The eligibility rules for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits do not require a person to undergo specific medical tests, treatments or referrals. Instead, decision-makers must look at how a person’s health problems impact them overall. In doing so they are supposed to rely on the information given by the person and by the health care providers treating them.
The Income Security Advocacy Centre and the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario are working together to assist a person who was denied disability benefits because he was not getting enough medical treatment or tests. We are arguing that it is his health care providers (and not ODSP or the Social Benefits Tribunal) that are most qualified to make treatment decisions. We are also arguing that the Tribunal failed to consider his personal situation. By only focusing on what treatment he was not getting the Tribunal ignored his actual health problems. It also didn’t consider the personal reasons he couldn’t get some kinds of treatment, such as financial cost and the fact that some treatments did not work for him in the past.
Another problem was that the Tribunal rejected what the person said at his appeal hearing even though he was consistent with the information given by his doctors. The Tribunal said that because his hearing was three years after he submitted his ODSP application, too much time had passed for his statements to be reliable. We are arguing that this was unfair, especially since none of the delay in scheduling his appeal hearing was his fault.
A court hearing has been scheduled for fall 2019.
To read our legal arguments go here.