How to Apply for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
Living with a debilitating condition can severely impact the sufferer’s quality of life, and the population of Ontarians who are affected by a disability continues to grow as it ages. In fact, over 15% of Ontario’s population has a disability, including 40% of people aged 65 or higher. That’s nearly one in seven people in Ontario, and that number is expected to rise to one in five over the next two decades.
That means that you or a loved one may qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). This government program provides income support and health-related benefits to people with disabilities in need of financial assistance
To qualify for ODSP, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be an Ontario resident
- Be in financial need
- Meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability
The Ontario government describes a person with a disability as a person with a physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and expected to last one year or more that substantially limits your ability to work, look after yourself, or take part in community life.
Already have OW?
Before you get started with the ODSP application process, you may already qualify financially if you are currently getting financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW). Therefore your financial need has already been established.
And if you are set up with OW already, you must contact your OW caseworker in order to apply for ODSP income support. Ask for the application for ODSP called ‘Disability Determination Package (DDP).’
Steps to Applying
Remember, a family member, friend, trustee, or someone from a community group who knows about your health condition(s) can help you with your application. A healthcare professional can also help you complete the forms.
Where You Can Apply
You can begin the ODSP application process either online, in-person, or by phone.
Step 1: Determine Financial Eligibility
Once you have begun the ODSP application process, a caseworker will contact you within five business days to schedule an in-person meeting. You will need to bring specific documents to the meeting so that the caseworker can verify your financial eligibility.
Those documents must verify:
- Your personal information
- Information about members of your household
- Your household’s housing costs and other shelter-related costs
- Your household’s income and assets
It is important to note that if meeting in-person is difficult for you, you can ask the ODSP caseworker to meet with you at your home or in a location that is better for you. Other adult family members that are considered in your household will also have to attend the appointment.
At your meeting with the caseworker, you will be asked to read and sign various forms, such as:
- Application for Assistance, Part 1
- Rights and Responsibilities – ODSP
- Consent to Disclose and Verify Information – Canada Revenue Agency
- Consent to Disclose and Verify Personal Information – Ministry of Community and Social Services
You do NOT need to bring these forms with you to the meeting.
Within 15 business days of your in-person meeting, you will receive a decision notice in the mail either finding you financially eligible for income support or ineligible.
If you are found eligible, you will receive a Disability Determination Package for the second step of the application process. However, if you are a member of a Prescribed Class you do not need to complete the second part of the application.
If you are found ineligible, you can appeal the process if you disagree. This means you will have 30 days to submit a request for internal review to potentially overturn the decision. If you decide to appeal the decision, you can go ahead and complete the Disability Determination Package. That way, if the decision is overturned, your income support can begin from the date that you submitted the completed application.
Step 2: Determine Disability
To complete part two of the ODSP application, you must fill out the Disability Determination Package. This package must be completed within 90 days of receiving it.
This is used to collect information about your disability, and is divided into two parts: the Health Status Report, which collects information about your medical condition, its impairments, restrictions, expected duration, and your treatments; and the Activities of Daily Living Index, which collects information about how your impairment impacts your ability to work, care for yourself, and partic
This part of the must be completed by a healthcare professional.
On top of completing both parts, you can also ask your healthcare professional to submit any supporting information like clinical notes, hospital reports, or psychological assessments that help describe your impairment and how it impacts you.
Here are the healthcare professionals who are approved to complete both parts:
- Registered nurses
- Psychological associates
- Registered nurses in the extended class
Otherwise, here are the healthcare professionals approved to complete the Activities of Daily Living Index only:
- Occupational therapists
- Social workers
- Speech-language pathologists
This is the main chunk of the Disability Determination Package. However, on top of those two parts, you might sign the Consent to the Release of Medical Information, and you can fill out the optional self report. There is also an instruction sheet and addressed envelope included so that you can submit the completed application. Remember to submit the original forms and not photocopies.
Step 3: The Review Process
Your completed Disability Determination Package is sent to specialized ODSP staff called adjudicators, who determine if you meet the ODSP program’s definition of a person with a disability.
While the review period can fluctuate, roughly 25% of completed packages are reviewed within 10 business days. However, if you have a complex application, or your application is missing medical information, it could take up to 90 business days.
Find Relief from Pain and Discomfort through ODSP
If you’re suffering from pain or discomfort and are looking to apply for ODSP, our staff of healthcare professionals can help you determine if you qualify for medical and chronic pain disability benefits. HealthMax Physiotherapy specializes in providing healthcare services for patients in a warm and welcoming environment, a number of which those receiving ODSP may be eligible for.
Book an appointment online today with our friendly and experienced team at a Healthmax Physiotherapy Clinic near you in the Greater Toronto Area. Once we’ve conducted our assessment, we’ll determine which treatment options and devices will be ideally suited to help your recovery.