One that prioritizes dignity, independence, compassion, empowerment and accountability. The changes Minister MacLeod announced would be implemented within the next 18 months do not reflect a renewed approach to social assistance.
Social assistance in Ontario is largely focused on eligibility and enforcement, rather than client-focused needs, support and service delivery.
The changes MacLeod described will not shift the basic framework of policing recipients who are forced to navigate a minefield of confusing rules and restrictions. Two key changes MacLeod described are particularly concerning.
One change will modify the treatment of employment income earned by ODSP recipients. Both of these changes deserve close examination because they may very well make it harder for adults with disabilities to qualify for the needed support ODSP provides and reduce the amount of support for many on the program and working.
Changes Ontario is Proposing to OW and ODSP
ODSP provides financial assistance to adults with disabilities in financial need. The program maintains asset and income limits.
If your assets or income exceed these limits, you may not qualify for the program or receive a reduced amount of financial support. You do not have to be financially destitute to qualify for ODSP. You are allowed to have assets and you are allowed to earn income. But there are restrictions and the rules confuse most recipients and their families. Setting limits is a balancing act.
Major changes to rules governing ODSP, Ontario Works
The government wants to encourage people on ODSP to seek employment and hopefully earn enough money, so they no longer need income assistance from the province. At what point should government assistance be clawed back because of the amount of income you earn? Setting employment income limits is not simple. Make it too restrictive, you weaken incentives to seek employment, trapping people in a cycle of dependency. Increase the amount people can earn and you could have more people receiving social assistance.
It is more complicated than simply figuring out how much a person can earn at a job and still receive government assistance. Here are a few questions that help to highlight the complexity:. Issues of fairness and affordability must be considered. Then there are practical concerns.
Rules need to be administered. Systems and processes are needed to monitor, evaluate and apply program policies. Your ODSP is clawed back because you are working, but your overall financial situation has improved. Monthly income reporting is onerous for people on ODSP and their caseworkers. The workload is tremendous. As well, errors and fixing those errors creates more work, not to mention additional stress.
Each month, you must report your income to ODSP.While the Budget is short on details about changes to social assistance, it confirms many of the reforms that government has already announced. The Budget does not mention specific cuts to social assistance rates. This ominous statement may signal a risk to the future of these benefits or, in the case of the TCB, a restriction on eligibility for people with precarious immigration status.
Given that Legal Aid Ontario funds individual and systemic advocacy services for low-income people in Ontario, this cut will severely limit the ability of low-income Ontarians to defend their rights and receive justice.
Other aspects of the Budget not related to social assistance are an increase to the Ontario Child Benefit with the cost of living in July, as implemented by the previous government, and a new low-income dental program for seniors that builds on previous work to increase availability of public dental services through public health units, community health centres, and Aboriginal Health Access Centres.
Footer Get Updates Join our mailing list to get periodic email updates.A key feature of her announcement was a new formula regarding the retention of social assistance benefits for people with jobs. It had been widely reported by the government and in the media that the plan included increases to the amount of money a person can keep from their social assistance when they work. In both cases, each dollar received beyond these limits will result in a 75 cent reduction or claw-back in benefits.
At present, earning beyond the established limits, in both cases, result in just a 50 cent reduction for each dollar earned. The increase to allowable earnings will result in people retaining more of their benefits as long as their earned income from employment remains below a certain level. The changes will also negatively affect the point at which a person is no longer eligible for social assistance income supports because of income earned through employment. The charts also show the significantly higher cutoff point that would have existed had the changes proposed by the previous Liberal government in the Provincial Budget been enacted.
Increases to social assistance income exemptions will decrease benefits for some people by Marwa Osman. December 3, Related Posts. Ontario provides significant additional support to Developmental Services.This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. In November, the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced some changes to come in social services programs.
Let us begin with Ontario Works. It has been said to be a program for people temporarily unable to find work.
ODSP, on the other hand, is for people who are said to be in some way disabled. The good news about the announcement is that it finally buries the lie put forward by all previous Ontario governments that Ontario Works is for those temporarily unable to find work, while Ontario Disability Support Program is for those with substantial barriers, and that the differentiation in some way reflects reality. So what does the government propose to do? The obvious result will be that more Ontario Works recipients will be long-term.
Is that the desired outcome? The government is proposing this new direction without conducting any study to determine the nature of the 20 per cent on for over five years, nor of the substantial number of recipients who are repeaters. The announcement also talks about work incentives. Curiously, it proposes substantially better financial incentives for people who are certified as disabled. Beyond the basic exemption, the current clawback is 50 per cent.
The proposal is to make it 75 per cent. That is an incentive to work? She does an admirable job in laying out the details. Nevertheless, she can analyze the changes, but there is no way of making sense of them. And they are not reforms, as that word suggests improvement. Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.
All rights reserved. To order copies of Toronto Star articles, please go to: www. By Reuel S. Amdur Opinion Sun. Get more opinion in your inbox Get the latest from your favourite Star columnists with our Opinion email newsletter. Reuel S.
