Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Mixed Feelings About ODSP by Sarah Evans

For the most part, I am grateful to be on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). It enables me to be financially independent and pay for things like groceries and rent for my apartment. But it is a double sided coin. The other side is that people who are on the program are only allowed to make $200 a month extra before the government takes money away. Some people on ODSP would be able to work, but the rules are a disincentive to do so.

Even though I don't think I would be able to work full-time, I would probably be able to do something. At one point last year, I thought about starting my own consulting business. I spoke to my ODSP worker and she said that I could start a business but I would have to report all of my earnings and the government would take half of my earnings away after the initial $200. Now I want to be an author and I have to wonder how selling my stories or even publishing a book would affect my ODSP.

I am not sure what an ideal solution would be. Maybe it is raising the $200 limit. I know that it does pay off to work because you can make more money in the end, but it seems so difficult to figure out all the reporting rules and the like. I know that these programs have rules for a reason (and a good reason at that) but it feels sort of like they need to take into account individual situations and be more supportive of people who want to be part of the workforce. But on the other hand, not having to go to work gives me a lot of time to work on my writing. So maybe in the end it is a trade off.

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