Not sure on what dates you will receive your ODSP payment benefits?
The Ontario government provides financial support to Ontarians living with disabilities through its Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Whether you are an existing or prospective recipient of ODSP benefits, you need to know the details about the program, including when exactly are the ODSP payment dates.
ODSP Payment Dates for 2023
The ODSP payment dates for 2023 are:
|Benefit Month||Payment Date|
|January||January 31, 2023|
|February||February 28, 2023|
|March||March 31, 2023|
|April||April 28, 2023|
|May||May 31, 2023|
|June||June 30, 2023|
|July||July 31, 2023|
|August||August 31, 2023|
|September||September 29, 2023|
|October||October 31, 2023|
|November||November 30, 2023|
|December||December 22, 2023|
(might be a holiday delay)
The provincial government aims to release ODSP payments on the last day of each month. This allows recipients to take care of expenses due at the end of each month or the beginning of a new one. December payments may arrive earlier.
Releasing the payments at the end of the month is a better alternative than at the beginning; it helps recipients keep part of the allowance saved up for end-of-the-month expenses like rent.
The ODSP isn’t the only support program in town for Ontario residents. See if you qualify for the Ontario Trillium Benefit here as well.
What Is ODSP?
ODSP, or the Ontario Disability Support Program, is a financial support program from the provincial government of Ontario. It was first passed in 1997 to meet the specific financial needs of Ontarians living with disabilities.
Apart from Ontario Works, it’s the only other regular component of Ontario social assistance programs.
The core requirement for eligibility for ODSP is that the person has a severe physical and/or mental disability or impairment that’s expected to last a year or more.
The disability can be either permanent or recurring and must be the most substantial impediment to a person’s ability to provide for themselves and their family.
Unlike some other disability benefits, ODSP is considered a last resort program, i.e., a recipient has to try all their other options, including disability benefits from work or federal disability benefits, before seeking ODSP.
New: ODSP Payment Increase In 2023
Ontario Disability Support Program payments are subject to change on an annual basis, depending on current inflation levels. This ensures that ODSP recipients still have the same spending power despite ever-changing economic conditions.
In July 2023, Ontario opted to increase ODSP payments by 6.5% to account for the high levels of inflation in Canada.
The 6.5% increase applies to the following:
- Basic needs and shelter amounts (single and family recipients)
- Board and lodge amounts
- Couples with disabilities
- Long-term care service amount
- Specialized care amount
In September 2022, ODSP payments were increased by 5%. The two recent ODSP payment increases mean that total ODSP payments have increased by 11.5% in under one year, which is good news for Ontario residents.
Additionally, Ontario’s provincial government is now allowing ODSP recipients to earn more money before their salary affects their benefit payments.
In the past, if someone earned over $200 per month, their ODSP would get cut by 50 cents for each extra dollar earned.
Now, they can earn up to $1,000 before that happens. And then, after $1,000, they’ll only lose 25 cents for every additional dollar.
What Are the ODSP Eligibility Criteria?
To be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program, an individual:
- Needs to be an Ontarian resident who is at least 18 years old. Underaged, disabled individuals can start the ODSP process six months before they turn 18 but not sooner;
- Must have a severe physical or mental disability that lasts longer than a year, is permanent, or restricts (not prevent) their ability to work, take care of themselves, or enjoy community life; and
- Needs financial assistance.
The eligibility itself can be divided into two elements: financial and medical eligibility.
Whether or not you need financial assistance depends on two factors: the cost of living and household income plus assets. The cost of living primarily covers housing and food for shelter-related costs.
The income includes any money coming into a household and any assets that the applicant or other members of the household possess.
The Ontario government doesn’t share any specific guidelines and thresholds for which an individual might not become eligible for ODSP. A lot is left to your ODSP caseworker.
The caseworker will look into your household income and expenses, and they will research your income and financial needs by contacting third parties (for which you have to give them consent).
There are specific income and asset ceilings you need to know about:
- Single recipients can possess $40,000 in total assets and still qualify for ODSP.
- Couples cannot have more than $50,000 in combined assets.
- $500 for each dependent other than the spouse.
Ontario Disability Support Program recipients can possess amounts under these asset ceilings and even earn interest on these amounts. They may continue receiving these benefits if the total accumulated amount stays under the ceiling. This is determined on a monthly basis.
Exempt assets, i.e., assets that are not counted towards the ceiling, include your principal residence, one vehicle, funds in Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), tools of your trade, trust funds under $100,000, the cash surrender value of your life insurance policy under $100,000, and a second residence if found imperative for your well-being. Gifts of up to $10,000 for 12 months are also exempt.