Amdur is a social worker living in Val-des-Monts, Que. Report an error.The Ontario Disability Support Program is designed to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities who are in financial need, or who want and are able to work and need support. Ontarians 65 years or older who are not eligible for Old Age Security may also qualify for ODSP supports if they are in financial need.
Income Support provides financial assistance and other benefits to eligible people with disabilities and their families. This includes accommodation and basic living expenses, as well as prescription drugs and basic dental care. Other supports and benefits that may be available include:.
Other work-related, financial supports are available to eligible ODSP recipients who are participating in an approved employment-related activity e. The amount of money you receive from the ODSP will vary depending on such factors as rent costs and family size. The ODSP Employment Supports program works with community service providers to help people with disabilities prepare for and find jobs, keep a job and advance their career. The program can also help people with disabilities become self-employed.
If you are eligible for or receiving disability or rehabilitation benefits from other public or private sources, you may not be eligible for ODSP Employment Supports. They receive employment assistance from Ontario Works. The Ontario Disability Support Program is a social assistance program. To determine if you are eligible to receive Income Support, we look at your:. If you are applying for Income Support, please note that there are two parts to the application process:. All in one site.
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Recover your password. Saturday, April 18, Get help. All Ontario. Hidden Health Benefits of Dried Peaches. Telehealth apps: Is it a smart alternative for doctors and nurses…. Why is renting a jet-ski the new obsession among water sports…. COVID moves businesses online — avoid mistakes that can ruin your…. Fish for Free this Family Day. Swans in Lake Ontario in January. Health Employment Work Standards. Change Location.Ontario residents with disabilities are seeing major changes to provincial programs offering financial support and medical coverage.
The two are the primary social support systems for disabled residents, although Ontario Works assists non-disabled residents as well. One of the most notable changes significantly relaxes the rules concerning how much money recipients are allowed to have as assets or savings before having their benefits clawed back. Among other changes going into effect is a two per cent increase in monthly social assistance benefits for both programs.
Program users and advocates hailed the changes as definite progress for a system they say had long lagged behind the needs of those who relied on it.
But they said the changes still fall short of what's needed. Kyle Vose, chair of the ODSP Action Coalition, said the changes that took effect Friday represent a necessary and welcome first step to overhauling the program.5 15 2019 Rally for ODSP OW Intro by A_Perth County Boy Preparing to March on Queen's Park, Toronto
With the previous limits, if a social assistance recipient were to receive an inheritance that would put them over those low thresholds, they would have to isolate the money in a registered disability savings plan or other exempt asset in order to keep receiving monthly aid, Malis explained. If people wanted to access some of those funds for reasons not related to their disability, they would then run afoul of another set of rules -- those governing cash gifts and voluntary payments.
Malis said this would include withdrawals from trusts or other exempted savings vehicles. But Malis said the change is not in line with the more substantial increases to asset limits. Still, Malis praised the measures as significant progress, though he argued the Ontario government could have followed the lead of provinces such as British Columbia. Dempster said the ministry recognizes the need to "fundamentally change social assistance. At least one group is calling for more drastic improvements than those that went into effect Friday.
Other changes taking effect are modest increases for ODSP recipients living in remote communities, relaxed ajudication rules for people re-entering either ODSP or OW, and the addition of batteries and mobility device repairs to the list of items covered under the ODSP health benefits plan. In particular, they cited the small increase to social assistance benefits.
Those were long-standing sore points within the community, he said. Ron Malis, a financial advisor focusing on people with disabilities, agreed.
Ontario Budget 2019 Announces $1 Billion in OW and ODSP Cuts
Going over the limit, he said, could result in short or long-term suspension of benefits. Related Stories Province wants businesses to hire more people with disabilities. Three babies abandoned years apart turn out to be siblings. No prom?This document lists several income support programs that may be available to Ontario residents during the COVID pandemic.
Download this letter in PDF format. We call on you to ensure the most vulnerable members of our Province have meaningful …. The Research and Policy Analyst provides accurate, community-based research and policy analysis to the …. Have your say! ISAC has provided a written submission. Informed by ongoing consultation with our community partners on issues relevant to our mandate, we make the following recommendations: Connecting people to good jobs: Recommendation 1: Ensure sufficient funding, inter-ministerial ….
This contract is for 1 year and may be renewed or become permanent. Learn more about this opportunity by downloading the job posting here. The deadline for applying ….
We are looking to fill two Staff Lawyer positions, intermediate and senior lawyer. The primary role of the staff lawyer is to undertake strategic litigation aimed at expanding the legal rights, remedies and benefits available to low income workers and people relying on income security programs. The lawyer also participates in the policy advocacy and …. The increase to OCB came into effect in July As in past years, we have ….
We are seeking an Executive Director who, with the Office Manager, will lead a team of approximately 7 unionized staff located in Toronto. The most concerning aspect of the proposed changes is that organizations providing these services will be paid according to how many social assistance recipients they connect to jobs.
These changes …. Footer Get Updates Join our mailing list to get periodic email updates.