Our Ontario Disability Support Program Services

(Information Current as of March 30, 2018) 

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is one of two social assistance programs provided in Ontario. The law related to this program is called the Ontario Disability Support Program Act (1997). 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. The Ontario Disability Support Program is managed and delivered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

In order to qualify for Income Support you have to be 18 years of age or older. You must live in Ontario and demonstrate a financial need. You must have a substantial physical or mental disability that is expected to last a year or more. The disability must make it hard for you to care for yourself, take part in community life or work. Therefore, when determining your eligibility for Income Support, ODSP will look at your financial situation and disability status.

ODSP offers:

  • financial assistance to help you and your family with essential living expenses

  • benefits, for you and your family, including prescription drugs and vision care

  • help finding and keeping a job, and advancing your career

If you require immediate financial assistance, please contact your local Ontario Works office at 705-759-5266.

Types of support

ODSP offers two types of support:

  1. Income support - Financial assistance provided each month to help with the costs of basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter. Income support also includes benefits, like drug coverage and vision care, for clients and their eligible family members.

  2. Employment supports - Services and supports to help clients with disabilities find and keep a job, and advance their careers.


Eligibility and applying

Each type of support has its own eligibility requirements and application process.



The links below will take you to policy directives that are used by ODSP staff to help ensure fair and consistent service across the province.

If you have applied for ODSP benefits and have been turned down, we can assist you in appealing this decision and building your case.

If you have had your ODSP benefits reduced, cancelled and/or suspended we can assist you with challenging this decision and if necessary appealing this decision.

If you have applied for a special ODSP benefit such as an Employment Start Up or Community Start up and Maintenance Benefit and have been denied we can assist.

We can also answer any questions you have regarding eligibility for benefits, amount of assistance and benefits available for ODSP recipients.

Appeal Process

If you have applied for ODSP and been denied or your benefits have been altered in any way you can always challenge that decision. The first step in challenging any decision is to request an Internal Review. The deadline for requesting an Internal Review is 30 days from the date ODSP has issued their decision. If your request for an Internal Review is denied, the next step is to file an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal. The Social Benefits Tribunal is an administrative tribunal that deals specifically with appeals regarding social assistance. The deadline for filing an appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal is also 30 days from the date of the Internal Review decision.

The following flowchart outlines what happens when you apply for ODSP and are denied.


Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) Hearings

We have also produced an ODSP Guided Self Help Program. This program provides resources so that clients can provide effective self-representation at SBT hearings.

The materials consist of a video describing the hearing process and a booklet or guide to assist applicants in getting ready for the hearing.

Both the video and the guide are intended to be used as part of the Clinic's Guided Self-Help ODSP process and in combination with the video "Getting Ready for the Social Benefits Tribunal".

This program also involves meeting with the client to gather information and review their file, as well as help with obtaining new medical evidence and preparing a written submission.


Contact the Sault Ste. Marie area Ontario Works office at 705-759-5266 for any additional inquries or visit https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/index.aspx


This site provides general information only, specific to Ontario, Canada. It is NOT legal advice. Laws, practices and policies change over time. The applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should get legal advice for your particular situation.

Please call us or a lawyer in your area for advice on your particular situation.

Algoma Community Legal Clinic

Queenscentre Building

477 Queen Street East, Suite 301

Sault Ste. Marie, ON  P6A 1Z5

Phone: 705-942-4900

Toll Free: 1-800-616-1109

Fax: 705-942-6894

Email: ‎algorecep@lao.on.ca

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