Millions of Ontarians genuinely need help from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the agency responsible for making payments for people with disabilities in the province, but sometimes people take unfair advantage of the system. If you think someone is intentionally defrauding ODSP, you can report it to the ODSP Welfare Fraud Hotline.
If you meet certain requirements, ODSP can provide two types of support: Income Support and Employment Supports. Income Support is paid each month to help with essential living expenses like food, clothing and shelter, and also includes drug coverage and vision care. To qualify for Income Support, you must be at least 18 years old, reside in Ontario, be in financial need and meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability or be a member of a "Prescribed Class." Employment Supports are services and supports to help people with disabilities find and keep a job and advance their careers. To qualify for Employment Supports, you must be at least 16 years old, reside in Ontario, be legally allowed to work in Canada and have a substantial physical or mental disability that is expected to last a year or more, and makes it hard for you to find or keep a job. You don’t have to be receiving ODSP Income Support to be eligible for Employment Supports.
Definition of Disability
The ODSP defines a person with a disability as a person who has a substantial mental or physical impairment that is continuous or recurrent, and is expected to last one year or more. Additionally, the impairment must be verified by an approved health care professional and directly result in a substantial restriction in your ability to work, care for yourself or take part in community life. Some categories of people, known as prescribed classes, do not have to meet this definition to qualify for ODSP Income Support. This includes a person who, on May 31, 1998, was a recipient, or the spouse of a recipient, of benefits under specific case classes under the Family Benefits Act 1992, a person over 65 years who is not eligible for Old Age Security, and a person who receives either Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits or Quebec Pension Plan Disability benefits.
Read More: How to Report Social Security Disability Fraud
ODSP Fraud Hotline
If you suspect ODSP fraud, you can report it to the Welfare Fraud Hotline by emailing email@example.com, phoning 1-800-394-7867, faxing 1-866-681-3154 or writing to Ministry of Community & Social Services, Welfare Fraud Hotline, Box 333, Toronto ON M7A 1E9. Provide the name, address and phone number of the person you suspect is committing disability fraud, as well as why you believe he is not entitled to claim either Income Support or Employment Supports.
Whether a person is in financial need is determined on a case-by-case basis by an ODSP caseworker, but you may suspect someone is fraudulently claiming Income Support if her household income is noticeably higher than her basic living expenses. (For the purposes of Income Support eligibility, you are deemed to be in financial need if the costs of your household’s basic living expenses are more than your household’s income and assets.) Another example of disability fraud may be a situation in which a person is receiving Employment Supports but is not legally allowed to work in Canada.
An ODSP investigation is made into every reported case of welfare fraud, and action is taken where appropriate.
You can contact the ODSP Welfare Fraud Hotline by email, phone, fax or mail if you suspect Ontario disability fraud.
- Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services: Who to Contact if You Suspect Fraud
- Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services: Eligibility for ODSP Income Support
- Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services: Applying for ODSP Employment Supports
- Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services: Prescribed Classes
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.