If the limits and ceilings seem stringent, it’s important to remember that the ODSP is a last-resort program. If you have a substantial financial support “pillar” to lean on, you might not be qualified for ODSP.
Caseworkers are a crucial part of the ODSP eligibility process. They also determine whether you might qualify for any additional expense you might incur. Consequently, ODSP recipients try to stick to their original caseworkers for as long as they can.
This can make the caseworkers overwhelmed, especially in times like the pandemic when almost every ODSP recipient tries to contact them and asks for additional funds to meet pandemic-related expenses.
Financial Eligibility Reassessment
In addition to your initial ODSP application, you’ll also need to report your monthly earnings and assets to ensure continued eligibility for the program.
Each month, ODSP recipients will receive an EMployment/Training Income Report (ETIR) that they must complete. This is typically sent with the ODSP cheque or statement.
Note – the ETIR must be received by the ODSP office by the 7th day of the following month after it’s received.
If the recipient is unable to complete the form themselves (for example, if they’re blind or unable to write), they may call the ODSP office and report their earnings over the phone.
They may also ask their employer to verify earnings or may ask their bank to send evidence of direct deposits and paycheques received in their account.
The following earnings must be included in the report:
- Salary pay
- Vacation pay
- Sales commissions
- Tips received
- Money from side hustles
- Training allowance
The good news is that you can deduct child care and certain disability-related expenses from your total earnings, which can help ensure a higher benefit payment.
For the medical assessment, you will be given a Medical Review Package (MRP) that includes forms that your physician(s) need to fill so that the provincial government can determine whether you qualify for ODSP or not.
They include medical forms A and B (to be filled by a physician, a registered nurse, etc.), consent forms, a summary of disability decisions, a self-report form, and instructions for medical professionals who have to complete forms A and B.
It’s also called the Disability Determination Package (DDP), and it’s used to assess the severity of your medical condition and your medical needs. It also covers an assessment of how your disability prevents you from working or becoming an active/participating member of society.
There is an exemption in the medical eligibility criteria as well, i.e., the prescribed class. It’s a small fraction of ODSP prospective recipients who don’t need to go through the medical assessment for ODSP and only have to qualify for the benefit financially.
These include people who are part of specific case classes, at least 65-year-old Old Age Security recipients, Canada Pension Plan recipients, and others.
Related Reading: Learn about how to avoid the OAS clawback here.
How Is ODSP Payment Distributed?
The ODSP payment is disbursed in one of three ways:
- Direct bank deposit, which is the preferred method, as it ensures timely payments;
- A reloadable payment card, which can be used as a typical debit card for on-site and online payments; and
- Bank cheque, which is discouraged by the ODSP.
There are only a few valid reasons why you’d want to receive ODSP payment by cheque. It’s either you don’t have access to a debit card or an online account, or you are not equipped to use one.
You might also live too far from an ATM or bank and prefer getting a cheque and only visiting the far-away bank or credit union once a month to cash it in.
The cheques are usually released a few days before the actual date of deposit, so they may arrive on the right dates, but the reality might be different for you based on your proximity to the post office and the delivery schedules in your area.
In some instances, you may need to pick up your ODSP cheque yourself, which can be a physically taxing and financially expensive trip for people with mobility disabilities.
Retirement tips: Read this retirement planning guide in Canada to help you prepare for a comfortable retirement.
ODSP Benefit Details
The ODSP financial benefits are broken down into three separate elements:
- ODSP Basic Needs Benefit
- ODSP Shelter Benefit
- ODSP Board and Lodging Benefit
- ODSP Transition Child Benefit
- ODSP Income Support: Health Benefits
- ODSP Special Diet Allowance
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these elements.
ODSP Basic Needs Benefit
As the name suggests, the Ontario Disability Support Program basic needs benefit offers financial assistance for meeting a recipient’s necessary expenses other than shelter. The amount is calculated monthly and might vary based on your individual circumstances.
A few factors used to determine the amount you will receive under the ODSP basic needs benefit are:
- Family size
- Age of dependents
- Individual benefit unit circumstances (benefit unit is the recipient plus each dependent)
- Location (recipients from remote locations get an additional allowance)
- Double disabled rate, which kicks in if the spouse is also eligible for ODSP or in a few other circumstances
The maximum amount ODSP recipients can get for their basic needs is $706 if they have no dependents.
