2. Learn about when earnings exemptions start

Can I work and still get financial assistance from Ontario Works?
This question has an answer and 5 steps

2. Learn about when earnings exemptions start

The Ontario Works (OW) rules about earnings exemptions apply only after you’ve been getting financial assistance for 3 months in a row.

During your first 3 months getting financial assistance from OW, they reduce the amount they give you by the entire net earnings you make at your job each month. This is called the “3-month rule”.

This 3-month rule applies if:

  • you go on OW while you’re working, or
  • you get a job during the first 3 months that you’re on OW.

So, during the first 3 months, if you have net earnings of $100, OW reduces the amount they give you by $100.

After the first 3 months, earnings exemptions apply and you can earn some money without OW reducing what they give you by the full amount that you earn.

If you’ve been on social assistance in the past

Earnings exemptions might apply right away if you’ve been on OW or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in the past.

But this happens only if all 3 of the following apply to you:

  • You were on OW or ODSP for at least 3 months in a row before going off.
  • You were making money from a job or training program when you went off OW or ODSP.
  • You apply to go back on OW within 6 months from the date you went off.

The 3 months can include time that you’re in an institution, like a shelter, if you get financial assistance from OW during that time.

You May Also Need

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Reviewed: June 14, 2018

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