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Clinic Develops ODSP Guided Self Help Materials

November 6, 2015 Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

 

For Immediate Release November 6, 2015

It is becoming increasingly difficult for people with disabilities who are eligible for social assistance to receive that assistance.

Many are turned down when applying and then need to appeal. To help those who are appealing, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic (HCLC) has produced new ODSP Guided Self Help materials.

The materials consist of a video and a guide. The video describes the hearing process and the guide will help clients to get ready for the hearing,” says Mike Ollier, HCLC’s Director of Legal Services.

ODSP, the Ontario Disability Support Program, is intended to help people with disabilities who are in financial need. It pays for living expenses, like food and housing.

ODSP casework is an important part of community legal clinic practice. However, while clinics have always done this kind of work, clinic ODSP caseloads have increased considerably over the years.

When the Family Benefits program was changed to ODSP in 1997, the total ODSP caseload for Ontario clinics was 185,479. By 2013, that number had escalated to 314,033. Today about two thirds of all new cases opened are for ODSP appeals. The corresponding figure in 1997 was 14%.

The guidebook, Preparing for Your Hearing, and videos will provide effective assistance to clients engaged in appeals. At the same time, the availability of these resource materials will enhance HCLC’s ability to provide other services in fulfillment of its mandate.

The Clinic will meet with clients and focus on what will help their case the most. That means helping clients get supportive medical information for their appeal meeting.

“We’ll help clients understand how to talk comfortably about their health and limitations. This will make their case as strong as it can be”, says Ollier.

 Resources

*Getting Ready for the Social Benefits Tribunal                  

*Preparing for Your Hearing

*Preparez-vous pour le Tribunal de l’aide sociale               

*Préparez-vous pour votre audience

                                                                                                                 

(All available at https://www.hamiltonjustice.ca/ontario-disability-support-program.php)

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Contact:   Bob Wood  r_wood@lao.on.ca or Mike Ollier at  905-527-4572

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