Can I get the DTC if I am an adult insulin pumper?

insulin pumps and the DTC

For a number of months, there has been concern about a video posted on the CRA website.  It suggested that using an insulin pump did not allow a person to be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.

Many people have written letters to their MP as well as CRA.  Diabetes Canada has also made the issue of easier qualifications for adults with Type 1 diabetes a priority for the upcoming federal election.  What does this really mean to people living with diabetes, however?  Do they no longer qualify for the DTC if they are using an insulin pump?

A member of staff received the following response from CRA….

In receiving a qualifying therapy, the person must dedicate time to the process. This means taking time away from his or her normal everyday activities to receive the therapy. For portable devices, such as an insulin pump or implanted devices like a pacemaker, the time the device takes to deliver the therapy does not count toward the 14‑hour requirement. Activities like following dietary restriction, exercising, travelling to receive therapy, attending medical appointments, shopping for medication, or recuperating after therapy also do not count toward the 14-hour requirement.

Early on in the fight for fairness regarding the Disability Tax Credit, people living with type 1 diabetes, successfully argued that a person using an insulin pump was actually injecting insulin 24/7.  This meant that they easily spent more than 14 hours per week on life-sustaining therapy.

It is not surprising that CRA quickly made an amendment to their policy. They no longer consider the time a machine/device requires to deliver therapy as part of the 14 hour therapy total.

This does not mean that people who use insulin pumps no longer qualify for the DTC. It means that the time the pump spends delivering insulin does not count towards time spent on therapy. The amount of time dedicated to diabetes-related tasks such as bg testing, ketone monitoring, logging, making dosing adjustments, as well as site changes and pump maintenance is still used in the 14 hour calculation of therapy.  The video posted online and the CRA website, unfortunately does not clarify this.  That can be problematic.

Doctors who rely on the CRA website to guide them on what is considered therapy when dealing with Type 1 diabetes may be led to think that insulin pumpers in general do not qualify for the DTC.  Even those living with Type 1 diabetes may wrongly think that they no longer meet the qualifications.

Here are a few key points to remember…

  • Being an adult with Type 1 diabetes does not automatically qualify someone for the the DTC.  Being a child under 18 with Type 1 diabetes does.
  • Using an insulin pump does not automatically qualify you for the DTC–neither does using multiple daily injection therapy.

The key to qualification is to intensively manage your diabetes care. This means that you spend over 14 hours per week on such things as testing your bg levels, monitoring for ketones, changing infusion sites, injecting insulin, logging daily diabetes related activities, and other diabetes related tasks that a person without diabetes does not have to do to maintain life.  Tasks such as carb counting does not count towards therapy nor does the amount time spent recovering from a low blood glucose level but many other tasks do and can quickly add up to spending over 14 hours per week on life sustaining therapy. fairness report