The application process includes completion and signing of specific forms, and verification of prescribed information. No person is eligible for income support unless information and verification that is required to determine eligibility is provided. If within one year of applying for income support, a previous application was completed by Ontario Works or ODSP, the previous application and supporting documentation, with any additional required information, can be used.
This directive outlines the process for taking ODSP applications through ODSP offices (i.e. self-referrals) and Ontario Works offices. The purpose of and when to use the application forms are explained and verification requirements are outlined.
To provide a prompt and comprehensive response to requests for income support and to ensure the information and verification necessary to establish eligibility for income support is provided by the applicant.
Applicants wanting to apply for ODSP, who are in immediate financial need, can apply for financial assistance through Ontario Works. An applicant for ODSP applying through an Ontario Works office must first meet financial eligibility requirements for Ontario Works. Once financial eligibility has been established a referral is made to the DAU and the DDP is provided to the applicant/participant.
If the DAU determines that the applicant is a person with a disability, they will notify the applicant and both the Ontario Works and ODSP office that the person is eligible. Upon receipt of notification from the DAU that the person is eligible, the ODSP office will grant income support based on the electronic file, pending transfer of the physical file from Ontario Works. Any benefits (e.g. MSN, etc.) in pay at the time of grant, should be continued.
Completion of an Application for Assistance Part 1 is not required where Ontario Works has referred the case to ODSP and completed the application or updated the Application for Assistance Part 1 within the last 3 months of the date of referral to the DAU.
The Consent to Disclose and Verify Information and the Canada Revenue Agency Consent to Disclose and Verify Information forms that are completed by Ontario Works staff are valid for ODSP purposes as the forms may be used by both programs.
The electronic file should be reviewed to determine if there are any assignments in place. Where there is an assignment noted in the SDMT file, the source of income should be verified and a new assignment form completed at the first opportunity to meet with the recipient after the grant. The assignee is the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Assignments that must be completed may include assignments for spousal and child support, insurance claims, CPP-D, etc.
An introductory letter confirming local office information, ODSP brochures and Rights and Responsibilities form should be mailed on the day the case is granted. As soon as possible after granting income support, ODSP staff may call the recipient to provide ODSP office contact information and establish ongoing need for any benefits in pay.
If the DAU determines that the applicant does not meet the definition of disability, the DAU notifies the applicant and the referring Ontario Works office.
Before an application is taken, the Advance List to Applicant form should be mailed to the applicant. This form outlines the information and documentation required to complete the application for income support.
In order to establish financial eligibility for income support, the following forms must be completed and reviewed at the time of the application interview:
Other forms must be completed and signed as appropriate. For example:
All forms must be signed by the applicant or his/her trustee and, where applicable, the spouse and all dependent adults(s). The exception is the CRA Consent to Disclose and Verify Information form. CRA wll not accept a consent signed by an ODSP trustee. Further information is provided in Directive 10.2 Trustees.
Once financial eligibility has been established a referral is made to the DAU and the DDP is provided to the applicant.
If the DAU determines that the applicant is a person with a disability, they will notify the applicant and the ODSP office that the person is eligible. The ODSP office reconfirms financial eligibility and grants income support within 21 calendar days.
The purpose of the financial reconfirmation is to reconcile any discrepancies between information reported by the applicant and third party checks, verify that all potential income has been applied for, and ensure that all mandatory documentation has been received.
As part of the application process, the Rapid Reinstatement provisions, Employment Supports, and earnings exemptions are to be reviewed with the applicant. In addition, the Employment Training and Income Report (ETIR) and the Changes Report should be reviewed and the reporting process explained, as well as the Direct Bank Deposit process.
The application process includes third party checks which are completed to verify eligibility related information provided by an applicant.
Third party checks include requests from the following:
Additional requests may be made, as required, to obtain or verify eligibility-related information on behalf of the applicant or any other member of the benefit unit.
If the withdrawal is made in writing, the letter shall be attached to the application and filed. If made verbally, the applicant will be asked to submit a written request. If not received, ODSP staff will send a letter to the applicant confirming that the application will not be processed per their request. A copy of the letter will be attached to the file.
If the applicant requests that the forms be either destroyed or left with the applicant, staff shall destroy the forms in the presence of the applicant and provide a note on the electronic file. Forms shall not be left with the applicant.
ODSP applicants in receipt of Ontario Works will have provided verification to the Ontario Works office. Recipients should not be asked to provide documentation that has already been verified by the Ontario Works office, as noted on the SDMT.
For ODSP self-referrals, the following chart identifies the verification requirements and whether the document is to be visually verified and noted in SDMT or whether a copy of the document is to be placed on the Master File. Some documents require both. The chart should be reviewed to ensure verification requirements are being followed and the applicant is not being asked to provide more documentation than required by regulation.
|Verification of Documents||Visually verified and input into the SDMT||Photocopy of original placed on Master File|
|Social Insurance Number||
|Proof of all members identity and date of birth||
|Verification of Income||
|Verification of Assets||
|Verification of Shelter Costs||
|Participation Agreement for Dependent Adult||
|Verification of Person's status in Canada||
|Information regarding Debts||Not required at application|
|* Exceptions include support provisions where original documentation or a photocopy of verification of support or waivers for the pursuit of support, must be placed on the masterfile|
|**Verification required only where information indicates that eligibility criteria regarding school attendance is not met|
|Note: when information is received and verified it should be recorded in the Notes section of the SDMT|
Social Insurance Number (SIN) or other official documentation of the SIN (tax form) must be visually verified and noted in the SDMT. Once the SIN is verified and input electronically, photocopies are not to be placed on the master file.
