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.

Some people who apply for ODSP are already getting financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW). It’s harder to qualify financially for OW. So, if you’re getting OW, you should qualify financially for income support from ODSP.

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