Here is the full table for how much ODSP you can receive for your basic needs:
|Number of Dependants other than a Spouse||Dependants 18 Years or Older||Dependants 0-17 Years||Amount in dollars||Recipient and Spouse|
Amount in dollars
|Recipient and Spouse|
Amount in dollars
The table used to calculate the basic needs benefit amount doesn’t consider families with more than two children or dependents. However, for each additional dependent over 18, the ODSP recipient will get $237.
It’s important to note that these benefits are for people living on their own property or in a rental and not in a shelter where the basic needs expenses like food and utilities might be fused in with shelter costs.
Also, recipients might be eligible for additional amounts if they need a special diet or extra nutrition when breastfeeding.
ODSP Shelter Benefit
The shelter cost is expected to cover rent, interest paid on the mortgage, property tax, utilities, and insurance. The benefit amount is based solely on the number of units, i.e., members of the household. For one person, the maximum ODSP shelter amount is $497, and it goes up to $1,026 for six people or more.
If the recipient qualifies for a second residence, they may get $455 or the cost of maintaining a second residence, whichever is lesser. You are eligible for shelter benefits even if you live in a co-op or condominium, where you need to pay your end of collective expenses.
Here is the full shelter benefit allowed:
|Members of the household||Maximum Monthly|
|6 or more||$1,149|
An Unconventional Example:
This example case is a modified version of a similar case discussed on the social platform Reddit.
An ODSP recipient gets about $5,000 as a gift from one of their relatives and decides to pre-pay the rent for the following year.
They inform their caseworker about it. There is a chance that the caseworker might withhold the shelter amount they might be entitled to since the rent is already paid, even though the gift amount is well within the allowable window.
A relatively safer course of action is to keep the amount for a rainy day or use it for other qualified expenses like buying an accessible vehicle, clothes, necessary furniture, or other exempt assets.
The first option is ideal if it doesn’t push the recipient’s total assets through the exemption ceiling.
ODSP Board & Lodging Allowance
The ODSP shelter benefit is designed to help ODSP recipients pay for expenses like rent, mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, and utilities. However, not all ODSP recipients own a home or rent a traditional apartment or condo.
The ODSP board and lodging allowance is designed to provide assistance for those who receive their food and shelter from the same location. Examples of this could include a nursing home or a charity organization that provides low-cost living arrangements and daily meals.
If you receive the ODSP shelter allowance, you’re likely eligible to receive the ODSP basic needs benefit. The shelter allowance helps cover living expenses, and the basic needs allowance helps you cover necessities like food.
However, the ODSP board and lodging allowance take the place of both the shelter allowance and basic needs benefit.
The amount is usually a bit lower, as your daily living and eating costs are likely to be lower than if you were renting an apartment and buying your own groceries.
The maximum you can receive from the ODSP board and lodging allowance is as follows:
- $924 (single recipient)
- $1,376 (spouse or common-law partner living in the unit)
- $1,840 (spouse or common-law partner each have a disability)
If you’ve been approved to receive ODSP benefits and you’re also a parent, then you may also be eligible to receive the ODSP transition child benefit (TCB) as well. It’s considered an addition to the ODSP income support benefit.
This benefit provides additional aid to disabled individuals who either have sole custody or shared custody of a child.
To be eligible for the ODSP TCB, you must meet the following stipulations:
- Your child or children are under 18.
- You aren’t receiving Ontario Child Benefits (OCB) or the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS).
- Your OCB benefit payment is less than the maximum OCB amount you’re eligible for.
You don’t have to apply for the ODSP transition child benefit separately. If you have a child and meet the eligibility criteria, this benefit should be automatically applied and issued as part of your ODSP payment.
ODSP Health Benefit
ODSP recipients and dependents get certain health benefits along with the program. They include:
Prescription Drug Coverage:
If your physician prescribes a drug that’s listed in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary, you can get it for free or for a maximum co-payment of up to $2 per prescription if you are 25 or older.
There are thresholds for OTC drugs and the number of diabetic testing strips you can receive in a year (3,000).
Basic dental services and additional services will be given if deemed necessary for your well-being.
It offers one eye exam every two years and a pair of glasses for you or your dependents every three years, along with the cost of repairs.
Medical Supplies and Transportation:
If a physician or nurse signs the medical necessity form for you or your dependents, you might get access to things like diabetic and surgical supplies. If you spend about $15 or more on medical transportation (routine check-ups, therapy, etc.), you might be eligible for transportation cost coverage.