Health Number (HN) can be collected and recorded for the purpose of providing provincially funded health services. The HN must be visually verified and noted in the SDMT for all members of the benefit unit. Other official documentation of the HN includes a letter from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), or a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Once the HN(s) is verified and input electronically, photocopies are not to be placed on the master file.
Proof of the identity and date of birth of all members of the benefit unit must be photocopied and placed on the master file and the information recorded in SDMT. Identity and date of birth can be verified with one of the following:
In the case of a child who is adopted, verification of the adoption as proof of identity is not generally required. However, in some circumstances, the adoption order may assist in providing further support regarding the person’s identity. For example, where the adopted child’s surname is different than the parents’ surname. In these cases, a copy of the adoption order with the identifying information related to the birth parents removed can be requested.
A MOHLTC issued photo health card is acceptable documentation to verify identity and date of birth for adults for the purposes of social assistance. A MOHLTC issued photo or non-photo health card may be used to verify the identity and date of birth of dependent children. In these cases, the identity and date of birth should be visually verified, and a note added to SDMT that visual verification was made. No copy of the health card should be made.
Verification of Income: Other income is taken into account in determining eligibility for income support. All sources of income are reviewed and recorded in the SDMT.
Verification of Assets: Assets are taken into account in determining eligibility for income support. All assets are reviewed and recorded in the SDMT. For applicants, bankbooks or statements are reviewed for one month prior to the date of application to identify regular or sporadic income and asset levels. If there is reason to require additional information, any additional statements/bankbooks available to the applicant without incurring fees or charges will be requested.
It is important to review bank balances in combination with other assets such as life insurance policies, funds held in trust and savings plans to ensure asset levels are within the prescribed amount.
One year prior to the date of application, members of an applicant’s benefit unit cannot assign, transfer or dispose of assets in order to qualify for ODSP. This may be increased to three years if there is reason to believe that a three-year period of review is appropriate. When an applicant reports the transfer or disposition of assets, the details must be fully documented and verification of the transfer/disposition of assets must be provided. Discretion may be exercised when deciding to obtain verification if there are significant costs associated with obtaining a bank statement. See Directive 4.4 Transfer of Assets, Inadequate Consideration.
Once assets are verified and noted in the SDMT, a copy of the record is not required to be placed on the master file.
Verification of Shelter Costs: Accommodation costs are used to establish budgetary requirements and the amount of income support that the applicant will receive. Visual verification and electronic input of documentation related to shelter costs is limited to the minimum necessary to verify shelter costs up to the maximum. For example, if a single applicant pays rent of $500 per month plus utilities, only visual verification of the rent is required as it exceeds the maximum shelter allowance for a single person.
At the next available opportunity or at review, visual verification of all relevant accommodation costs will be obtained and documented in the SDMT. Once the information has been visually verified, and input into the SDMT, verification of the shelter costs is not required to be placed on the master file. The following are acceptable sources of verification:
School Verification: Attending school is a requirement for the inclusion of a dependent child in the benefit unit. Effective December 20, 2006, the Ministry of Education introduced legislation which requires all students, less than 18 years of age, to be in attendance at school unless they have already graduated.
As it is the school boards’ responsibility, under the Education Act to monitor a student’s school attendance, no verification of school attendance is required. However, where information received by the ODSP office indicates that a child is not attending school (e.g. a fraud allegation, information from the school, a declaration by the parent or child), school verification may be requested.
Report cards may be used to verify attendance as determined by the school. Generally report cards are available in December, March and June of each year. If verification of attendance is required immediately to confirm eligibility, the recipient may be requested to have the School Attendance (Form 2221) completed or submit a letter from the school/program on letterhead. Once visually verified and noted in the SDMT, a copy of the form or letter is not to be placed on file.
Participation Requirements for Non-Disabled Spouses and Dependent Adults: Non-disabled spouses and dependent adults must comply with the employment assistance provisions in the Ontario Works regulation, unless they meet criteria for non-referral. If the person meets criteria for non-referral, he or she is not required to participate in Ontario Works employment services but may be referred if they wish to get employment help.
Examples of criteria for non-referral include:
In order to have their referral to Ontario Works waived, the person is required to provide appropriate documentation to verify their circumstances. The following are examples of appropriate documentation:
Verification of Status in Canada: Documentation regarding status in Canada must be provided for all members of the benefit unity who are not Canadian born citizens. This information should be recorded in the SDMT
Acceptable documentation includes one of the following:
Ontario has an information sharing agreement with CIC. Under this agreement the nearest CIC office may be contacted for confirmation of an applicant’s status in Canada. However, the agreement permits ODSP staff to provide information to CIC to administer and enforce federal immigration legislation only when CIC requests it.
Note: where the member of the benefit unit is a sponsored immigrant, verification of the length of the sponsorship undertaking and the name of the sponsor must be on file (i.e. RFCI, record of landed status, etc.) .
Information Regarding Debts: Applicants may verbally declare information regarding debts owed, which is recorded in the Notes section in the SDMT regarding the origin, date and amount of the debt. The Notes are then printed on the Application for Assistance, Part 1. A review of documentation relating to debts is not required at application.
Information related to an amount owed by an applicant may assist in determining eligibility at a future date if a situation arises regarding disposition of assets where the debt is paid using assets or income received by the recipient.
Flags are assigned to each benefit unit member in the SDMT to alert staff of specific conditions or incidents relating to each member. There are three categories of flags that may be assigned to a benefit unit member: Safety, Service Delivery and Restricted File Access. Each flag is associated with a standard list of issues and corresponding definitions.
ODSP staff should determine the need to assign or continue a Flag on a case based on the criteria set out in the Regional Office’s Safety Manual. Cases with an existing flag that are referred from Ontario Works or granted under rapid reinstatement rules should be reviewed to determine if the flag is still required. Additional direction including job aids may be found in SDM Help.