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Can I work and still get money and other help from ODSP?

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) has rules that say you can work and get money from ODSP if you:

  • tell ODSP about any money you make
  • do not make too much money

Tell ODSP about money you make

You must tell ODSP how much money you, your spouse, and your dependants make each month from:

  • jobs
  • training allowances
  • being self-employed

Your spouse can be a person of any sex or gender. It does not matter if you are married or not.

Dependants are people who live with you and who you financially take care of. For example, this could be your children or elderly parents.

What income does ODSP not count

ODSP will not count money earned by a dependant who:

  • is a high school, college, or university student
  • is younger than 18
  • lives in a First Nations community and gets money from an employment training program that lasts up to 12 months

If you earn up to $1,000 in a month

ODSP will not reduce the money they give you if:

  • you have a disability, and
  • you earn $1,000 or less in take-home pay in a month.

The amount you can earn before ODSP reduces your benefit is called an earnings exemption.

Take-home pay means the money that is left after your employer takes off things like taxes. It is usually the amount that goes into your bank account from your paycheque.

Take-home pay is also called net earnings.

If you earn more than $1,000 in a month

ODSP reduces the money they give you if:

  • you have a disability, and
  • you earn more than $1,000 in take-home pay in a month.

They reduce it by 75% of the amount you earn above $1,000.

For example, if your take-home pay is $1,500 in a month, ODSP will not count the first $1,000. But they will reduce the money they give you by 75% of the remaining $500.

$1,500 (take-home pay)
– $1,000 (earnings exemption)
$500 (ODSP reduces your monthly amount by 75% of this)
x .75
$370 (ODSP takes this much from your monthly amount)

When your spouse or dependants earn money

This rule applies to people in your household who:

They can earn up to $200 in take-home pay before ODSP reduces the amount you get.

If they earn more than $200, ODSP reduces the amount you get by 50% of what they earn over $200.

For example, if they earn $250, your ODSP payment will go down by half of $50, which is $25.

Help with costs related to work

You may be able to get extra money from ODSP for costs related to work. For example, this could be:

  • tools, equipment, and clothing for work
  • travel costs related to a new job
  • fees for a licence or membership in a work-related association

ODSP may also help you pay for child care.

Money for things related to your disability

You may also be able to get extra money from ODSP for costs related to your disability. For example, you may be able to get money for:

  • specialized computer equipment and software
  • sign language interpreters
  • transportation services
  • attendant care services

Benefits after you stop getting ODSP

If you stop getting money from ODSP because of the amount you earn from work, you might be able to get the Extended Health Benefit (EHB). The EHB may cover costs like:

  • prescription drugs
  • visits to a dentist
  • eye exams and glasses

You might also be able to get an Employment Transition Benefit of $500 or the Transitional Health Benefit.

Get legal help and information

If you have questions about ODSP rules or do not agree with a decision ODSP makes, contact your local community legal clinic.

To find the clinic nearest you, visit Legal Aid Ontario’s website at legalaid.on.ca/legal-clinics or call them at 1-800-668-8258. For TTY, call 711.

There is information about appealing a decision by ODSP at stepstojustice.ca/disagree-ODSP-decision.

CLEO has a tool that can help you write to ODSP to ask for an internal review of their decision. Go to stepstojustice.ca/askodsp-review.