Canadians citizens or permanent residents with a disability who receive financial and other benefits from the federal or provincial governments also has another perk beyond simple peace of mind – a disability tax benefit, resulting in lower taxes for themselves, their dependants, and their caregivers. At Disability Credit Consultants of Canada (DCC), we strive to make a difference in the lives of everyone of our clients, especially those disabled persons who cannot work, has limited income, and faces challenges making ends meet or fulfilling common, everyday chores.
In order to help clients receive the disability tax benefits they’re entitled to and maximize them to the fullest,
we pride ourselves on educating people on how the system works, what eligibility means, and how to apply for benefits through the appropriate channels. Part of that process is answering common questions, among them:
• How do you define “disabled?” The Canadian government describes a disability as a physical or mental impairment that is “severe” and “prolonged,” preventing someone from returning to work regularly, or is likely to be long term and could be life threatening. And in most cases, long term means 12 months or more.
• What sort of physical or other conditions meet eligibility requirements for a disability? Many of the clients we serve can enjoy a disability tax benefit if they have problems with hearing, vision, speaking, walking, feeding, bowel or bladder functions, or dressing or performing cognitive activities necessary on a daily basis.
• Are my benefits subject to taxes? This is a key question for most people, who initially believe their benefits are tax free. Sadly, that isn’t the case. Whatever financial assistance or other benefits are received from the federal or provincial governments are considered taxable income. But a disability tax benefit comes into play because it reduces the amount of your taxable income.
• What are the qualifications for the disability tax benefit? One of the first steps in the process to knowing whether you qualify for benefits is filing Form T2201, “Disability Tax Credit Certificate” with Canada Revenue Agency, which needs to be validated by a doctor. If you are in need of a physician to review this form, DCC has a list of participating doctors available to look the form over before it’s submitted.
• What sort of expenses may be covered under the disability tax credit? This credit includes expenses for the cost of education, childcare assistance, and reimbursement for medical expenses and working income tax benefit. Some credits are also given to spouse or common law partners, disabled dependents, caregivers, and minor children.
• Which expenses don’t apply to the disability tax credit? This is a key area for applicants to pay attention to, as there many expenses that are often claimed in error, some accidentally, some on purpose. These expenses include: Non-prescription birth control devices, athletic or fitness club fees, purely cosmetic surgical procedures which occurred after March 4, 2010, blood pressure monitors, health plan premiums, diaper services, health programs, over the counter medications, organic food, and personal safety response systems like Lifeline and Health Line Services.
But remember that many legitimate expenses can result in a disability tax benefit, like Braille note takers and printers, hearing or vision assistance devices, job coaching and note taking services, attendant care services, talking textbooks, voice recognition software, and tutoring services.
In discussing each client’s case and getting to know them personally, we also like to stress that you should never dismiss a disability or think it won’t qualify for a disability tax benefit.