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Social assistance rules about couples: What you need to know if you live with someone

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What happens if I am living with someone when I apply for assistance?

Living with a close family member

If you live with someone who is a close family member, OW or ODSP will not ask you if that person is your spouse. But they might ask you to show them proof of how you are related to each other. For example, you might do this by showing birth certificates that prove how you are related.

Close family members include your parent or step-parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt, child or stepchild, grandchild, brother or sister, and niece or nephew.

Living with someone who is not a close family member

If the person you live with is not a close family member, OW or ODSP could ask you if the person is your spouse.

Your spouse could be someone of the same sex as you or someone of the opposite sex. You could be married to each other or not.

OW or ODSP could decide that the person you are living with is your spouse even if one of you is married to or separated from someone else.

If you tell OW or ODSP that the person you live with is your spouse:

  • you have to apply for assistance as a couple
  • both of you have to sign all of the forms that are part of the application

If you have been living with someone who is not a close family member for at least 3 months and you say that the person is not your spouse, OW or ODSP will ask you to fill out a questionnaire.

To see the questionnaire, go to the Government of Ontario website at www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca. Search for Questionnaire (for Applicants or Recipients who are living with another adult).

Based on your answers, OW or ODSP decides if you are spouses.

And, OW or ODSP might ask you to fill out the questionnaire even if you have been living together for less than 3 months.

If you do not answer their questions and give them the information they ask for, you will not get social assistance.

If OW or ODSP decides that the person you are living with is your spouse, you will have to apply for assistance as a couple.