On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
July 2024
Benefits go up for Ontario's seniors and people with disabilities
Over the next few months, seniors and people with disabilities will see increases to some benefits. And more seniors will be able to get certain benefits because the rules about who can qualify have changed.
ODSP rates
In 2023, the Ontario government agreed to raise Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates every July to keep up with inflation. This July 1, ODSP rates went up by 4.5%.
The basic ODSP rate for a single person who gets the highest amount of shelter allowance is now $1,368 a month. This is up from $1,308. People will see this increase in their payment on July 31, 2024.
The 4.5% raise applies only to the core amounts like:
The 4.5% increase does not apply to several other ODSP benefits that people often get. These include the Remote Communities Allowance, Special Diet Allowance, and the Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Nutritional Allowance.
Webinar on ODSP appeals

If someone's ODSP application is denied, they can appeal.

CLEO Connect has a webinar recording that explains ODSP appeals. Experts talk about why some people are denied ODSP and give tips on how to support someone through the appeal process. They focus on appealing decisions where the person did not qualify as a person with a disability.

Changes to GAINS
The Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) is a program run by the Government of Ontario for seniors living on a low income. People who qualify get a payment each month, along with their payments from Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Support (GIS).
On July 1, 2024, the most a single senior can get went up from $83 to $87 a month. For couples, the amount went up from $166 to $174 a month.
The government will now adjust the GAINS benefit every year in July to keep up with inflation. The benefit amount will not go down, even if inflation goes down.
Who can get GAINS
People can now have a higher yearly income and still qualify for GAINS. This change is expected to let 100,000 more seniors qualify for payments.
Single seniors who make $4,176 in a year can now qualify, up from $1,992.
Senior couples can now make $8,352 in a year, up from $3,984.
Yearly income is the total income a person gets, including most Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and private pension payments. There are some sources that do not count as income including:
To qualify for GAINS payments, a person must also:
  • be 65 years or older
  • have lived in Ontario for the past 12 months or for a total of 20 years since turning age 18
  • have been a Canadian resident for 10 years or more
  • get the OAS pension and GIS payments
Applying for GAINS
Seniors do not have to apply for GAINS. The Ontario government decides who qualifies based on information they already have.
This means that seniors need to make sure the government has the right information. For example, they need to make sure they:
  • are getting GIS, which some people must apply for, and
  • have sent in their income tax returns, even if they have no income. The tax returns show the government who has the income to qualify.
If someone thinks they should be getting GAINS but they’re not, they can call the Ontario Ministry of Finance at 1-866-668-8297. For TTY, call 1-800-263-7776. They can also contact a community legal clinic for help.
More access to health benefits
Starting August 1, 2024, people can earn more money and qualify for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program and the Seniors Co-Payment Program.
Single seniors over 65 can make $25,000, up from $22,200. And couples can make $41,500, up from $37,100.
Help filling out tax returns
To get many government benefits, people must send in their income tax returns. For people who cannot afford to pay for help to do this, there are free tax clinics.
Community legal clinics may be able to refer people to local free tax clinics. And people can also contact 211 Ontario.
Steps to Justice logo
Related resources
Forward this email
Please forward this information to others who might be interested. Subscribe here for regular updates from CLEO. And if you are a community worker who supports clients, subscribe for CLEO Connect updates to learn about upcoming webinars.
Copyright © 2024 CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario).
Connect with CLEO / Contacter CLEO:
Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Instagram icon
Subscribe icon

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario)
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 506
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8