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Proving that you still qualify financially for social assistance

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How does the social assistance office check to see if I am still financially eligible for assistance?

When you are on social assistance, Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will review your file regularly and ask to have an interview with you. The purpose of the interview is to make sure they have up-to-date information that proves you are still eligible for assistance.

These file reviews and update interviews are in addition to the rule that you must report your income every month, and the rule that you must report any change in circumstances as soon as it happens. Some examples of a change in circumstances are a change in your address, rent, or living arrangements.

When OW or ODSP reviews your file for financial eligibility, they ask you for information and documents to prove that you are entitled to the assistance you are getting. They are also supposed to tell you if you are getting all the assistance you are entitled to get.

You may be required to sign a consent form so that they can get up-to-date information about you from other government agencies that you deal with, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, the Ministry of Transportation, or the Family Responsibility Office.

If you are supposed to participate in certain activities in order to get assistance — for example, go to school, work, or do a community placement — then OW or ODSP can check with these places to confirm that you are doing so. For more information, see the CLEO article called Participation Agreements and your Ontario Works assistance. Click here to find out how to order it.

After reviewing your file, OW or ODSP could decide that you are not eligible for the assistance you are getting, and your assistance could be cut off or reduced. If they decide that you have received more assistance than you were entitled to, they will say that you have an overpayment. They can reduce the amount of your monthly assistance to get the overpayment back from you.

To find out what you can do if your assistance is cut off or reduced, click here.

This article is about file reviews that look at whether you still qualify financially for assistance from OW or ODSP.

If you are getting assistance from ODSP as a person with a disability, you might also have a medical review. In a medical review, health professionals are asked to complete ODSP's Disability Determination Package with up-to-date information about your health and disability.

You can find more information about ODSP in the CLEO title called Disability benefits in Ontario: Who can get them, How to apply. To find out how to order it click here.