Social Benefits - Overview

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The information presented here is an overview of how the Social Benefits Tribunal works to hear appeals of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). It is not intended to be legal advice. If your issue is complicated or difficult to explain, you may want to see a lawyer to help you with your appeal.

The Social Benefits Tribunal hears disputes about ODSP matters.  The tribunal hearings are usually held in front of one member, in private. 

You may appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal if you do not agree with a decision made by the ODSP office or if you have not received a decision from the ODSP office within 10 days of your application.  The tribunal hears from both sides as though there had not been a previous decision from a local ODSP director. Some decisions cannot be appealed to the tribunal. You will need to check the letter you receive about your decision, which will say whether the Social Benefits Tribunal can hear your case.

After receiving your decision letter, you have 30 days to appeal. If you decide to appeal, you will need to complete an Appeal Form and mail or fax it to:

Social Benefits Tribunal
1075 Bay Street, 7th Floor
Toronto ON M5S 2B1

Fax: 416-326-5135

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You can get an Appeal Form from either A local ODSP Offices in Ontario or download it from the Social Benefit Tribunal Web Site.

You can call the Social Benefits Tribunal if you need help completing the form or if you have questions:

416-326-0978 (within Toronto)
Toll-free: 1-800-753-3895 (outside of Toronto)
TTY: 416-325-3408 (within Toronto)
TTY (toll-free): 1-800-268-7095 (outside of Toronto)

The Tribunal will hear only the types of issues listed below. These issues are also listed on the appeal form:

  • You were refused assistance.
  • Your assistance has been reduced.
  • You have an overpayment.
  • The amount of your assistance is wrong.
  • Your assistance has been cancelled.
  • Your assistance is on hold.
  • They say you are not disabled.

If an ODSP client does not agree with a decision made by his or her ODSP office, the client can appeal to the tribunal for a chance to have the decision changed. The Social Benefits Tribunal has no connection to the person who made the decision that is being appealed, and will make an independent decison based on the facts and the law. 

You do not need a lawyer to bring your appeal to the Tribunal. But if you think your issue is complicated or difficult to explain, you might want to contact a lawyer before you apply to the Tribunal.

To obtain free legal advice, you can contact:

Legal Aid Ontario
Toronto Line: 416-979-1446
Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258

Law Society of Upper Canada Lawyer Referral Service
Toronto Line: 416-947-3330
Toll-free: 1-800-268-8326

What This Process Can Do For You

Your appeal can have 4 different results:

  1. You can win your appeal: The ODSP decision is reversed, and you win your appeal.
  2. You can win part of your appeal: The Tribunal may decide to reverse only part of the decision. This means you will win part of the appeal, and lose the rest.
  3. You can lose your appeal: The decision of the ODSP Director remains the same.
  4. You can fail to qualify for a Tribunal hearing: If the issue is not one of the 7 that the tribunal can hear, they will let you know in writing. This means you will not have a tribunal hearing. In this situation, the decision of the drector will stay the same.

Appealing to the Tribunal means that you will have a chance to tell your side of the story and a chance to be heard. It also means that you will get a fair hearing based on the facts and evidence of your case. 

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