The province of Ontario, seeing the need to improve the level of social services provided through the Family Benefits Act and the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act, passed into law a newer, stronger program in 1998 called the Ontario Disability Support Program Act and Regulations.
Like programs before it, the Ontario Disability Support Program Act and Regulations is meant to strengthen financial assistance and other support mechanisms for provincial residents in the most need. Find out more about Ontario Disability Tax Credit.
The Ontario Disability Support Program Act purpose was to establish a program that:
- Provide income and employment opportunities for disabled people
- Fosters awareness that responsibility for providing support is shared equally among the government, communities, families, and individuals
- Adequately serves people with disabilities who need help
- Has accountability to the tax payers of Ontario
In order to qualify for assistance through the Ontario Disability Support Program Act and Regulations, a resident of a community within the province has to be disabled, which the government defines very specifically to lessen the chance of fraudulent activity or people collecting benefits who aren’t in the greatest need.
Therefore, Service Ontario says the act defines a disabled person as:
- The person has a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and expected to last one year or more;
- The direct and cumulative effect of the impairment on the person’s ability to attend to his or her personal care, function in the community and function in a workplace, results in a substantial restriction in one or more of these activities of daily living;
- The impairment and it’s likely duration and the restriction in the person’s activities of daily living have been verified by a person with the prescribed qualifications.
But there is more to the Ontario Disability Support Program Act than the definition of disability.
Certain other eligibility requirements need to be met:
The person must be 18 or older, live in Ontario, be financially eligible, and have a significant physical or mental health problem likely to last one year or longer and keeps the person from working on a regular basis.
A person who thinks he or she qualifies for the Ontario Disability Support Program Act may apply through Ontario Works, which takes into consideration the applicant’s financial and medical status. A key part of the process is filling out the Disability Determination Package, which includes four forms: The Health Status Report and the Activities of Daily Living form, filled out by a medical professional, the Consent form (allowing the government to collect information for the application) and the self report, both filled out by the person submitting the application.
One the application has been filled out and returned, the Disability Adjudication Unit makes the decision on granting benefits through the Ontario Disability Support Program Act and notifies the person by mail.
People with legitimate needs who seek support but are denied benefits can appeal the decision by asking for an internal review with the adjudication unit within 10 days of receiving their decision.