Living with a spouse

If the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) thinks you live with someone who is your spouse, they will look at your combined income and assets to decide if you qualify financially for assistance as a couple.

Your spouse could be someone of the same sex as you or someone of the opposite sex. You could be legally married to each other or not.

The amount of income support you get as a couple is less than the total amount you would get as two single people.

When you apply for ODSP

If you live with someone who is a close family member, you will not be asked if that person is your spouse. But you might be asked to show proof of the family relationship.

If the person you live with is not a close family member, you could be asked if the person is your spouse.

If you tell ODSP that the person you live with is your spouse, you will have to apply for assistance as a couple. Both of you will have to sign all the forms needed to complete the application.

If you tell ODSP that the person you live with is not your spouse and you have been living together for at least 3 months, you will be asked for information that will be used to decide if the two of you are spouses according to the ODSP rules.

In some cases, ODSP will ask for this information even if you have been living together for less than 3 months. Your application for assistance will be refused if you do not provide this information.

If ODSP decides that the person is your spouse, you will be refused assistance as a single person or as a sole-support parent. You can then apply as a couple.

If someone moves in with you

You must let ODSP know as soon as someone moves in with you.

If you are on assistance as a single person or as a sole-support parent, ODSP may contact you 3 months later to set up a meeting. Be sure to respond right away and to go to the meeting. If you do not, your assistance will be cut off.

The meeting will help ODSP to decide if the person who has moved in with you is your spouse. They will ask you for information and documents and your assistance will be cut off if you do not provide this information.

If they decide that the person is your spouse, they can consider whether the two of you qualify for assistance as a couple. If your assistance is cut off, you can appeal. For more information, see Ontario Disability Support Program > Refused, reduced, or cut off.

Even if they decide that the person is not your spouse, they may follow up in the future to see if the relationship has changed.

You can expect to be asked for information about the relationship at least once a year.

To learn more about the rules ODSP uses to decide if someone is your spouse, issues related to living separately from your spouse, and what can happen if ODSP thinks you are living with someone but you are not, see CLEO's booklet Do you live with someone who might be seen as your spouse? (PDF, 19 pages).