October 2017

6.13: Calculating Reduced Assistance

Legislative Authority

Sections 14 and 74(1) and (5) of the Act.
Sections 3, 5, 28, 29, 33, 34 and 35 of Regulation 134/98.

Audit Requirements

Adequate documentation is on file to support the reduction of assistance as required.

The reinstatement of assistance is documented and all information indicating compliance is kept on file.

There is no duplication in the issuance of assistance, and deductions are fair and consistent.

Application of Policy

Financial assistance may be reduced when a member of a benefit unit is found to be non-compliant because of their:

  • failure or refusal to participate in employment assistance activities;
  • failure to accept or maintain employment;
  • unapproved absence from Ontario; and/or
  • failure to comply with other eligibility criteria as required.

A determination of non-compliance must give consideration to the reasonableness of the applicant’s or recipient’s actions in light of their specific circumstances (see Directive 9.1: Reviewing Eligibility for more information).

In situations of non-compliance, financial assistance is refused or cancelled for a single applicant or recipient. Financial assistance is reduced when an applicant or recipient in a benefit unit with more than one member is non-compliant. Where financial assistance is reduced, the reduction in assistance is equal to a portion of assistance for basic needs, shelter and other budgetary requirements attributed to the non-compliant member(s).

If a person is serving a period of ineligibility due to non-compliance they can still receive emergency hostel services (see Directive 2.7: Emergency Hostel Services - First Nations Delivery Agents and Directive 6.16: Emergency Hostels and Shelters - CMSMs and DSSABs for more information).

At the discretion of the Administrator, a recipient serving a period of ineligibility may be issued a drug card if the administrator is satisfied that the recipient requires prescription drugs to treat a serious illness or health condition.

Participating in Employment Assistance Activities

Adults applying for or receiving financial assistance under Ontario Works are required, as a condition of eligibility, to participate in employment assistance activities. Administrators in First Nations and northern communities have the discretion to exercise flexibility when approving employment activities and/or expenses based on cultural and geographic considerations in order to support employment outcomes for clients.

A person who refuses to participate in a required activity without a justified reason, and who does not have a temporary deferral or a restriction, is ineligible for financial assistance.

If a single applicant indicates that they will not participate in employment assistance activities, assistance is refused until they agree to participate. If an applicant with a spouse or other dependents indicates that they, their spouse or other adult dependent will not participate in employment assistance activities, assistance is reduced. In the case of a single-parent, the assistance is reduced by the spousal equivalent amount. In the case of a couple, the assistance is reduced by the portion attributable to the spouse if the non-compliant benefit unit member is the applicant/recipient or his/her spouse. Where the non-compliant benefit unit member is a dependent adult, then assistance is reduced by the portion attributable to the dependent adult.

If a benefit unit member refuses or fails to participate in employment assistance activities, assistance is cancelled or reduced as appropriate for one month (first occurrence) or three months (second or subsequent occurrence).

Accepting and Maintaining Employment

A period of non-compliance applies to applicants or recipients, their spouses and any other adult dependents who fail to make reasonable efforts to accept and maintain full-time, part-time or casual employment of which they are capable of performing.

The period of ineligibility for non-compliance is one month for the first occurrence, and three months for subsequent occurrences starting on the date in which the Administrator makes a decision relating to the date of ineligibility.

If a single applicant indicates that they will not participate in employment assistance activities, assistance is refused until they agree to participate. If an applicant with a spouse or other dependents indicates that they, their spouse or other adult dependent will not participate in employment assistance activities assistance is reduced. In the case of a single-parent, the assistance is reduced by the spousal equivalent amount. In the case of a couple, the assistance is reduced by the portion attributable to the spouse if the non-compliant benefit unit member is the applicant/recipient or his/her spouse. Where the non-compliant benefit unit member is a dependent adult, then assistance is reduced by the portion attributable to the dependent adult.

Periods of ineligibility or reduced assistance may not apply to participants who refuse employment, leave employment without cause or who are dismissed from employment with cause but have otherwise made reasonable efforts to accept and maintain employment or participate in employment assistance activities.

Absence from Ontario

A recipient who is absent from Ontario for more than seven days and has not received approval for the absence from the Administrator is considered non-compliant and is not eligible for assistance as of day eight of the unapproved absence (see Directive 9.2: Absence from Ontario for more information).

For a single recipient, the absence is documented in the file, financial assistance is cancelled and an overpayment is established. A reapplication for assistance is required to have assistance reinstated.

