What responsibilies do parents on social assistance have for Ontario Child Support?
Parents on social assistance who have custody of their children must make reasonable efforts to get support from the other parent. If they do not, they may receive less assistance, or none at all. If they do not already have a support agreement or order, they are expected to get one. They must give information about the other parent to a family support worker who can help them get a support agreement or order. They should get legal advice before signing any agreement worked out on their behalf.
They may not have to try to get support if the other parent:
- has a history of violence towards them or their child
- cannot be found (but they must give their worker any information they have that might help find the other parent),
- or is not working and cannot afford to pay support (if he or she starts working again, then support can be re-ordered).
The amount of any child support they receive is deducted from their social assistance. So, their total income does not change because of the child support.
Usually, the payments go directly to them, and that same amount is deducted from their monthly social assistance cheque. But if there is a history of non-payment, the child support payments can be assigned to Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Then they will get their whole social assistance cheque, even when the support payments are not paid.
Parents on social assistance who do not have custody are expected to pay child support to the extent that they can, as set out in the Child Support Guidelines. Currently, the Guidelines do not require support payments from parents whose income is less than about $6,700 a year.