Ontario Works provides financial assistance for basic needs, shelter and other costs to individuals in financial need who meet the eligibility criteria.
Financial Assistance may include assistance for food, shelter, clothing and other household costs, the cost of prescription medications, and other help with health costs.
If you are in an emergency or crisis situation, you might be eligible for Emergency Assistance, which will provide you with immediate, but temporary, financial support instead of ongoing financial support like Ontario Works.
If you are eligible for Emergency Assistance, the amount you may receive will depend on your specific situation. In most cases you will not get more than what you would get on Ontario Works.
How to apply for Ontario Works Assistance
To be eligible for assistance, applicants must meet the following legislative criteria:
- Resident in Ontario
- Income not in excess of prescribed limits
- Assets not in excess of prescribed limits
- Living with parents and not financially dependent on them
- Not a single person incarcerated full-time
- Not a single person less than 16 years of age without dependents
- Not a single person who has been deemed non-compliant for 3 or 6 months
- Not a single person subject to a period of ineligibility due to welfare fraud conviction
- Not a single person without dependents who is receiving a loan under the Ministry of Colleges and University Act or the Canada Student Loan Act
If you’re confident you meet the eligibility criteria, the section below will offer a step by step application process as well as additional information relevant to the program.
Step 1: Intake Process
The first step in applying for financial assistance is to call the Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office 519-652-1055. Please have the following information pertaining to yourself and your family members to complete the application. You will also be required to bring the following verifying documents to your application Interview:
- Date of Birth
- Social Insurance Number
- Health Card number
- Immigration number and Date of Landing (if applicable)
- Current address and address history for the last 12 months
- All accommodation costs, including Landlord’s name & address or mortgage company info.
- Bank account numbers and balance history
- Information concerning any owned assets
- Current & past employment details (Resume)
- Information on income, or potential income, from any source (such as Child Tax Credit, Support, Employment Insurance, etc.)
An Ontario Works staff member will:
- Provide general program information and requirements;
- Schedule an appointment for the applicant at the Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office;
- Applicants who are in crisis or meet other criteria will be seen by a staff member at Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office within 24 or less hours.
Step 2: Application Interview
Upon attending the Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office, the Applicant (as well as spouse and dependent children over the age of 18 if applicable) at the time set, will complete the full application.
- Any required documentation will be visualized with the exception of the Birth Certificate which will be copied. Participation Agreements will be contracted with each family member over the age of 18.
- Each individual’s personal goals and available programs and resources will be taken into consideration. All necessary forms will be reviewed and signed.
Eligible applicants will be informed how they will receive their financial assistance, and the requirements to maintain ongoing entitlement.
Ineligible applicants will receive a letter by mail explaining why they do not qualify and outlining how they may appeal the decision if they disagree.
When a decision is made that effects Basic Financial Assistance or the Mandatory Benefits, an applicant/recipient has the right to appeal the decision.
The appeal process:
- The applicant/recipient will receive a letter stating the decision that has been made, how it will affect his/her Ontario Works entitlement, and how the decision can be appealed should the participant choose to do so.
- If the applicant/recipient chooses to appeal the decision, a letter requesting an Internal Review must be submitted to Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office within ten (10) days of the date of the letter being received.
- The Internal Review must be conducted within ten (10) days of receiving the request and the applicant/recipient will be notified of the decision in writing.
- If the original decision is upheld and the applicant/recipient still disagrees, an appeal can be made to the Social Benefits Tribunal*.
- An appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal must be submitted within thirty (30) days of receiving the Internal Review decision.
- The applicant/recipient has the right to legal counsel and representation.
- A Hearing will be held by the Social Benefits Tribunal* with the applicant/recipient and a representative from Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office. The decision will be issued, in writing, within sixty (60) days of the Hearing.
* The Social Benefits Tribunal is an independent agency appointed by the Provincial Government.
Appeal forms are available at Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office. Completed forms are to be mailed to:
The Social Benefits Tribunal
7th Floor, 1075 Bay Street
Toll Free Number 1 (800) 753-3895
Interim assistance may be provided to an applicant/recipient if the Tribunal is satisfied that the person will suffer financial hardship during the period needed for the Tribunal to complete its review and issue its decision. An applicant/recipient may receive interim assistance only if the applicant/recipient meets all conditions of eligibility for assistance other than a condition relating to the issue under appeal.
When an applicant/recipient loses an appeal, or withdraws an appeal and had been in receipt of interim assistance, this payment will be considered an overpayment. If the amount of interim assistance provided exceeds the amount that would have been payable under the final order of the Tribunal during the period for which interim assistance was provided, the amount of the excess shall be deemed to be an overpayment.
Decisions that relate to items other than Basic Financial Assistance or Mandatory Benefits are appealable through an Internal Review.
For decisions that are not appealable to the SBT, the decision is final when:
An internal review decision is made to uphold the initial decision.
As a condition of eligibility, Ontario Works recipients engage in an employment plan to build skills and to find either part-time or full-time employment. The Participation Agreement is a living document that evolves and changes as participants access and complete employment related activities. We will take into consideration any temporary or special circumstances that you may have, including illness, injury, appropriate child care needs, or attendant care for dependent family members. Participants, spouses, and dependent adults (18 years of age and older) must participate in one or more of the following activities:
- Job search
- Basic education or literacy programs
- Community placements
- Employment placements
- Learning, Earning and Parenting
- Addictions Programs
- Maintain on-going employment
Participant may be temporarily deferred from taking part in activities if they are
- The sole support parent of a child for whom publicly funded schooling is not available
- The sole support parent for whom temporary care assistance is being received
- 65 years of age or older
- With exceptional circumstances, approved by the Director
- A family caregiver who requires daily physical assistance on an ongoing basis due to a disability, illness, or old age (this must be documented and approved)
- A family caregiver who provides support services to the household
- Injured, ill or disabled thereby restricting or making participation impractical (medical documentation is required).
