Thursday, February 9, 2017

Time for Change with ODSP & it's Treatment of Spousal Earnings!

When it comes to people living with disabilities I am sure you will agree that we all have the right to get married or start a relationship without penalty. Sadly, here in the Province of Ontario our Government has policies in place that end up punishing people with disabilities who are married including those living with someone they are in a relationship with. These policies govern the Ontario Disability Supports Program which was originally created to help those with disabilities in need of income support. Over the last 9 years I have been doing my best to raise awareness of these issues and their negative affects but nothing has changed. Now I fully understand that when your up against a government your almost guaranteed to fail especially when you seem to be the only one fighting for fairness for those with disabilities who are married and have no other choice but to rely on income support from ODSP. Maybe the mistake I have been making over the last 9 years is asking for a change to policies that would be too costly for any government to make. In the past I have asked them to stop using spousal earnings to reduce the amount of income support the person with the disability receives. Today, I realize that may have been my mistake as I am now recommending simple changes to their treatment of Spousal Earnings. 

So, let’s look at the facts.

Current treatment of Spousal Earnings


Non-disabled/Working spouses of those receiving income support from ODSP can earn $200 a month before seeing their disabled spouse’s income support reduced. If the non-disabled working spouse earns more than $200 a month, 50 per cent of their net earnings over $200 will be deducted from the disabled spouse’s income support payment. ODSP does give those with non-disabled working spouses an extra $100 each month for working. This is called the Work-Related Benefit. This still results in many with the disability who are unable to work but have a working spouse will see their income support they are entitled to reduced by 50 per cent every month. Which ends up robbing the person with the disability of their dignity taking away their ability to control their own lives. Having things set up this way means that non-disabled or working spouses are to assume full financial responsibility of the person they married who has the disability. Something that acts as a deterrent to those without disabilities considering starting a relationship with someone who has a disability and is receiving income support from the Ontario Disability Supports Program. Which ends up preventing many with disabilities receiving ODSP from forming new relationships that would be beneficial to their health and well being.

Changes we are seeking from the Ontario Government


Non-disabled/Working spouses of those receiving income support from ODSP should be allowed to earn $400 a month before seeing their disabled spouse’s income support reduced. Then if the non-disabled working spouse earns more than $400 a month, 25 per cent of their net earnings over $400 would then be deducted from the disabled spouse’s income support payment. ODSP should continue giving those with non-disabled working spouses an extra $100 each month for working through the Work-Related Benefit. This would then result in those with the disability who are unable to work but have a working spouse will only see the income support they are entitled to reduced by 25 per cent every month. Which would end up allowing the person with the disability to better control their own lives. Allowing those with disabilities who are unable to work to properly contribute to their household enabling us to afford the extra costs that come with living with a life altering disability. It would also enable us to better afford the increasing cost of living in the province of Ontario. Allowing those with disabilities receiving ODSP to enter a loving relationship with no penalty as that would be truly beneficial to their health and well being.

Also, shouldn’t a government known for preaching inclusiveness stand-up and finally update unfair regulations that govern ODSP especially ones that in a way take away the right of those with disabilities to love or be loved? Sadly, as of today the province of Ontario is not truly an inclusive place to live especially for people with disabilities who are in relationships or married.

You can help!


There is no doubt that things need to change especially when it comes to unfair legislation that punishes those with disabilities who are married or in a relationship. Best of all you can help!
Please (Click Here) to sign our Change.org petition to make your voice heard today!

All we are seeking is the change we so desperately need.

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