Community Legal Education Ontario discusses changes to forms, suggests tips for applications
Ontario has updated the forms in the Disability Determination Package (DDP) as of last August, but the disability adjudication process and the legal test that determines whether someone is eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) have not changed.
According to an issue of On the Radar of the Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), the DDP consists of four forms – A healthcare professional fills up the health status report, which describes the applicant’s disability, and the activities of daily living index, which explains how the disability impacts the applicant’s activities. One health professional can complete both the health status report, and the activities of daily living sections, or two different health professionals can fill them up separately, with each signed and dated by the health professional who completed it.
An applicant then completes the self-report, which describes their disability and how it impacts them, and the consent to the release of medical and related information grants permission to the health professional to share information with ODSP. Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services will decide whether the applicant has a disability for the purposes of ODSP.
CLEO explained the changes to the revised DPP forms. The new forms completed by health professionals use updated scales for rating an applicant’s intellectual and emotional wellness and the impact of the disability on their daily activities. The updated forms also seek certain mental health information, including addictions, neurodevelopmental disorders like autism or cerebral palsy, and cognitive impairments like difficulty making decisions and difficulty understanding or remembering information.
There is now space for health professionals to attach supporting information such as additional health reports and to provide comments and an updated section for information on treatment received by the applicant. As for the self-report form, an applicant now has additional space to describe how their disability impacts their life.
CLEO suggests that an applicant is more likely to be approved if their health professional chooses ratings of “moderate” (2) or “severe” (3) in the updated forms, given that in the old forms, it was rare for ODSP to determine that an applicant was eligible except if they had such ratings.
An applicant will qualify for ODSP income support and benefits if they are a person with a disability who has a substantial physical or mental impairment which is continuous or recurrent, which is expected to last one year or more and which directly results in a significant restriction in one or more of their daily living activities, said information from the Ontario government’s website. The applicant should also be verified by an approved health professional.