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  1. #1
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    Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    I applied for ODSP last December. I've suffered from social anxiety, BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) and depression for the last 5 years (which goes back to my teen years in high school) to the point where I've never worked a single part-time job due to the social interactions I've been scared of - nor have I been in school. My ODSP application was denied a couple months after submitting in December 2017, then denied again on 1 or 2 subsequent appeals. In May 2018, they got back to me with my final appeal date (a hearing by telephone) which they scheduled for this coming December 2018 - making it a full year of waiting since I first applied in December 2017.

    Over that time period, I struggled mightily financially due to the lack of income support via ODSP (Ontario Works just barely helped pay rent)and all I had left to pay for other basics like groceries was my credit card, to the point of maxxing it out at a few thousand dollars. I could only afford to eat super cheap unhealthy food that made me feel like crap. I hated it. I was so desperate and my only option at that point - despite still suffering from BDD and social anxiety - was to start applying for entry level jobs over the last couple of months.

    Well.. I ended up getting a job offer and the potential for making decent money is very difficult to pass up.

    I'm wondering... would my chances of being approved for ODSP be hurt since they may think I don't actually suffer from BDD and social anxiety if I'm willing to work a job?

    The only reason I'm going to attempt to work a job is out of pure desperation - not because I suddenly don't suffer from these things any more. At the very least, could the ODSP be approved for the last 12 months that I had to wait? And if I begin working the job I'm offered, it will surpass the amount I'm allowed to earn while on ODSP, however, I'm just worried that maybe 1 or 2 or 3 months in to my job, the social anxiety and BDD may be too much for me to handle. I'm not sure how it will turn out for me.

  2. #2
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    A very limited U.S. perspective (where we have Social Security):

    You could easily be denied again anyway without any new documentation or a lawyer. (In the U.S., the lawyers are only paid if you win your case and only up to a certain percentage.)

    It is very difficult to establish disability unless there is extremely clear and precise documentation from a doctor (psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) that caters to what they are looking for, e.g. Mental Residual Functioning Capacity.
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

  3. #3
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    @Daniel is right. You need a diagnosis, and thorough documentation of limitations caused by those diagnoses (i.e., what you can and cannot do, even on a part time basis), from a physician or psychologist or both. Even that's not a guarantee.

    You also need to be able to show that you have at least tried to follow all medical or therapist treatment advice to try to overcome your conditions. If not, you'll be denied. For example, if you're anxious and depressed and have not been compliant with recommended medications, they will deny you for that.

    Looking at it from another perspective, there's no reason NOT to try the job offer. If you are able to do the work, you'll be farther ahead financially than you ever would be on ODSP. You'll also be a lot further ahead psychologically because you will have proven to yourself that you are not helpless to overcome those conditions. If you are not, that's evidence that you tried and further evidence of your disability.

  4. #4
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    Hi and welcome to the forum,

    A few questions arise from your post:

    Did/do you have a Doctor's report stating that you are unable to work?

    Did ODSP give you any explanation as to why they refused your application and subsequent appeals?

    From your comment stating 5 years going back to high school I'm guessing you're still quite young. Working would be a better option than being stuck in the gears of Ontario's social assistance programs, be it Ontario Works or ODSP. I think you'll have more potential to grow in a work environment than on social assistance. Take the job and try it. if it doesn't work for some reason, if your employer lets you go, ask if they would kindly help you by providing you with a detailed written letter explaining why you were ley go. Take the time to explain your situation and why you are asking for it. You'd be surprised how far some people are willing to go to help someone out. If you can't keep the job for personal reasons, or are having extreme difficulty like panic attacks etc, go see a doctor and explain what's happening. Then with his advice go you can decide where to do from there.


    Feel free to search the forum on any subject that relates to your personal issues and there's always someone ready to offer links of you are having trouble finding stuff.

  5. #5
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    Also, I have learned over the years (while on Social Security income), as my condition improved, I would rather be stressed about work than stressed about finances. The stress at work tends to fluctuate (good days and bad days) but financial stress for me can be constant.
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

  6. #6
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    Regarding the importance of getting a lawyer, at least historically:

    The SBT [Social Benefits Tribunal] appeals process is also far from accessible with complex rules and strict deadlines for submitting evidence. In order to prove that he/she is disabled, an appellant will likely need to produce additional medical reports and evidence, and, in many cases, will need to present sophisticated arguments to the Tribunal. Often, the DAU [Disability Adjudication Unit] is late with its submissions to the Tribunal, compounding the difficulties appellants face understanding and proving their case. It is a challenging system to navigate without assistance and, not surprisingly, in 2000/2001, unrepresented appellants were successful in less than 30% of decided appeals. Significantly, having representation at an SBT hearing appears to double an appellant’s chances of success. Almost 60% of decided appeals in 2000/2001 where the appellant was represented resulted in the original DAU decision being overturned.


    http://www.odspaction.ca/sites/odspa...albydesign.pdf
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

  7. #7
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    Thanks for the replies, advice and comments.

    I was aware of the option for a lawyer, although I did not know there were free options. I remember coming across this article which indicated that people like me would have to pay for a lawyer, something the writer suggests is unfair: Some Canadians with disabilities forced to hire lawyers by federal tribunal - The Globe and Mail - I don't recall any piece of information from ODSP or the Social Justice Tribunals that explicitly stated I could hire a lawyer free of charge, if that's indeed the case.

    As for why I was denied my first two appeals, they told me my impairement was "not continuous or recurrent". This being despite outlining very clearly in my initial application and appeal that I suffered from these mental impairments (depression, anxiety, BDD) since high school and nothing has changed whatsoever since then. The second point they cited was related to whether these impairments have had a direct impact on my ability to participate in the community and workplace. They imply they haven't affected me in this way. They claim this despite me not having the slightest bit of a social life (no friends) and not having a job whatsoever during this time period. These were things I had cited and detailed for them in my initial application and appeal.

    Anyways, I do believe that it can't hurt to try working. I've just been worried about what may happen if I can't keep up with the social interactions involved with the job and I don't have ODSP to fall back on to keep me stable financially (assuming the possibility my final appeal gets denied).

  8. #8
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    To find a free lawyer (I think there might be a minimal fee and only if you are approved) in your area search any of the following - Legal Aid Ontario / Neighbourhood Legal Services / Community Legal Clinics. Good-luck

  9. #9
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    If you have doctors documentations and statements saying you are unable to hold work and they are still denying you then can you not get legal aide to help you fight this Your psychiatrist should know what they are looking for to get this passed I do hope you get better news on the next appeal.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  10. #10
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    Re: Would I still qualify for ODSP under this scenario?

    Quote Originally Posted by STR View Post
    Anyways, I do believe that it can't hurt to try working. I've just been worried about what may happen if I can't keep up with the social interactions involved with the job and I don't have ODSP to fall back on to keep me stable financially (assuming the possibility my final appeal gets denied).
    Ironically the social interactions at work might seem gentle compared to dealing with ODSP and their bureaucracy BS.

    I hope you can find a good resolution to all this.

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