We live in a great country. Although there might be some who may disagree, or offer some grumblings, Canada is without a doubt one of the best countries in the world, especially when it comes to taking care of those in need. That being said, there could still be a lot of improvements. One of the benefits our government provides for those with disabilities is something called a disability tax credit, or DTC for short. By the CRA’s own estimates, only about half the people who could qualify for the DTC actually have it. The reasons for this is quite obvious. In a simplified point form, here is the process for applying for the disability tax credit:
Find the disability tax credit application form
Go to a medical practitioner and have them sign off on the form
Fill in the personal portion of the form
Send the form to the appropriate location
Wait for approval, and receive your money
Although these steps seem simple, there are a few challenges one may run across. Based on our experience, let’s take a look at some of the potential problems people have faced in this process.
Difficulties are apparent in the very first step. Of all the people with disabilities we have talked to, we estimate that only about 30% have actually heard about the disability tax credit, much less applied, and much less approved for it. Even though the DTC is a great benefit, the problem is that people aren’t getting the information. The average person has no idea about this program because they never even knew to look for it.
Medical practitioners sometimes overstep their bounds. Doctors and other medical professionals are great at taking care of our physical and mental health. However, their realm of expertise is not in financial planning or tax advice. We have heard from our friends sometimes that they want to apply for the DTC, but heard from their doctor that they won’t qualify, and therefore the doctor will not sign off on the application. This is unacceptable, as it is not the doctor’s duty to decide whether or not someone qualifies for the disability tax credit. Their responsibility is to document honestly and truthfully the symptoms and conditions suffered by their patient. Whether these symptoms and conditions amount to a “disability” is not up to the doctor to decide.
Actually receiving the appropriate amount of tax credits, or money back. This can sometimes be an issue. The CRA is generally accurate with the assessed amount of credits. However, there have been cases where someone receives less than what they are entitled to. You’ll need to do some careful calculations to make sure you’re getting what you deserve.
Who should claim the DTC? There is some thought required as to who should actually receive the DTC, or more accurately speaking, there is both the DTC, and a caretaker tax credit. The problem is, you can’t claim both amounts, there is a max amount. To determine how to claim the DTC to get the best benefit for you and your family, there should be careful consideration here.
Getting help from professionals often cost money. There are organizations out there who specialize in helping people apply for the DTC. Unfortunately, upon a successful application, these organizations will charge based on how much money you get back, usually a percentage around 20%-30%. At It’s About You Financial, we want to help you, and be your advocate. We do not charge anything in doing so. We believe that whatever benefits you get, should be you keep. This is what we do for people, and how we help them. Let us be your strongest advocate, and help you navigate this process so you can have a more secure financial future.