The past few weeks have been incredibly busy and I have never been more proud! I have been battling the Federal government over the Disability Tax Credit since the early 2000s. There have been victories and most recently there have been setbacks but we have come a long way!!
Let me give you a bit of history.
Back in 2002 or so, a lady named Shelley Tyler took the Canada Revenue Agency to court and won. She believed that her son was eligible for the Disability Tax Credit because they took an inordinate amount of time to feed him and keep him alive. Her son had type 1 diabetes.
Mrs. Tyler was kind and shared her experience with others. I used some of her work in preparing my own application. Others did as well.
More and more families were applying for the Disability Tax Credit. They were still being turned down, but even more were refusing to take no for an answer. They were taking their cases to Tax Court–and winning!
Families like the Chafes were winning the argument that insulin therapy was administered 24 hours a day when using an insulin pump. This led to a year of qualification for all pumpers.
(The irony of recent comments that the increased use of insulin pump therapy is why applications have been denied is not lost on me. )
Changes were happening. The diabetes community was roaring. We were a grassroots group. The Canadian Diabetes Association was only in the infancy of creating a dedicated Advocacy Office and JDRF was focused on funding research. That was okay because the diabetes community was powerful in its own right.
Together we rallied. We worked on court cases. Friends and family members contacted their MPs and demanded fairness. The diabetes community was represented at the Federal review of DTC fairness.
The result was a legislative change. Children with diabetes were now given the tax credit based on a certified diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Adults were also allowed the credit but their means test was a bit more strict.
Recently there seems to have been a change in how disability tax credit applications are handled for people with diabetes. We have discussed it before. One thing hasn’t changed however and that is the power of the diabetes community.
Thanks in part to the power of social media, the community voice is louder than ever and I couldn’t be more proud!
Diabetes Canada is sending well-spoken, knowledgeable individuals to meet with CRA and voice our concerns. JDRF has been delving into the issue for months as well. Together they are creating a powerful voice. Behind the scenes, there are many more grassroots groups working together. Everyone is pushing the same message. “Diabetes is a 24/7 job. People living with insulin dependent diabetes take more than 14 hours per week to perform life-sustaining therapy.”
The message is getting out there. This issue was all over the media. My Twitter feed has been blown up with articles and Tweets. I am proud! The diabetes community is coming together.
Some members have voiced their frustration. This should have been finished years ago. People living with diabetes have enough to deal with. Fighting their government for a credit that they obviously qualify should not be another stressor. They are right of course. I totally understand and get their pain.
I have been in this battle since the beginning. It’s been a long one but please don’t lose hope! This is not a war that is lost. It is a battle that will see victory.
The diabetes community is a powerful voice. Canadians with diabetes are coming together in record numbers. We are using that voice to let CRA and the Minister of Finance know that we are not prepared to back down.
Now is the time to keep the momentum going. Write your letters to your MPs. Answer the call when one of the diabetes organizations calls looking for your story. Our voice is strong. We have come a long way and together we will finally win the war.