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Overwhelmed and receiving little support?  Have you considered applying for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC)?

Finances, Health
5 min read

As parents, it is our innate nature to do all we can to support and nurture our children’s development.  There are so many stresses, hurdles, and concerns. Parents with children with disabilities or medical conditions have overwhelming pressure both emotionally and financially as they struggle to find support and put in place early interventions.

Getting access to testing, assessments, and therapies takes years to navigate and at every turn, the costs take your breath away.  Everything costs money, in the endless search for resources don’t overlook the Disability Tax Credit, it is a federal benefit that opens the doors to several monetary benefits.  

Most families’ budgets are stretched and recommended support services are often out of reach or delayed.  Accessing the DTC helps put money back into the family’s pocket, opening doors to making decisions that positively directly affect their children. Imagine being able to afford to skip the lengthy waitlist and get a child tested privately, actively look for a tutor, or occupational therapist, help them navigate these and set them up for their future.  Families need relief and validation!  The DTC is not necessarily a forever benefit, but a benefit that can help individuals right now is just as important.  The federal government has this benefit available for those who are approved.


Who should think about applying?

Any Canadian, young or old who has a disability or a medical condition that affects their daily life can apply.  Whether it is a physical disability or a mental disability, individuals who have difficulty with vision, hearing, speaking, walking, eliminating, feeding, dressing, and mental functions necessary for everyday life are all eligible in the eyes of the CRA. 

Navigating around the word disability is often the first hurdle and can be very difficult for many. Our language, and pre-existing biases around many struggles skew our perception of what most consider to be, a ‘disability’.  When we are thinking about children, we often don’t categorize struggles like dyslexia, ADHD, ODD, anxiety, or sensory processing under the term of disability, but the Disability Tax Credit encompasses everything that affects an individual’s everyday life when comparing them to their peers. 

How does your child compare to their peers?  Do they require extra parent or teacher support?  Does it take them longer to complete the same task as their peers?  Do they struggle with self-regulation? This is not only about highlighting what your child can’t do, this is about acknowledging the extra steps, time, or care your child requires to achieve the same things as their peers.


Is a diagnosis needed to apply?

No, a diagnosis is not necessarily needed to apply for the Disability Tax Credit. You don’t need to wait for an assessment or diagnosis before applying.  It is helpful, but the daily struggles are the same regardless of whether it is diagnosed. 

 What are the benefits of Applying for the Disability Tax Credit?

There are several very beneficial reasons to apply.  An approval grants you the ability to apply the DTC to your personal yearly income tax filing, therefore reducing the amount of income tax due.  It typically is approximately $1500-2000/year.  The unbelievable part is not only the credit for current and future years, but the opportunity to go back up to 10 years and receive those credits back as a lump sum refund!  

In addition, an approval opens the door to receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CDB).  The CDB is a tax-free monthly payment for approved children under the age of 18, this amount is added to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) that the family receives monthly.  This benefit can also go back retroactively for all applicable years, up to 10 years.  

Lastly, when approved for the DTC, you will be able to open a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).  This is an incredible option for those wanting to save for their loved ones, this is a long-term savings plan with generous matched contributions from the federal government by way of bonds and grants.


How do you apply?

Most individuals find the task of applying overwhelming.  Form T2201, is a whopping 16 pages, and it is generic for all disabilities.  When first reading through it most individuals and doctors assume you must be severely disabled, and that you must qualify in several areas to get approval, this is simply not true. 

Many doctors have not succeeded with the application and, therefore often do not suggest applying. If you google DTC assistance, you will find many companies that provide support across the country. Taking steps to apply for this program is worth the effort and will help to alleviate some of the financial challenges you face raising a child with a disability. 

T.J. Firenze is a BC mother of 3 teenagers.  She has successfully supported Canadians since 2017 in applying for the Disability Tax Credit.  Her passion project of DTC Advocates (dtcadvocates.ca) is a generous giveback and there are no fees for the service she provides, the priority is to get money back into Canadian’s pockets.

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