I have a developmental or intellectual disability. Can I get help from the government?

1. Learn who can get developmental services and supports

To get services and supports from Developmental Services Ontario (DSO), you must:

  • have a developmental disability
  • be over 18 years old
  • live in Ontario

Over 18

To prove you’re over 18 years old, give DSO a document that shows your name and age, such as:

  • a birth certificate
  • a passport
  • an Ontario health card
  • a driver’s licence

Developmental disability

The law defines developmental disability as a disability that:

  • affects your ability to learn,
  • you were born with, or got before you turned 18, and
  • is permanent.

To prove you have a developmental disability, give the DSO a letter from a psychologist. The psychologist must be a member of the College of Psychologists in Ontario, or the College of another province. The letter should say that you have a developmental disability.

The psychologist’s letter might not say that you qualify for services and supports. If this happens, you can:

  • talk to the psychologist about it, or
  • get a second opinion from a different psychologist.

It can be expensive to get a letter from a psychologist. DSO can give you information about free assessments and referrals.

You may need an assessment from an agency supported by the Ministry if:

  • The DSO doesn’t think your letter from a psychologist gives enough information.
  • You don’t have a letter from a psychologist, but you have other papers, like school papers, to show you have a developmental disability.

You may have to wait a long time for this assessment. Even after you send the letter from a psychologist, or get an assessment, you may still have to wait. Get legal help if you have problems getting the letter from a psychologist or an assessment.

Live in Ontario

To prove that you live in Ontario, give DSO a document that shows your address in Ontario, such as:

  • an Ontario photo card
  • tenancy agreement, rental agreement, or lease
  • a pay stub
  • a bank account statement
  • a utility bill
  • an Ontario Disability Support Program direct deposit statement

It’s not clear what the DSO will do if you can’t prove that you live in Ontario. For example, if you’re homeless, you may not have an address. Do not let this stop you from applying.

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