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Appealing a decision about social assistance

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Step 2: Start your appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal

Types of decisions you can and cannot appeal

Decisions you can appeal

You can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) if the decision is about:

  • getting on assistance
  • changing the amount of assistance you get
  • getting cut off your assistance
  • sending your cheque to a trustee, if you are 18 or older

And you can appeal a decision about reducing your assistance because of an “overpayment”. This means that OW or ODSP says that they paid you too much.

You can also appeal other types of decisions that affect you, such as whether:

  • you or someone you live with qualifies for a special diet allowance
  • OW or ODSP will give you an employment and training start-up allowance to pay for certain costs related to working or training
  • OW or ODSP will pay for certain health care supplies or travel costs that you have for medical reasons

Decisions you cannot appeal

You cannot appeal to the SBT if the decision is about:

  • getting “discretionary benefits”, such as paying for a funeral
  • making payments to someone else, for example, if you wanted OW or ODSP to pay your landlord directly for your rent
  • getting emergency assistance
  • sending your cheque to a trustee, if you are younger than 18 years old

And you cannot appeal a decision by the Disability Adjudication Unit (DAU) to set a date for a medical review.

Even if the law says that a decision cannot be appealed, you can still ask for an internal review. Explain why you think the decision should be changed and include any information that supports your reasons.

You also cannot appeal a decision to refuse you extra time to ask for an internal review. Talk to a community legal clinic to find out if there are other things you can do. See How can I get legal help?

If you are not sure if you can appeal

If you are not sure if you can appeal the decision, you should still fill out the Appeal Form and send it to the SBT.

Talk to a community legal clinic to get more information and advice if you want to appeal a decision but are not sure if you can. See How can I get legal help?

What you have to do to appeal

Appealing to the SBT is complicated. There are a lot of things you have to do and a lot of rules you have to follow.

You have to:

  • fill out forms
  • make sure all documents and forms go to all the right people, in the right way, and on time

You might also need to collect evidence, like medical reports or financial information. The kind of evidence that will help your appeal depends on the reason your assistance was refused, reduced, or cut off.

Evidence is something that is presented at the hearing to help the SBT make a decision. It can include what witnesses say at the hearing, documents like medical reports, and things like photographs and videos.

Contact a community legal clinic

Before you start working on an appeal, contact your local community legal clinic. They can tell you what kind of evidence you need and help you get ready for your hearing with the SBT.

They may even be able to represent you at your hearing. If they represent you, this means that they act as your lawyer. See How can I get legal help?

When to start your appeal

You can start your appeal as soon as you ask for an internal review. You must ask for an internal review. But you do not have to wait for an internal review decision.

You must use the SBT’s Appeal Form. To get the form, go here.

You can also get the form by calling the SBT at 1-800-753-3895 or 416-326-0978. TTY users can use the Bell Relay Service at 1-800-855-0511.

Deadline for sending in your Appeal Form

 

After asking for an internal review Deadline for sending Appeal Form to the SBT
If you get a decision within 30 days of asking for an internal review Send the Appeal Form within 30 days of the date you get the internal review decision
If you do not get a decision within 30 days of asking for an internal review Send the Appeal Form within 60 days of the date you asked for an internal review

 

If you miss the deadline for sending in the Appeal Form, you can ask for more time. Do this by sending in the Appeal Form and explaining on the form why you are late.

 

You must say why you are appealing and explain why you disagree with the decision to refuse, reduce, or cut off your assistance.

It is a good idea to get help from a community legal clinic to fill out the Appeal Form. See How can I get legal help?

If you need an interpreter or other help to take part in an SBT hearing

On the Appeal Form, you can ask for:

  • a language interpreter, and
  • help to take part in the hearing because you have a disability. This is called “accommodation”.