COVID-19 Income Security

Income Security

If you are worried about paying a utility bill, contact your utility company for information about relief and other options. All utility companies that provide service in Durham Region have created COVID-19 assistance and flexibility programs to support residents.

Hydro and water disconnects are suspended until further notice.
· All eviction orders are suspended until further notice.
·  The personal income tax deadline has been extended to June 1st.

Community tax clinics are postponed at this time, but information will be posted at Durham.ca as it becomes available.

Ontario Health Card

The Federal government has assured seniors that OAS and GIS payments will not be interrupted.

The Ontario government has extended validation periods for Ontario Health Cards. Anyone with an expiring or expired health card will continue to have access to insured health services.

The Ontario government is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage and will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for any uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage

Service Canada

At this time, we will be closing in person Service Canada Centres.
Canadians will still be able to access their benefits. The best way to apply remains online at:
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

Employees at Service Canada sites will turn their attention to serving Canadians over the phone. Our Citizen Service Officers will be providing personalized service support for EI and pensions applications, in addition to the services provided over the phone by our call centres. This will allow more Canadians to get the support they need, while better protecting both them and our staff.

Service Ontario

To help ensure your safety and the safety of others, we urge Ontarians not to visit a ServiceOntario centre unless completely necessary.
Please consider:
•completing your transactions online (if available)
•staying home if you are sick

Please note that some ServiceOntario centres are operating with reduced hours, please check the times for your location.
As of June 10th, centres that are known to be open in Durham Region are at:
Whitby at 590 Rossland Road East. 905-665-4007
Oshawa at 333 King St. West from 9:00 to 1:00 pm 1-800-267-8097

Canada Emergency Response Benefit
(CERB)

The Federal Government has announced a new benefit to help people who have been impacted by COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

CERB is a new benefit which combines the two previously announced benefits:
-The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. All Canadians who have stopped working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, will be able to receive CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

CERB is a simpler and more accessible taxable benefit which will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those already on EI regular and sickness benefits will continue to receive those benefits and should not apply for CERB. If EI ends before October 3, 2020, they can apply for CERB once EI benefits end if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

If you have already applied for EI and your application is not yet processed, you do not need to reapply.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

EI-eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits. The dedicated phone lines for these inquiries related to EI and COVID-19 are 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free) or
teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742.

More complete information is at Durham.ca

Tax Filing

The personal income tax deadline has been extended to June 1.
Community tax clinics are postponed at this time, but information will be posted at Durham.ca as it becomes available.

Find information and resources about filing your own taxes from the Government of Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/incometax/personal-income-tax/doing-your-taxes.html

A direct link to a list of certified software options (many are free) is available here: canada.ca/netfile-software

More tax filing information will be provided as it is available

Ontario Works

Update July 29th*:

Effective August 4, 2020 our new “door side” hours will be 8:30-5pm Monday to Friday. To minimize contact, we are still encouraging clients to avoid going to an ODSP office unless asked to do so. Clients are encouraged to connect with their caseworker through email (if possible) at oshawa.odsp@ontario.ca

Updated May 22nd

All Income and Employment Support offices are currently closed to the public, which includes the Employment Resource Centre located in the Midtown Mall. Ontario Works clients can continue to contact their caseworker for supports as all staff are currently teleworking.

Ontario Works Clients will continue to receive their monthly payments via direct bank deposit, reloadable payment card or cheque. To apply for Ontario Works or Emergency Assistance through Ontario Works please call the application centre at 1-877-678-6333

Applications for Ontario Works financial assistance will continue online and through the Application Centre which is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm.

The telephone application will take approximately one hour to complete.
*Local calls: 905-428-8982
*Toll-free: 1-877-678-6333
*Bell Relay: 1-800-855-0511

Cheque pick up dates for Ontario Works clients with NO FIXED ADDRESS for September 2020 payments.

