Social Assistance

Impact of Proposed Changes to Earned Income Exemptions for ODSP – November 2022

Reposted from Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)

On November 14, 2022, the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review proposed changes to how earned income will be deducted from benefit cheques of people on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) only. Note: These changes do not apply to Ontario Works (OW) clients.

The government announced that the ODSP monthly flat rate earnings exemption – the amount people can earn without any deductions from their benefits – will increase from $200 to $1000. The amount that is deducted on income above the exemption amount will increase, from 50% to 75%.

Our analysis shows that: 

  • The proposed changes will improve the incomes of people on ODSP who earn up to $2600 net (after taxes and deductions) each month. This will help those who can work. However, for those who cannot work, these proposed changes will have no impact on incomes. 
  • The proposed rules will mean that people become ineligible for ODSP at a lower income point. They will “earn their way off” the program $224 earlier per year ($18.67 per month). At that point, they will no longer have access to associated supports that cover some disability costs such as prescription drug coverage, assistive living devices, or the Guide Dog Benefit. 

We have put together two examples showing how the incomes of two different fictional people on ODSP would be treated under the current rules, and how the same incomes would be treated under the proposed rules.

We have also created a chart which shows the impact of the difference between the current rules and the proposed new rules for a single person on ODSP and for different amounts of earnings.

Click here to access the factsheet which includes examples and chart in English.

This post gives general legal information. For legal advice for a specific situation please CONTACT KCLC.

Employment, News, Social Assistance, Taxation

ON THE RADAR: Changes to Benefits Aimed at Rising Cost of Living

Re-posted from ON THE RADAR, a publication of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)

The provincial and federal governments recently made changes to some financial benefits and policies. These changes are aimed at helping people with the increased cost of living. For more information, check out the November issue of ON THE RADAR!

This post gives general legal information. For legal advice for a specific situation please CONTACT KCLC.

News, Social Assistance

Kingston Community Legal Clinic Among Groups Calling for Social Assistance Rate Boost

Check out the Kingston Whig Standard’s recent interview with John Done about the need for increased social assistance rates in Ontario.

For legal advice for a specific situation please CONTACT KCLC.

COVID-19, Social Assistance

Getting COVID-19 Benefits while on OW or ODSP

Re-posted from ON THE RADAR, a publication of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)

When the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) ended, the Canadian government created 3 new Recovery Benefits and made changes to Employment Insurance (EI). There are special rules about these programs for people who are on Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

This month’s On the Radar looks at how COVID-19 benefits interact with OW and ODSP.

New benefits

To deal with the economic problems caused by COVID-19, the federal government created these new benefits:

These benefits are for people who miss work or lose their jobs because of COVID-19 and don’t qualify for EI. They pay $500 a week.

The government also made changes to EI. They lowered the amount of time that a person needs to qualify to 120 hours. And everyone now gets at least $500 a week.

Clawing back OW and ODSP money

Some people who get OW or ODSP will also qualify for EI or one of the Recovery Benefits. There’s a rule that says if someone on OW or ODSP qualifies for the Recovery Benefits or EI, they must apply to get them.

When someone on OW or ODSP gets money from another source, the government takes back some of their ODSP or OW money. This is often called a “clawback”.

People on OW and ODSP have to report their income every month. And both EI and the Recovery Benefits count as income.

Both EI and the Recovery Benefits are taken dollar for dollar from a person’s OW or ODSP payments. This means that for every dollar they get from EI or a Recovery Benefit, they lose one dollar from their OW or ODSP payments. So, while they’re getting money from these programs, most people will not get any money from OW or ODSP.

Special status

Usually, someone who gets EI or a Recovery Benefit would be removed from OW or ODSP because they have too much income. But instead, during COVID-19, OW or ODSP will give them a special status. This status means that they get $2.50 each month, which lets them:

  • stay on OW or ODSP, and
  • still get things like health benefits and discretionary benefits through OW or ODSP.

Paying back the money

Some people who got the new benefits at the same time as they got OW or ODSP are now being asked to pay OW or ODSP back. This is called an “overpayment”. They’ll get a letter that says they owe money.

Usually, OW and ODSP get money back by reducing a person’s future payments until they repay the full amount. OW and ODSP do not normally cancel someone’s debt.

But it’s often possible to make a deal about how much OW or ODSP takes each month, so that the person does not face “undue hardship”. People who want to do this need to talk to their caseworker.

If someone does not agree they owe money or with the amount OW or ODSP says they owe, they can ask for an internal review. This means that another OW or ODSP worker from the same office reviews the decision and decide whether or not to change it.

For more information about asking for an internal review, see:

If OW or ODSP does not change their decision, people can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal. For more information about an appeal, see:

Getting legal help

For help related to a decision by OW or ODSP , please contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic.

Legal, News, Social Assistance

HOT TOPIC: Overpayment Recoveries

OW and ODSP Overpayment Recovery Rates May Increase From 5% to 10%


The Auditor General has recommended that both Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) increase the amount they collect toward outstanding overpayments.

The law allows overpayments to be recovered by deducting 10% of benefits. However, previously overpayment recovery was usually set at 5%.

What’s happening?

OW and ODSP’s policy directives have changed, and caseworkers are expected to set the overpayment recovery rate at 10% when the cause of the overpayment is believed to be in the recipient’s control to have prevented.

I have an existing or new overpayment. What can I do?


  • notice an increase of the overpayment recovery on your statement of assistance
  • receive a notice of a new overpayment
  • receive a letter from the Financial Services Office


Contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic by phone at 613-541-0777 or by dropping by 345 Bagot Street.


Social Assistance

ODSP Dental Benefits: Now Paperless

As of Monday, April 1, 2019, all ODSP recipients and spouses eligible for dental benefits will be expected to use their monthly statement of assistance or government ID (such as a driver’s licence, valid Ontario Health Card, or passport) to access dental services.

These changes do not apply to children and spouses of ODSP recipients under 18. Children and spouses of ODSP recipients under 18 will continue to receive dental cards under Healthy Smiles of Ontario.