Overpaid!?!? What about the Underpaid?

Millions wasted on welfare: Ontario auditor general

The recession hasn’t stopped Ontario government bureaucrats from playing fast and loose with taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars — particularly on social assistance to the poor, the provincial auditor general says in a new report released Monday.

Jim McCarter, Ontario's auditor general

Jim McCarter, Ontario's auditor general, says lack of oversight and due diligence means millions of dollars in overpayments are being made to welfare and disability recipients. He tabled his annual report Dec. 7, 2009.

Despite lessons learned from the eHealth and Ontario Lottery Corporation expense scandals earlier this year, examples abound of public money being carelessly spent on welfare overpayments, disability support and assistive devices for people with disabilities.

Read the Full Article from the Toronto Star

I guess the main issue that really stuck up to me was the mention about overpaying as far as the Ontario Disability Support Program and other social assistance related issues.

The basic income granted for someone on with a physical disability is about $796.00 a month (give or take a few cents).  That is all a person has to live on every month for a year.  With that $796.00, the person is presumably supposed to:

1. Pay rent, Hyrdo, and other household expenses (like: Phone/Cable/Internet)

2. Pay for Food for the month

3. Pay for transportation for the month.

When all is said and done, the person is lucky if they have $50-$100 for other things such as recreation.  Now, I know what you may be thinking, “Well, if they can cover the essentials, isn’t that good enough?”  Ordinarily, I’d say yes.  But imagine living on your own and not being able to do anything!  MAYBE you can save $200.00, but that’s only after two or three months of doing NOTHING, spending NOTHING.  You stay in your home, because you can’t really afford to do anything else.

You can work and be eligible for ODSP benefits.

Here’s how it works:

Say you have a job where you make $1000 a month (lets forget taxes for now).  What they do is take half of that $1000 and give you the rest plus $100.00.  So instead of working, assuming you can, and making $1000.00, you can work and make $600.00 versus not working and making under $800.00.  One doesn’t really look much better, but I bet you’d take the $800.00, right?  The current system doesn’t allow much room for growth.

The questions I want answered are:

  • When the very basic payout for ODSP is just over $9,000 over one year, what is the excuse for over 1 BILIION DOLLARS being OVERPAID to ODSP recipients?
  • Where is the money going?
  • Where is the oversight?
  • How many people receiving ODSP actually should be?
  • Is everyone on ODSP actually disabled?
  • Is everyone on ODSP a Canadian?
  • With all these restrictions on people receiving ODSP, why the overpaying?

The people who are just getting by, they aren’t being overpaid, that’s for sure.  I know this because I am one of them.  I also know that thousands of people cheat the system, because they aren’t called on it.  Maybe if they were, we in Ontario would see better numbers, and have people on ODSP actually living their lives instead of just making it through.


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