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Disability Tax Credit Crash Course

It can be challenging to know what tax benefits are out there – but we’re here to help

If you are someone with a disability, or you support someone who does, there are a number of ways to alleviate some of the financial pressure you might be under.

The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps people with impairments, or their supporting family member, reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. You may apply for the credit if you have a severe and prolonged impairment. If you are approved, you may claim the credit at tax time.

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible for the DTC if a medical practitioner certifies that you have a severe and prolonged impairment in 1 of the categories, significant limitations in 2 or more categories, or receive therapy to support a vital function.

The categories are: Walking, mental functions, dressing, feeding, eliminating (bowel or bladder functions), hearing, speaking, vision, and life-sustaining therapy.

How to apply

Applying for the DTC involves the person who has the impairment and a medical practitioner who can certify the effects of the impairment. Impairments require particular medical practitioners, so make sure you speak with the right specialist.

Medical doctor – All impairments
Nurse practitioner – All impairments
Optometrist – Vision
Audiologist – Hearing
Occupational therapist – Walking, feeding, dressing
Physiotherapist – Walking
Psychologist – Mental functions
Speech-language pathologist – Speaking

The medical practitioner fees are your responsibility to pay; however, you may be able to claim it as a medical expense on your tax return.

Review and decision

After the CRA receives your application for the DTC, they assess it to determine if you are eligible. They base their decision on the information given by the medical practitioner.
The CRA aims to process your application and mail you a notice of determination within 8 weeks of receiving it. It may take longer if information is missing. If you send your application with your tax return, the CRA will review your application before assessing your income tax return.
Check CRA processing times

If your DTC application is denied, your notice of determination will explain why. Check your copy of your application, Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, against the reason(s) given. They base their decision on the information given by the medical practitioner.

If you wish to contest their decision, you have options:
Call to discuss – Contact the CRA

Request a review or submit new documentation – Sign in to CRA My Account and select “Submit documents”.

File an objection – You can file an income tax objection within 90 days of getting your notice of determination.

Additional tax benefits

The DTC is important if you or someone you support need some relief. But there are some other ways of reducing your tax burden as well; things like the refundable medical expense supplement, or the disability supports deduction. You can find info on accessing these benefits and more by going here:
Additional tax credits and deductions – Government of Canada

Medical expenses you can claim

Child disability benefit