If you are not already receiving support from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program and you need financial help because of COVID-19, you can apply for emergency assistance online.

Learn about temporary program changes for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program due to COVID-19.

Overview

If you don’t have enough money for food and housing, or if you have a disability and are in financial need, you can apply for financial and employment assistance through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

This page tells you:

  • who is eligible to apply for Ontario Works and ODSP
  • how much money you could receive
  • how to apply online for Ontario Works online
  • how to apply online for ODSP online

You can also apply for Ontario Works and ODSP through your local:

This page is not a complete list of all eligibility criteria, benefits, responsibilities or support available. Get the full details about Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Ontario Works

Eligibility

You might be eligible for Ontario Works if you:

  • need help with your living expenses, meaning you do not have enough money to cover your immediate family’s living expenses
  • are 16 or older
  • live in Ontario (and are not a visitor or a tourist)

What you could get

Ontario Works offers two types of assistance:

  • help with the essential costs of living (such as food, clothing and housing) and health benefits for clients and their eligible family members
  • help to find and keep a job (such as workshops for resume writing, job counselling, job-specific training and basic education)

If you are eligible for Ontario Works, the amount of money you get will depend on your specific situation. In most cases, you must participate in employment-related activities to get financial help.

If you are eligible for Ontario Works you could receive:

  • $733 a month for basic needs and shelter
  • additional amounts for benefits and other family members who live with you

How to apply for Ontario Works

Follow the steps below to apply for Ontario Works online. It takes 20 to 30 minutes.

Only submit one application for you and your family that lives with you.

Before you start

Make sure all family members included in your application are with you when you fill out the form so they can provide their consent and confirm their information.

Have your family’s identification and tax documents ready, such as:

  • social insurance numbers (SIN)
  • OHIP cards
  • birth certificates
  • immigration papers
  • tax returns
  • banking information

Technical requirements

To complete the application online, you will need the latest version of one of these web browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari
  • Microsoft Edge

Step 1: fill in your personal information

You will be asked to fill out your family’s:

  • full names, dates of birth and status in Canada
  • address
  • housing costs
  • email addresses (for all family members 18 and older)
  • total monthly income and assets
  • other expenses, such as child care
  • bank account information (if you have one) to get your payment quickly through direct bank deposit

Step 2: Ontario Works reviews your application

A caseworker from your local Ontario Works office will call you within four business days of submitting your application to schedule an appointment. This does not include weekends and holidays.

Step 3: meet with Ontario Works

Meet with a caseworker for your verification appointment.

The caseworker might ask you to provide more information, like copies of bills or other documents, so we can verify the information you included in your application.

You will be also be asked to sign your application package, including a consent form to allow Ontario Works to access information about you from other government programs or organizations (for example, Ministry of Transportation, Employment Insurance, Equifax Canada). This information will help to determine if you qualify for assistance.

Step 4: get approved and receive your payment

Once the caseworker receives all the information they need, they will tell you within four business days if your application has been approved and how much you can expect to get.

If your application is approved, your local Ontario Works office will advise when you can expect your first payment by direct deposit or cheque.

Step 5: meet with your caseworker

Your caseworker will contact you to schedule an appointment to develop a plan for you to participate in employment-related activities, unless you have specific circumstances that prevent this, such as an illness or caregiving responsibilities.

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

Eligibility

You might be eligible for ODSP if you:

  • have a disability, or are a member of a prescribed class that is exempt from the disability adjudication process
  • are in financial need, meaning you and your family do not have enough money to cover your living expenses
  • are 18 or older (if you’re under 18, you can start the application process up to six months before your 18th birthday)

To be eligible for ODSP, you must first qualify financially and then your disability must be assessed.

If you qualify financially, you will be given a package of forms to complete with your doctor or health care provider to tell us about your disability. We will use this information to decide if you are medically eligible for ODSP.

Some groups of people do not have to have their disability assessed. If you are part of one of these groups, you will only be required to complete the financial eligibility part.

What you could get

If you are eligible for ODSP, you could receive $1169 a month for basic needs and shelter.

You may receive more than this for:

  • benefits (for example, you might get additional money for transportation to medical appointments)
  • other immediate family members (for example, if you have a spouse or child you will receive a larger basic needs amount)

The amount you get will depend on your specific situation. Your eligibility and the amount are based on your family size and living expenses, including housing and medical costs.

ODSP offers:

  • money to help you and your eligible family members with living expenses, including food, and rent
  • health benefits, including prescription drugs and vision care
  • employment support to help you find and keep a job or advance your career

Returning to ODSP

If you left ODSP but need to come back for financial help, you may be eligible for rapid reinstatement.

