Friday, February 10, 2017

The unfortunate results of suffering a work-related injury

As a person living with Muscular Dystrophy who also suffered a work-related injury I am currently receiving income support from the Ontario Disability Supports Program. Unfortunately, they punish me simply for being married as my support is clawing back based on what my spouse makes. That means every single month I see my income support reduced by up to 50%. A truly unfair practice that places a lot of stress on those of us with disabilities who are married and receiving ODSP in the province of Ontario. 

While many outside the disability community may view those receiving income support from ODSP as just lazy people who simply don’t want to work. In my case that couldn’t be further from the truth as at one point I  was able to find a full-time job at a local call centre - this allowed me to get off of ODSP completely for 4 years. At the time this enabled me to bring in a proper second income. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned as after 4 years I suffered a work-related injury so I had no other choice but to go back on ODSP. So, you can see I pursed a career to better my life by getting off ODSP - in my case it just didn’t go as planned.

A major flaw in the legislation that governs ODSP is they way they discriminate against those of us with disabilities who are married. As they claw back my income support based on what my spouse makes keeping me from being able to bring in a proper second income, something that is so very important in a time when the cost of living is so high. Then you add in the sky rocketing cost of rent and the low rate of income support many receive and they are creating a major problem for those with disabilities who are lucky enough to be in a relationship. Having ODSP set up this way actually encourages fraud as many are forced to keep their relationships a secret simply so they can keep their full amount of income support. But people like me who for religious reasons believe in marriage and honesty find ourselves being punished financially by ODSP simply for married and having a disability. 

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