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Important Information for those Receiving ODSP Benefits

March 6, 2015 Poverty Reduction

A significant portion of the Clinic’s practice deals with the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The Clinic provides representation and summary advice on all aspects of ODSP.

The Ontario Disability Support Program is one of the two social assistance programs in the province of Ontario. This program is designed to help people with disabilities who are in financial need pay for living expenses, like food and housing (Income Support). It can also give support in finding a job (Employment Support) if the person is able to do some work and wants this help.

ODSP is managed and delivered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.Those receiving ODSP benefits may have recently been mailed a notice saying that a medical review is required.

Even those who have qualified as a person with a disability might have been given such a medical review date in the past.   Often, though, no review actually took place. In a 2009 report, the Auditor General criticized the Ministry for not doing those reviews. As a result there has been a change.

This year the Ministry received funding that will greatly increase the number of medical reviews being done.

The number of people being reviewed each month is going up significantly.

“The Ministry says that as of April 2015, they want to do start doing 1,900 medical reviews each month to get through the backlog of 60,000 people whose reviews have not been done,” says the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC). (ISAC is a Specialty Legal Clinic in Ontario. They advocate for and seek legal remedies to address systemic issues and improve income security for people.)

People who were never given a medical review date and people who were transferred from the old Family Benefits program will not have to have a medical review.

For others though, it is very important that if selected for a review they respond.  Those who don’t respond, risk having benefits cut off.

The Process

Here is how the process will work.

People selected for a review will receive a notice in the mail. This notice will include a Disability Determination Package (DDP) that must be filled out.  This package includes parts that a doctor has to complete.  Those people having a medical review will, therefore, be going through the same application and disability assessment process as when they first applied for ODSP.

If a notice is received saying it’s time for a medical review, we recommend that you contact the Clinic right away. (905-527-4572 or https://www.hamiltonjustice.ca/apply-for-services.php) ODSP is giving people ninety (90) days to complete the Disability Determination Process; however, getting an extension is possible. 

No Longer Eligible

Those who are reviewed and determined to be no longer eligible, should contact the clinic to get advice on whether or not to appeal the decision.

Advocates are asking the government to consider a different process. However, as we write what is described above is the system that is in place.

You can find out more on this issue by going to ISAC's website at http://www.incomesecurity.org/

(This article, in a slightly revised form, was published earlier this year in http://www.northendbreezes.com/  and in https://southshermanhub.wordpress.com/)

 

 

 

 

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