The Provincial Government is set to introduce a new social assistance debit card to replace welfare cheques.
The aim is to remove the “stigma” of collecting welfare cheques, while implementing a more practical and user friendly method of accessing and using social assistance payments.
While still in development, the plan is to introduce a single reloadable payment card program for ODSP and Ontario Works recipients who do not receive their social assistance payments through direct deposit to increase customer convenience for social assistance clients.
The cards will allow clients to access their social assistance funds through ATMs, in-branch, make point-of-sale purchases and bill payments.
Payments for eligible clients would be loaded electronically on their cards without having to visit a local office.
In Ontario, a single person on welfare receives $656 monthly; a single person with child, $941; and a couple with two children, $1,173. A single person on ODSP receives $1,098 monthly, a single person with one child, $1.515; and couple with two children, $1,791.
The reloadable cards are expected to decrease the reliance on expensive cheque-cashing services.
In the U.S. states have introduced laws preventing people from using their welfare debit cards to purchase items like cigarettes, guns or gambling. There will be no such restriction on the cards issues in Ontario.
- Welfare debit cards eliminate the “stigma” surrounding welfare cheques
- Provides more access to funds for users (ATMs, in-branch, point-of-sale purchases)
- Provides direct deposit without having to visit local branch