If you have a low income or no income and have a serious health problem, you may qualify for help from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).


  • You may qualify for ODSP if you have a physical or mental disability that is expected to last for a year or more and makes it hard for you to look after yourself or be employed.
  • There are two programs that make up ODSP support:
    1. Income Support - financial help with basic living costs and shelter.
    2. Employment Supports - financial help for finding or maintaining work.
  • The size of your family, your shelter costs, other income and special needs will affect the amount of allowance you may be granted.
  • You may be able to get ODSP health benefits for you and your family, like drug and dental coverage.
  • If your ODSP is cut-off because your income is too high, you may still qualify for health benefits to cover medical costs, including drug and dental.
  • If you are receiving ODSP, you may be able to get extra money, called Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefits, to help you if:
    1. You need to move to a new home.
    2. You are facing eviction.
    3. You are leaving a shelter, hospital or other institution.
    4. Your heat, hydro, or water is being cut-off.

Denials, overpayments and dealing with ODSP

  • If you work while receiving ODSP, your assistance may be reduced.
  • Inheritances, including life insurance payouts, will impact your ODSP benefits - it is important to get legal advice to find out about ODSP's rules.
  • If you have or had a spouse, you are required to make reasonable efforts to get financial support from your current or previous spouse.
  • If you have a child or children, you are required to make reasonable efforts to get financial support from your child or children's other parent even if he or she was never your spouse.
  • If the ODSP office asks you for information, you have a right to know why they want it and be given reasonable time to get it.
  • You have a right to written notice of a decision to refuse, reduce or cut-off your ODSP benefits, and this written notice must advise you of how to appeal the decision.

Internal Reviews and Appeals

  • If ODSP benefits are refused, reduced, or cut-off, you may request an internal review. After requesting an internal review, you may appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal.
  • Most community legal clinics funded by Legal Aid Ontario will provide you with free legal advice about ODSP.
  • You should contact your local community legal clinic for advice as soon as you receive a decision letter.

Learn more

  1. Decide if your legal problem relates to the Ontario Disability Support Program.
  2. Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
  3. Follow the Steps for instructions on how to apply for ODSP benefits, how to appeal a decision to deny your application for benefits or to reduce or cancel your benefits and how to prepare for a Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) hearing.
  4. Review the Resources to find new and in-depth legal information about the ODSP.
  5. See the Links for news and other helpful websites.

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DisclaimerLast updated 07/30/2009