If a recipient is a member of a benefit unit with more than one member, the absence is documented in the file, and assistance is reduced by the spousal equivalent amount (in the case of a single parent) or by the portion attributable to the spouse (in the case of a couple) if the non-compliant benefit unit member is the applicant/recipient or his/her spouse. Where the non-compliant benefit unit member is a dependent adult, then assistance is reduced by the portion attributable to the dependent adult. The non-compliant member must make a request to have his/her assistance reinstated.

Other Eligibility Criteria

Status of Dependent Child(ren) Not Attending School

All dependent children who are of school-age must attend school full time or a training program approved by the Administrator as a condition of eligibility in order to be included in the calculation of assistance. Under some circumstances, the requirement to attend school is waived (see Directive 3.9: Dependent Children for more information).

If a child in a benefit unit is not attending school or a training program approved by the Administrator and no exceptions to the school attendance rule apply, the child is removed from the calculation of the benefit unit’s budgetary requirements. The child remains in the benefit unit and continues to be eligible for mandatory and discretionary benefits including drug, dental and vision care. Any non-exempt income of the child will continue to be included as income for the benefit unit. However, existing income exemptions, such as the full exemption of the dependent child’s employment earnings, will continue to apply.

When a child returns to school or a program approved by the Administrator, the child is included as a dependent child in the calculation of assistance.

Calculating Reductions in Financial Assistance

Reduction in Basic Needs and Shelter for Sole Support Parents and Couples

Non-Compliant Member

Reduction in Basic Needs

Reduction in Shelter

Non-compliant recipient in a single parent benefit unit

$238

Shelter assistance is recalculated with the non-compliant recipient excluded from the calculation

Non-compliant recipient or spouse in a couple benefit unit

$238

Shelter assistance is recalculated with the non-compliant recipient or spouse excluded from the calculation

Non-compliant dependent adult

Basic needs assistance is recalculated with the non-compliant dependent adult excluded from the calculation

Shelter assistance is recalculated with the non-compliant dependant adult excluded from the calculation

Child under 18

Basic needs assistance is recalculated with the child excluded from the calculation (i.e., where applicable, the sole support parent supplement is not provided)

Shelter assistance is recalculated with the child excluded from the calculation

Reduction in Board and Lodging for Sole Support Parent and Couples

Non-Compliant Member

Reduction in Board and Lodging

Non-compliant recipient in a single parent benefit unit

$152

Non-compliant recipient or spouse in a couple benefit unit

$152

Non-compliant dependent adult

Assistance is recalculated with the dependent adult excluded from the calculation

Child under 18

Assistance is recalculated with the child excluded from the calculation (i.e., where applicable, the sole support parent supplement is not provided)

Treatment of Income for Non-Compliant Recipients

When the assistance amount for a benefit unit is reduced due to non-compliance, any income received by the non-compliant person is still included in the calculation of assistance for the benefit unit during the period of ineligibility. Earnings exemptions and child care deductions continue to apply.

Examples of Reductions in Assistance

Renters/Owners

Example 1. .

A single parent with two dependent children aged 8 and 10 years pays rent of $700 and does not have any income other than social assistance. The recipient has participation requirements. The benefit unit is eligible for total income assistance of $1,040 ($354 basic needs (includes a sole support parent supplement of $103) and $686 shelter).

Recipient is non-compliant with participation requirements.

Current assistance: $1,040
Less: Rate reduction: - $238
Less shelter amount attributable to recipient:: 686-632 = 54 - $54
Reduced assistance amount $748

Example 2:

A couple with 2 dependent children aged 10 and 17 years pays rent of $750 and does not have any income other than social assistance. The recipient and spouse both have participation requirements. The benefit unit is eligible for total of $1,230/month ($486 basic needs and $744 shelter).

2A. Recipient is non-compliant with participation requirements.

Current assistance: $1,230
Less: Rate reduction - $238
Less shelter amount attributable to recipient: 744 - 686 = 42 - 42
Reduced assistance amount $950

2B. Dependent child is not attending school and has no plan to return.

Current assistance:
Current assistance: $1,230
Less:. Dependent child's portion of budget  
Shelter amount: 744 - 686 = 42

-42

Reduced assistance amount $1,188

Boarders

A couple with 2 dependent children aged 14 and 15 years are boarding and receive $941/month (includes $69 Special Boarder Allowance). Spouse is non-compliant with participation requirements.

Current assistance: $941
Less rate reduction: -152
Reduced assistance amount $789