Extended and Transitional Health Benefits:
If you are no longer eligible for ODSP, you and your dependents might still qualify for extended benefits. Similarly, if you are transitioning to work but don’t have adequate coverage, you might qualify for transitional health benefits.
ODSP Special Diet Allowance
Those with disabilities are often recommended to consume a specific diet to help their condition. With the rising cost of groceries, it can often be expensive to pay for these extra dietary requirements, which is where the ODSP Special Diet Allowance comes in.
Here’s how it works:
- Each beneficiary may receive the allowance to help with their medical condition
- A healthcare professional must sign off, stating that the beneficiary requires the special diet
- The maximum allowance is $250 per month
$250 per month may not sound like a lot, but it could certainly help pay for some of the more costly items that come with specialty diets, such as low-carb foods, organic produce, or specialized supplements.
ODSP Employment Benefits
While not exactly a direct financial benefit, the ODSP also offers assistance to recipients and helps them integrate into the workforce. The assistance comes in the shape of on-the-job training, coaching, mentorship, tools or gear necessary to make a living, transportation, etc.
This covers the whole spectrum, from guidance to tangibles that might help a disabled individual get and hold on to a job.
How To Apply For ODSP Employment Support
The ODSP employment support program is separate from the ODSP income support benefit.
The income support benefit is designed to provide aid to those who are unemployed, while the ODSP employment support program is designed to help those who are actively searching for employment or trying to start a business.
Even if you’re already an ODSP recipient, you’ll still need to apply for ODSP employment support separately. This helps to ensure that you’re getting as much help as possible during your search for employment.
To apply for the ODSP employment support program, visit the ODSP website and fill out the application for employment support.
If you’re a first-time ODSP applicant, then you’ll also need to fill out the verification of disability/impairment form as well. However, if you’re already receiving ODSP income benefits, then your disability will have already been verified, so you won’t need to complete this step.
If you’ve successfully found employment and are leaving the ODSP benefit program, then you may be eligible for the employment transition benefit.
Transitioning into a new job can often come with some added difficulties and expenses. You may need to purchase work gear, uniforms, pay for transportation, or be required to wait an extra week to receive your first paycheque.
The ODSP employment transition benefit aims to help newly hired ODSP recipients with a one-time $500 payment. This should help offset the costs of transitioning into a new job.
In addition to the ODSP employment transition benefit, you may also be able to receive the ODSP work-related benefit as well.
This one-time $100 payment is given as a reward for earning your first paycheque, selling a product or service through your business, or completing a training program.
To receive the work-related benefit, you must meet the following criteria:
- You, your children, and/or spouse must be over 18.
- The money you earned must be “nonexempt,” meaning that it directly affects your existing ODSP income benefit.
How to Apply for ODSP
If you believe you qualify for ODSP and haven’t applied for it yet, you can start the online application process here. Go through the eligibility requirements presented, too, just in case.
You will need a few things before you start your application:
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Your and your dependents’ birth certificates
- Your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) cards
- Your immigration documents
- Your banking details
It’s important to note that you are liable for providing your basic financial picture to the ODSP. It includes all costs or expenses, income, and assets. You must convey accurate information because the caseworker will perform a thorough financial assessment.
The medical side of your application will mostly be handled by medical practitioners familiar with your case.
Applying For ODSP Part 1: Financial Eligibility
The first phase of your ODSP application requires that you prove your financial eligibility for the program. ODSP benefits are seen as a “last resort” benefit and are designed to aid those who truly need the money.
During your first assessment appointment, your case officer will review your current finances, bank account balances and inquire about any income you’re already receiving.
After a 15-day assessment period, your case officer will notify you to explain whether or not you’ve been approved and why. If you’ve been approved, you’ll move on to the disability determination phase of the application.
Once your financial eligibility has been approved for ODSP, you’ll be given the disability determination package (DDP) to complete. This package will contain forms inquiring about your disability and daily activities.
There are two main parts to the DPP:
- The health status report
- An activities of daily living index
The first part will ask for some basic information regarding your disability. You’ll be asked to explain your disability, how long you’ve had it, how long it’s projected to last, and when you were diagnosed.
The second part of the package requires more in-depth explanations of how your disability affects your daily living, particularly in regard to caring for yourself and your ability to work.
Throughout the package, input from your healthcare professionals may be requested, so you may need to reach out to some of your doctors’ offices and ask them to fill out the requested information.
ODSP applicants are typically given 90 days to complete the DPP package and submit it to their case officer.
After submitting your DPP package, you can expect to hear back from the ODSP department within 10 business days.
What do Recipients Think About ODSP?