The frequency of Participation Agreement reviews shall be as follows:
- At least once every three (3) months for Ontario Works participants and participants with temporary deferral of active participation.
- At least once every four (4) months for voluntary participants; and
- At least once every six (6) months for those participants who are applicants for ODSP, participants solely in receipt of temporary care assistance, or a sole support parent with a dependent child for whom publicly funded schooling is not available.
Participants who have met the three (3) month qualifying period or re-applicants who qualify for the grace period, have the 50% earnings exemption applied to their net earnings when determining their chargeable earnings amount.
The 50% earnings exemptions applies to both full-time and part-time monthly earnings AND TRAINING INCOME. The chargeable earnings amount is used to determine the amount of financial assistance that a benefit unit may be eligible for.
Income Reporting Statements (IRS)
Income Reporting Statements (IRS) are required to be submitted each month in order to determine the next month’s entitlement. The income reported includes all income obtained between the 16th of the preceding month and the 15th of the current month.
The statement includes several items that must be recorded and/or attached, including:
- Income and assets of members of the benefit unit;
- Attendance at employment assistance activities; and,
- Any other conditions relevant to determining the person’s eligibility between the 16th of the preceding month and the 15th of the current month.
Failure to submit an Income Reporting Statement may result in the suspension of financial assistance. Should the Income Reporting Statement not be received by the 5th working day of the next month, financial assistance will be terminated.
If you are completing an IRS, be sure to complete each section of your reporting card, including a signature and date. If you have a spouse/same sex partner make sure they also sign the reporting card. It is important to always complete your reporting card in pen as this is a legal document.
Overpayments may be created in the following ways:
- If a participant/recipient receives an amount in excess of their entitlement, this amount is an overpayment.
- If a participant/recipient does not honour an Agreement to Reimburse or Assignment, the amount that was agreed to or assigned is an overpayment.
- If a participant/recipient had previously acquired an overpayment under the Family Benefits Act, General Welfare Assistance Act or Ontario Disability Act the overpayment is recoverable under the Ontario Works Act.
An overpayment may be recovered through monthly deductions from a recipient’s basic financial assistance. The rate of recovery will be 5% of the income assistance, if the participant continues to be otherwise eligible for income assistance under the Act. This amount may be increased up to 10% where there is evidence of the capacity to pay, or it may be increased to greater than 10% at the recipients request. This amount may also be reduced if it will cause the recipient undue hardship.
Prior recipients of social assistance who have outstanding overpayments are encouraged to submit post-dated cheques, or to make other suitable repayment arrangements with Oneida Nation’s Ontario Works office.
Under the Ontario Works & Ontario Disability Support Program Acts both the recipient and their spouse/same sex partner are equally responsible for any overpayment created while they were in receipt of social assistance together.
Overpayments incurred through Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program are now transferable between programs, and between any offices within the province of Ontario.
Financial assistance includes:
- Basic assistance for accommodation costs, food and clothing as determined by actual shelter costs and family size.
- Coverage of most prescription medication. Basic dental coverage for children, and emergency dental coverage for adults. Prescription eyeglasses for children as required and for adults once every three years.
- Special allowances for dependent children including Back to School and Winter Clothing allowance.
- Other special benefits may include medical expenses, surgical and diabetic supplies, employment related expenses, and funds to establish a permanent residence.
Family Support Program
The Family Support Program assists social assistance recipients to make reasonable efforts to secure the child or spousal support to which they may be entitled. Family Support is an income support program with legislative requirements to pursue available income.
The Family Law Act states that every parent has an obligation to provide financial support for his/her dependent children. The calculation of the amount of support can be determined by the courts or by agreement between parties with the Family Support Worker’s (FSW) involvement. This is based on financial information and documentation provided by the payor and is in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines contained in the Uniform Federal and Provincial Child Support Guidelines Act, 1997.
Financial information of the payor is collected under the legal authority of the Ontario Works Act and it will be used to determine the payor’s eligibility for social assistance. FSW’s have the authority to collect and disclose personal information for the purposes of assisting in legal proceedings for support as well as in the enforcement of agreements, orders and judgments relating to support in accordance with the Ontario Works Act, s.o. 1997, c.25, Sched A, s59.
We strive to avoid unnecessary court time by encouraging Ontario Works participants to enter into private agreements with the payor. Accordingly, if a participant anticipates their matter may be resolved without court action, we ask the payor to attend the appointment with the participant. The payor will be required to bring their last three Income Tax Returns and Income Tax Assessments as well as their current pay stub.
We ask that participants bring any existing support orders, divorce papers or separation agreements to their appointments. If a participant is presently pursuing support through the courts and have retained a family law lawyer, the Family Support Worker will become involved in the court application as a third party. Accordingly, we ask that the participant bring the name, address, phone/fax number of their lawyer to the appointment.
- Support income is deducted from the social assistance allowance.
Oneida Nation Ontario Works Office
2110 Ballpark road, Unit # 1
Oneida Resource and Training Centre
2110 Ballpark Road, Unit # 1