Rapid reinstatement makes it faster and easier for you to start receiving ODSP again without having to go through a disability assessment.

To find out if you are eligible for rapid reinstatement please contact your local ODSP office.

ODSP employment supports

You don’t have to receive financial support from ODSP to be eligible for employment supports. You may qualify for ODSP employment supports if you:

  • are at least 16 years old
  • live in Ontario (not a tourist or visitor)
  • are legally allowed to work in Canada
  • have a physical or mental disability that is expected to last a year or more, and makes it hard for you to find or keep a job

Review process

The review process could take a few months.

If you do not have enough money to support yourself and your family while we review your application, you can apply to Ontario Works first.

If you are eligible, you can receive Ontario Works assistance while we are assessing your eligibility for ODSP.

You can also choose to apply directly for ODSP.

Apply for ODSP online

Follow these steps to apply for ODSP online. In most cases, it takes 20 to 30 minutes.

You should submit only one application for you and your family that lives with you.

Before you start

Make sure that all family members included in your application are present when you apply online so they can provide their consent and confirm their information.

Have your family’s identification and banking documents ready, such as:

  • social insurance numbers (SIN)
  • OHIP cards
  • birth certificates
  • immigration papers
  • banking information

Technical requirements

To complete the application online, you will need the latest version of one of these web browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari
  • Microsoft Edge

Step 1: fill out your personal information and submit your application

You will be asked to fill out your family’s:

  • personal details, such as full name, date of birth and status in Canada
  • address
  • email addresses (for all family members age 18 and over)
  • housing costs
  • total monthly income and available assets
  • other expenses (such as child care and disability related expenses)
  • your bank account information (if you have one) so you can get your payment quickly

Once complete, submit your application.

Step 2: ODSP reviews your application

Your local ODSP office will review your application.

Step 3: your local ODSP office contacts you

Your local ODSP office will call you within 15 business days of submitting your application. This does not include weekends and holidays.

The office will schedule an intake verification interview. You may be asked to provide more information to support your application, such as copies of bills or other documents.

Step 4: meet with your caseworker

You will meet with a caseworker from your local ODSP office to review your application.

The caseworker may ask you to provide documents that will help determine if you are financially eligible for ODSP.

You will also be asked to sign your application package, including a consent form that will allow ODSP to gather additional information about you from other government programs or organizations (for example, Ministry of Transportation, Employment Insurance, Equifax Canada). This information will help to determine if you financially qualify for ODSP.

If no additional information is required, the caseworker will let you know if you are financially eligible for ODSP within 15 business days.

If ODSP determines that you are not financially eligible for ODSP, you will have 30 days to request that ODSP review your information again.

Step 5: submit a disability determination package

If you are a member of a prescribed class, you do not have to complete this step.

If you are financially eligible for ODSP, you will receive a disability determination package (DDP).

This package must be completed by your doctor or another health care provider, and mailed to the Disability Adjudication Unit using the addressed envelope included with the package.

The disability determination package includes:

  • health status report: information about your medical condition (for example, impairments, restrictions, treatments, duration)
  • activities of daily living index: information about how your medical condition effects your daily life, including your ability to work, care for yourself and participate in your community

Your health care provider may also submit additional information (for example, clinical notes, hospital reports, psychological or functional assessments) to help describe your medical condition and how it affects you.

Step 6: ODSP reviews your disability determination package

Specialized ODSP staff (including doctors, nurses or occupational therapists) review your completed disability determination package to determine if you are medically eligible for ODSP.

You will receive a letter from the Disability Adjudication Unit within 90 business days to let you know if your disability qualified.

Step 7: review the Disability Adjudication Unit decision with ODSP

Your local ODSP office will call you to review the Disability Adjudication Unit’s decision.

If you are eligible, the caseworker will schedule a meeting with you to create a plan for how to best help you and let you know when you can expect your first payment.

Emergency assistance

If you are in an emergency situation and you live in Ontario, you might be eligible for emergency assistance.

Temporary care assistance

If you are an adult and you are temporarily responsible for the care of a child who is in financial need, you may be eligible for temporary care assistance on their behalf.

You can apply for Temporary Care assistance:

Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities

If you are a parent caring for a child with a severe disability, you may be able to receive financial support through the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) Program.

This program provides financial support for low-income to moderate-income families to cover some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a severe disability.

You can apply for ACSD:

Protecting your privacy

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and your local Ontario Works office will use the information you provide to us to administer the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works.

This information is collected under the legal authority of:

The information you provide is protected by:

You have the right to request access to your personal information and ask us to correct mistakes in your personal information.

If you have questions about how we collect and use your personal information, contact us:

Updated: November 29, 2021
Published: November 01, 2020