3. Consider your options
Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
Ontario Works says I have an overpayment. What can I do?
3. Consider your options
The overpayment could be money you got from OW or from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Internal reviews and appeals to the Social Benefits Tribunal
If you don’t agree with what OW says about an overpayment, you can ask OW to do an internal review.
If you don’t agree with the internal review decision, you may be able to appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT). But you must ask for the internal review before you can appeal to the SBT.
What you can ask for
When you ask OW for an internal review or make an appeal to the SBT, you can ask them to decide that:
- there’s no overpayment because you had a right to the assistance that you got
- the amount of the overpayment is less than what OW says
- OW should take a smaller amount from your financial assistance each month while they collect the overpayment
- you should not have to pay back the full amount of the overpayment
- you should not have to pay back the money at all
- you should not have to pay back the money right now
Why you might not have to pay back an overpayment
Most of the time, people have to pay back money that they got because of an overpayment.
But sometimes it’s not fair for OW to make someone pay all or any of it back. And sometimes it would cause the person too much hardship.
Each person’s case is different. So what happens depends on your situation and the reasons for the overpayment.
Here are some examples of things that could affect a decision about whether you have to pay back any or all of an overpayment:
- Did OW or ODSP pay you too much by mistake and it wasn’t your fault?
- Did you know there was an overpayment and try to report it?
- Did you understand what information you had to report? Did you always give true and complete information about your situation?
- Did someone from OW or ODSP give you wrong information or not answer your questions about what information they needed from you?
- Do you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to understand the rules about what information you have to give when you’re on assistance?
- Did the overpayment happen while you were living with a spouse? Did you know about it?
- If you have to pay back the money, will you have so little left that it will be harmful to your health and well-being?
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Reviewed: May 10, 2019