In February 2011, ISAC appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario in a case challenging ODSP’s policy of attributing child support as income to adult children, even in cases where the adult children had no access to the child support payments.
Ms. Ansell is a young woman who applied for ODSP benefits in her own name while living with her mother. Her mother was receiving child support payments, which she used to ensure that her daughter had access to necessary disability-related services. She was denied ODSP benefits on the basis that the child support payments to her mother made her financially ineligible. Because the money came by way of child support, she was not allowed to take advantage of rules that allow parents to voluntarily give their children up to $6,000 in any 12 month period or to pay for disability-related expenses without deduction from the adult child’s ODSP entitlement. If her parents had been together, the very same payments would not have been included in her income and she would have been eligible for ODSP.
In April 2011, the Court of Appeal unanimously decided that child support payments should not be considered income to the child. The Court agreed with ISAC’s argument that ODSP’s policy was discriminatory towards the children of separated parents and made a number of important observations about the principles that should be applied in interpreting social assistance legislation.
ISAC co-counselled with the Algoma Community Legal Clinic in order to challenge this decision.
To read ISAC’s Factum, click here: Ansell - ISAC Factum - Ontario Court Of Appeal - 2011
To read our fact sheet on this issue, click here: Ansell - Child Support Payments To Parents Of Adults On ODSP - Fact Sheet - 2011