The Disability Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit available to Canadians who meet a very strict criteria set out by the Canadian Revenue Agency. One of the criteria is that you must take over 14 hours per week to perform life-sustaining therapy. This is the section that many people living with diabetes qualify under. Before you apply there are a few things that you need to know.
Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you qualify.
Not everyone with diabetes will qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). The criteria states that children with Type 1 diabetes do qualify. Adults (anyone over 18 years of age) however, must show that they spend over 14 hours per week on their care.
Why do children get the DTC so easily?
The reason that children qualify for the Disability Tax Credit is because CRA feels that the time that they spend on their care AND the time that their parents spend on their care, together is equal to more than 14 hours per week. Adults do not require the help of others for the most part. Therefore must prove that they, themselves spend over 14 hours per week on therapy to keeping themselves alive.
Do I really spend 14 hours per week keeping myself alive?
That is a question that only you can answer. I will say that if you are intensively managing your diabetes, then more than likely, you do take an inordinate amount of time out of your day to manage your diabetes care.
A person who is not reliant on an external source of insulin to live does not have to be concerned about blood glucose readings, anticipated activity levels, impending illness, or fat contents of meals when planning their day to day activities. The average person does not have to draw up a syringe, put in an infusion set or calibrate a continuous glucose monitoring sensor. A person without diabetes does not have to keep track of their insulin requirements, blood glucose levels or activity levels in a journal.
These tasks, while commonplace for a person with diabetes, are all tasks that are recognized by CRA and count towards the 14 hour total required to be certified for the Disability Tax Credit as requiring life-sustaining therapy.
I hear that adults no longer qualify so why should I try?
Some adults are experiencing a harder time getting the tax credit. There can be many reasons for your application being denied. You may be including tasks that are not recognized by CRA as being an allowable part of therapy. Things like grocery shopping, doctors appointments and trips to the pharmacy are not allowed to be included in your total.
Another reason that adults are being turned down is because they are not providing details on their own specific care. Often people are turning to internet groups that have sample forms filled out. They then simply copy and paste the details that they have found. You should be using that information as a guide and filling out the application in your own words with your own specific care details. CRA is noticing a pattern of applications and is now beginning to question their authenticity.
What does that mean?
It means that you need to make your application your own. Spend one week detailing what you do each day. It will take you a lot of time to stop and write everything down. Time each task. Note how often you perform it. If you have trouble deciding what to document, our workbook might help you.
Take this week’s worth of information and then compare it to your online resources. Eliminate the tasks that CRA won’t approve. Add in the tasks that you did but forgot to add in your personal list. Now total your time spent. Most likely, you will find that you spend more than 14 hours per week on your care. This data can also be shared with your doctor at your appointment. It will help he/she understand who much time you do put into your care. This will further be of use if he/she if they receive a follow up letter from CRA asking for more details on your care.
Adults with insulin dependent diabetes who test regularly (6+ times per week), who inject insulin multiple times per day through injections or an insulin pump, and make their own adjustments to their insulin regimen should apply for the Disability Tax Credit. If you are turned down, you have the right to ask for your application to be approved by another CRA staff member. Sometimes the second review still does not turn out in your favour but don’t despair. At that point, you have the right to see all correspondence used in your file and begin a formal appeal process.
If you are unsure of how to fill in your application or you just want someone to review your totals, I can assist you. Email me , check out the Disability Tax Credit page or check out our helpful downloads.