Cheques and reloadable payment cards for clients with No Fixed Address will be available for pick up the following dates and locations.
Clients without proper identification to have their cheques cashed by the bank will need to get them stamped by Ontario Works staff at time of cheque pickup.
Ajax Office: Monday August 31st, Tuesday September 1st between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Ajax Ontario Works office,140 Commercial Ave Ajax

Oshawa Office: Monday August 31st, Tuesday September 1st between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Oshawa Ontario Works office, C1A-200 John St., Oshawa

Whitby Office: Monday August 31st, Tuesday September 1st between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Regional Headquarters 605 Rossland Road E, Whitby – Garden Street entrance ONLY.
 Clients will be expected to present valid ID (Driver’s license,
passport, Birth Certificate, Ontario photo ID etc.)

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

Updated May 22nd

COVID-19 KEY INFORMATION Please find this information page here: Temporary Changes to ODSP. This information page can be printed/distributed as needed.

ODSP office hours are now 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday with reduced staff. Please be patient as we do our best to assist you, answer calls and respond to inquiries. For everyone’s health and well-being, please avoid going to an ODSP office unless asked to do so.

Phone will be answered 9am-4:45pm Clients are encouraged to connect with their caseworker through email (if possible) at oshawa.odsp@ontario.ca


Key information for clients

You will continue to receive your monthly ODSP payment. If you usually pick up payments from your ODSP office, you should contact the office for instructions. You do not need to drop off an income report in person. You may use the MyBenefits online service, mail, email, or call the office. Payments will not be suspended if the report is late.
Payments for Special Diet Allowance, Mandatory Special Necessities or other recurring benefits expiring will be extended and a new form is not required.
If you need a new benefit such as eyeglasses, repairs to a wheelchair, or other assistance, contact your ODSP office. If you can’t get in to see a healthcare practitioner, we will help you complete the relevant form.


Emergency benefit

ODSP clients who have additional expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak and who don’t receive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income (with some exceptions) are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person or $200 for a family until July 2020. Families with a youth under 18 receiving the CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving the CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. If you received this benefit in March or April and meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July. For new requests, please email ODSP.EmergencyBenefit@ontario.ca or call 1-888-444-2412 with your name, member ID and your additional expenses.

Applying for ODSP and medical reviews

The ministry is still processing ODSP applications. We can send the application package directly to an applicant’s healthcare practitioner to help avoid in-person visits. If you have an ODSP application package or medical review package that is due soon but you can’t submit it to the Disability Adjudication Unit by the deadline, we will accept late packages during the COVID-19 emergency period.
Please disregard any letters you may receive about the deadline for your ODSP application package, medical review package, or internal review request during this time.We will re-assess the situation at a later date and inform you of any changes.
Call the Disability Adjudication Unit at 1-888-256-6758 if you have any questions.


Appeals and reviews

If you disagree with a decision and want to ask for an internal review, the timeline for asking is suspended during the emergency period. If you disagree with a decision and want to appeal it, you can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) after seeking internal review. You must still request an internal review to appeal.
For questions about an SBT appeal, contact the SBT at 1-800-753-3895 (toll free), 1-800-855-0511 (TTY), or visit sjto.gov.on.ca/sbt


Treatment of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

For all ODSP applicants and recipients, CERB payments are treated like employment income. The first $200, and 50 per cent of each additional dollar received, is exempt.
If you are receiving the CERB, you should report this income. You can do this using phone, fax, mail, secure email or the general ODSP office email address.
If you become financially ineligible for OSDP income support while receiving the CERB, you will not lose access to health benefits. You will remain on social assistance, at a nominal amount, to ensure continued access to benefits and case management supports.
Please do not contact ODSP to apply for the CERB. For information on
eligibility for CERB or to apply visit: Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Additional resources

Receiving payments by cheque? Consider switching to direct bank
deposit (DBD) payment or a reloadable payment card (RPC). Contact
your ODSP office to ask about this.

Want to know more about your ODSP payment or benefits? Visit
Ontario.ca/mybenefits or use the Interactive Voice Response
(IVR) system
. Contact your ODSP office for help getting set up. • Want more information about the provincial response to COVID-19?
Visit Ontario.ca/covid19

ODSP EMERGENCY BENEFIT REQUEST

Local offices are to process their own requests by completing the Emergency Benefit Request form and forwarding daily for processing.
Clients are still to contact there local ODSP office directly to apply for the
ODSP Emergency Benefit. Clients can request this by leaving a voice mail at 905-440-1030 ext 1031 or calling their caseworker directly.