Dear Kitchener Centre constituents,
Thank you for your patience as we awaited details from the provincial government regarding Emergency Benefits, discretionary funds, and Employment Insurance financial support for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients.
Effective immediately, the Emergency Benefit is available through ODSP as a one-time discretionary benefit. This benefit will improve client access by reducing the need for ODSP recipients to seek assistance for exceptional COVID-19 costs through Ontario Works discretionary benefits. However, ODSP recipients can still access Ontario Works for other one-time extraordinary costs. This benefit will allow ODSP caseworkers to provide emergency financial support to the ODSP benefit unit for special services, items or payments, at the discretion of the caseworker, to offset exceptional costs to protect the health and safety of benefit unit members related to the COVID-19 emergency. ODSP singles are eligible for a maximum of $50 and families are eligible for a maximum of $75.The one-time benefit will be in place for two months (March and April) and will be administered through SAMS.
The Emergency Benefit is a one-time discretionary benefit that is intended to provide emergency financial support to the ODSP benefit unit for special services, items or payments, at the discretion of the caseworker, to address health and safety issues related to COVID-19. The discretionary fund is distributed for additional costs for items such as; staple foods, non-medical transportation, hygiene and cleaning supplies.
The Emergency Benefit is being implemented to improve client access by reducing the need for ODSP recipients to seek assistance for exceptional COVID-19 costs through Ontario Works discretionary benefits.
The entitlement for the Emergency Benefit is available for application for any ODSP recipient currently in receipt of income support (including those in receipt of Personal Needs Allowance) who identifies a need for additional support can request the Emergency Benefit on behalf of the benefit unit. Recipients of Extended Health Benefits (EHB), Transitional Health Benefits (EHB), and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) are not eligible to receive this benefit. In order to qualify, an ODSP recipient will need to contact their caseworker (either by phone or secure email) to outline their individual situation and their needs.
This Emergency Benefit is a discretionary one-time benefit.
- ODSP singles are eligible for a maximum of $100
- ODSP families are eligible for a maximum of $200
The Emergency Benefit is a one-time benefit that will be in place for two months (March and April). Within these two months, the ODSP benefit unit can receive the Emergency Benefit one time up to the eligible maximum ($100 for singles, $200 for families).
For Ontario Works discretionary benefits, it will be determined by municipalities as they will continue to have discretion to approve the requests, with the intent to allow clients to directly access discretionary benefits.
I recognize that The Emergency Benefit that the Province has just rolled out does not go nearly far enough to meet your needs. The Official Opposition continues to advocate for a $2000 emergency income for everyone impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can sign a petition to advocate for this here: https://www.ontariondp.ca/emergency-income-now.
All the best,