ODSP -What you need to know..
Recent changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will have a huge impact for those who receive these benefits and are involved in personal injury cases.
As of August 1, 2017, awards for pain and suffering are fully exempt from personal injury settlements and are no longer considered as income or an asset when calculated for this purpose. This is a significant change from the previous ODSP limit of up to $100,000 and alleviates the need to seek ODSP approval on amounts greater than $100,000.
These compensation exemptions apply to:
· Awards for pain and suffering, usually ordered through a court, as a result of a loss or injury to or the death of a family member. For example, this could include an individual or their family member being compensated for facing loss or injury from a car accident or from medical malpractice.
· Awards for expenses from an injury to or death of a family member (typically in an accident).
· Awards for loss of care, guidance and companionship due to an injury to or the death of a family member.
· Awards for non-economic loss under certain sections of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Also exempt are amounts for pre-judgment interest (unless it is interest on income) and awards for medical and rehabilitation benefits under SABS and awards under the Family Law Act are also exempt.
It should be understood that these awards will not affect a person’s ODSP eligibility. This means that someone who receives a large
settlement can still stay on ODSP.
And, while ODSP will not revisit past awards, those that were not processed prior to August 1, can still take advantage of the new rules. Individuals who received a settlement award of over $100,000 in the past and have since come off ODSP, can reapply if they still qualify and their settlement will be exempt.
With this change, award recipients are free to use their money any way that they see fit. Where, previously, medical and rehabilitation funds would need to be allocated to disability related items and services, individuals can now use the money as they like as long as they adhere to the rules on spending for non-exempt assets.
The new changes do not apply to any settlement for Income Replacement Benefits, Non-Earner Benefits, and Past or Future Loss of Income. These benefits will still be used to calculate income and/or assets for ODSP purposes. It also does not apply to awards for loss of income. The individual will need to claim that amount as income.
If you have questions about ODSP rules and claims for personal injury, you can always call for a free consultation at: (613) 978-954