The opinion and sentiments of many ODSP recipients, as reflected in their comments and discussions on social media forms, vary. However, one sentiment that’s echoed all around is that “it’s not enough”.
The amounts most people receive as their ODSP benefits barely help them get by, and for many recipients, they are not even enough to survive, let alone improve their quality of life for recipients.
We might not be able to blame the department because even though it’s serving one of the most densely populated provinces in Canada, it’s understaffed and underfunded (like many government departments are). Also, it’s funded by the province, not by the federal government.
Most recipients agree that for disabled individuals seeking a decent quality of life, the best course of action is to augment ODSP through paid work as much as their disability allows them.
It might be possible for some recipients, but the disability might be too severe for many others.
And unfortunately, those are usually the individuals who require more substantial financial assistance because they usually need supervision, special care, and specialized accommodation, among other things.
I think the ODSP is still better than nothing, but it desperately needs improvements. The benefit should either be augmented or melded with federal support for disabled individuals so that disabled people can still maintain a decent quality of life in Canada.
Ontario Works & ODSP: What You Need To Know
Ontario Works is a social welfare program that’s specific to Ontario. The goal of the program is to help those in need cover basic expenses and also provide opportunities to find employment and complete job training programs.
Ontario Works benefits are available to both disabled and non-disabled individuals.
The current maximum payout available to Ontario Works recipients is $733
To apply for Ontario Works, you must meet the following stipulations:
- Be at least 16
- Be within the income/asset threshold (show that you’re in need)
- Be a full-time resident of Ontario
There isn’t a specific income threshold, as this amount can vary depending on your situation and expenses. However, the asset threshold is clear:
- $10,000 for single applicants
- $15,000 for married/common-law partner applicants
- $500 additional allowed for each dependent
The rules aren’t always set in stone, though, and your case officer may be able to make exceptions if you can prove your need.
Ontario Works Payment Dates
If you’ve been approved for the Ontario Works program, you can expect to receive a payment on the following dates for 2023:
|Benefit Month||Cheque Payment & Replacement Date|
|January||December 21, 2022|
|February||January 31, 2023|
|March||February 28, 2023|
|April||March 31, 2023|
|May||April 28, 2023|
|June||May 31, 2023|
|July||June 30, 2023|
|August||July 31, 2023|
|September||August 31, 2023|
|October||September 29, 2023|
|November||October 31, 2023|
|December||November 30, 2023|
ODSP and Ontario Works are very different programs. ODSP is designed to provide benefits to disabled individuals and Ontario Works is designed to provide short-term benefits and training while the recipient is actively searching for a job.
That being said, you can receive both Ontario Works and ODSP at the same time.
Ontario Works provides more immediate relief and is easier to apply to than ODSP. Often, ODSP applicants will also apply to Ontario Works to receive aid while they’re completing their DPP form and verifying their eligibility for ODSP.
Situations vary from one case to the next, so you’ll need to discuss specifics with your case officer.
Here are some brief answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that I receive regarding ODSP benefits and unique situations.
Do ODSP cheques come early in some months?
Yes. For the month of December, the cheques and deposits might be processed relatively earlier.
Is the ODSP amount increased every year?
ODSP amounts change based on current inflation levels. In periods of high inflationary change, ODSP payments could increase. However, in periods of low inflation, ODSP payments could remain the same.
Most recently, ODSP payments were increased by 6.5% in July 2023.
Can I own a house on ODSP?
Yes. A home is an exempt asset. However, you cannot pay the principal amount of the mortgage with your ODSP benefits, only the interest.
How much money can someone on ODSP have in the bank?
You can only have $40,000 if you are single and $50,000 for a married couple. But if you have other liquid assets like stocks in RRSP and TFSA, they will also be added to the asset value.
Does an inheritance affect ODSP?
Yes, if it’s not part of the exempt assets (e.g., cash, liquidity). But if it’s an exempted asset, such as their home, it won’t.
Can My ODSP Amount change Each Month?
Each month, ODSP recipients are required to complete a form detailing their income earned from employment and/or training programs. If your income significantly increases beyond the maximum benefit threshold, your ODSP payment could be reduced for the following month.
Understanding the ins and outs of ODSP benefits is important before you apply for yourself or on someone’s behalf.
From benefit details to ODSP payment dates, every piece of information can help you plan your finances.
Now that you have your ODSP payment dates sorted out, read about the best places to retire in Ontario.
We hope we answered most of the questions you had on the topic of ODSP, but feel free to drop a comment if you need information on something else as well.