Formerly known as welfare, the Ontario Works program offers monthly financial assistance for Ontario residents in need. The amount of an individual’s monthly benefit depends on a number of factors, including income, family size, assets and current housing situation. As of 2011, a family of four can receive up to $443 per month for basic needs and $681 for shelter. The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) determines Ontario Works benefit rates and administers the Ontario Works program. Eligible Ontario Works recipients can have their benefits payments directly deposited into their bank accounts or receive payments by check.
Gather your necessary personal and financial information. You should have information on hand regarding your financial, family and housing situations before you contact your Ontario Works office. This information includes your and your family’s social insurance numbers, salary information, mortgage or rental information, asset information and any information regarding any debts or other income.
Call your Ontario Works office. During this phone call, an Ontario Works agent will ask you questions regarding your financial and family situations to determine if you are eligible for Ontario Works benefits. If the agent believes you are eligible, she will give you an appointment time at your Ontario Works office and give you information on what you need to bring to your application interview. Find contact information for Ontario Works offices on the MCSS website (see Resources).
Go for your application interview. You must go to your Ontario Works office in person to apply for Ontario Works. The Ontario Works agent from your initial phone call will give you information regarding what documents you need to bring to your interview, but expect to have to bring bank account statements, your mortgage or rental information, your recent pay stubs and government-issued identification. You can find a full list of required documentation and information on the MCSS website (see Resources). Residents of Algoma, Halton, London, Niagara or Ottawa can, if they wish, apply online through the MCSS website (see Resources) rather than attend in-person interviews. If your application is approved, the MCSS will begin granting you Ontario Works benefits.