Many personal injury victims find themselves unable to work and support themselves following a serious accident. Sometimes, this results in an injured person applying for and receiving benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Program ("ODSP"). To learn if you are eligible for ODSP following a serious accident, contact the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services or visit their website here for more information.
While ODSP can provide financial assistance following an accident, you may be required to repay or reimburse ODSP out of the proceeds from your settlement or verdict following a lawsuit. That is, if you are successful in your claim for losses against another person, corporation, or insurance company, ODSP will expect reimbursement of the benefits paid to you.
An important exception for injury victims is that ODSP will not expect reimbursement from settlement or verdicts amounts that are received as damages or compensation for your pain and suffering. As such, if all or most of your award is for pain and suffering, you would not need to pay that amount back to ODSP. Also, you will not have to reimburse ODSP from any money awarded to you for expenses actually and reasonably incurred as a result of your injury. The exemption, however, will only apply if the recipient files an annual report document all income and expense transactions relating to the money for which the exemption is claimed.
Following a settlement of your claim, whether it is exempt or not, you or your lawyer will need to provide ODSP with specific settlement information. The Ministry will request to review a copy of the settlement documents, along with a breakdown of the heads of damages recovered by you, and the net settlement proceeds available to the ODSP recipient.
If you have been seriously injured in an accident you may consider applying for ODSP. Speak to your personal injury lawyer about ODSP and what your obligations will be for repayment at the time of the settlement. With the assistance of a lawyer, you may be eligible to shelter some or all of the money from reimbursement if it is awarded for pain and suffering or medical or other care costs.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada as well as offices in Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death.