Eligibility Criteria and Application Process

In order to access services and supports a person must be confirmed eligible. Once eligibility is confirmed, an application package is completed with a qualified assessor and the process to access services and supports begins.





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Step 1—Eligibility for Developmental Services and Supports 

When a person applies to the DSO for ministry-funded adult developmental services they need to be confirmed eligible. 

To be eligible, one must:

  1. live in Ontario,
  2. be 18 years of age or older (eligibility can be confirmed at age 16 and 17 but referrals cannot be made until age 18), and
  3. have a confirmed developmental disability.
    A confirmed developmental disability depends on these three things:

To confirm eligibility, the person must provide all of the following documentation:

  1. proof of Ontario residency (e.g. bank account statement, health card, ODSP statement, etc.),
  2. proof of age (e.g. valid passport, health card, etc.), and
  3. Psychological Assessment signed by registered psychologist or psychological associate. If you have obtained an assessment by a school, hospital, or another agency, you can provide it to the DSO.  If you do not have a psychological assessment, the DSO will review options with you. 

If DSO CER determines that the person is not eligible for adult developmental services, the person will be advised that they have a right to request a review of that decision. The person will be given information about how they can do this.

Step 2—Completing the Application Package

Once eligibility for service is confirmed, a DSO Assessor will complete the application package with the person and their families and/or caregivers. Applicants are encouraged to invite other respondents who know the person well, such as someone from the school, day program, etc.  A DSO Assessor will set up a time and location to complete the Application for Developmental Services and Supports which is a two-part process:

  1. The Application for Developmental Services and Supports (ADSS) collects general information including medical conditions, capabilities and background.  It also includes a section called “Getting to Know You” which gathers information about a person's likes and dislikes, as well as their dreams and future goals.
  2. Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) which gathers information about a person’s level of support in a variety of areas such as home living, community activities, life long learning, employment, social activities, protection and advocacy, as well as, medical and behavioural issues.

Applicants will receive a copy of the application package, along with an accompanying report.  This information helps to guide appropriate supports and planning. 

There is significant demand for the Application Package to be completed; waits can vary from 12-18 months. 

Step 3—Information Provision and Linkages to Services and Supports

Once the application process is completed, the DSO will assist in linking you to the appropriate services and supports based on your specific needs.  They will explain services that are funded by MCSS, as well as, resources in your community.  It is important to note that there are waitlists for many of the services such as residential, community participation supports and passport funding. 

When a person identifies a service/support they wish to receive, they are placed on the Registry. When a funded vacancy becomes available, information such as their Application Package is shared with the agency. The agency would then contact the person about the referral.

The DSO cannot provide a wait time for services. Access to a service depends on the supports available in a program, the needs of the person, and the urgency of each person's situation. It is not based on date of referral.

If people are in urgent need, the DSO will assist in linking individuals to the appropriate resources.

It is recommended that you update DSO upon any changes to your circumstances, including a change of address or change to a caregiver’s health.  Should your circumstances remain unchanged, we still recommend a general update once per year, at a minimum. 


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