Disability Tax Credit

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What is the Disability Tax Credit?

The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities, or their supporting persons, reduce the amount of income tax they have to pay. An individual may claim the disability amount once they are eligible for the DTC. 

Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as the 

Disability Tax Credit eligibility 

You are eligible for the DTC only if

Some different ways to be eligible include

  • Being blind or significantly vision impaired (visual acuity in both eyes is 20/200 (6/60) or less, OR the greatest diameter of the field of vision in both eyes is 20 degrees or less)

  • Being markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living (speaking, hearing, walking, dressing, feeding, eliminating, or mental functions needed for everyday life)

  • Being significantly restricted in 2 or more of the basic activities of daily living (can include vision impairment)

  • Needing life-sustaining therapy

In addition, the person's impairment must 

  • Be prolonged, which means the impairment has lasted, or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months

  • Be present all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Try answering a few questions to see if you are eligible

Applying for the Disability Tax Credit

Step 1 Get Form T2201

  • The application form has 2 parts: Part A and Part B 

  • Part A must be completed by the person with the disability (or a legal representative)

  • Part B must be completed by the medical practitioner. Both parts of the form must be com

Step 2 Fill out Part A of Form T2201

  • Fill out only the sections of Part A that apply to you

  • In most cases, the CRA can, once eligibility is approved, adjust your tax return(s) for all applicable years to include the disability amount for yourself or your dependant under the age of 18

  • If you want the CRA to adjust your tax returns, tick the "Yes" box in Section 3 of Part A.

Step 3 Ask a medical practitioner to fill out and certify Part B of Form T2201The following medical practitioners can complete the corresponding sections:

  • Medical doctor: all sections

  • Nurse practitioner: all sections

  • Occupational therapist: walking, feeding, dressing, and the cumulative effect for these activities

  • Optometrist: vision

  • Audiologist: hearing

  • Physiotherapist: walking

  • Psychologist: performing the mental functions necessary for everyday life

  • Speech-language pathologist: speaking

Step 4 Send Form T2201

You can send the form at any time during the year. There are 2 ways you can send Form T2201, as well as any letter or document:

After sending your application

Step 1

Your application is received at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Step 2

The CRA will assess your application to determine if you are eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC) based on the information given by the medical practitioner. If you sent your Form T2201 with your tax return, the CRA will review your application before assessing your tax return. 

Step 3

The CRA will send you a notice of determination to inform you of the decision

Approved

  • The notice of determination will show which year(s) you are eligible for the DTC. Information about other programs that are dependent on eligibility for the DTC may also be included in the notice of determination.

  • When your eligibility is about to expire, we will notify you one year in advance as well as in the year it expires

  • You should tell us if your medical condition improves to the point that you no longer meet the criteria for the DTC

Denied

  • If you received a notice of determination stating that your DTC application was denied, the notice of determination will explain why. Check your copy of Form T2201 against the reason given. The decision will be based on the information given by the medical practitioner.

Appealing a denied application

If you disagree with the decision, you still have options

  • You can call the Canadian Revenue Agency to ask questions or to discuss your application: Within Canada call 1-800-959-8281, or 1-800-665-0354 if using a teletypewriter 

  • You can request a review of your application by contacting CRA in writing. Your request must include any relevant medical information that you have not already sent, such as new or updated medical reports, or a letter from a medical practitioner who is familiar with your situation.

  • You can send any relevant medical information that you have not already sent, such as medical reports or a letter from a medical practitioner who is familiar with your situation. The information you provide should describe how the impairment affects the activities of daily living.

  • You can file a formal objection to appeal the initial decision no later than 90 days after the Canada Revenue Agency mails the notice of determination.

Claiming your benefits once approved

The notice of determination provides instructions about which year(s) you can claim the disability amount on your tax return. You can claim the disability amount on your tax return once the person with the disability is eligible for the DTC.

If a person was eligible for the DTC for previous years but did not claim the disability amount when they sent their tax return, they can request adjustments for up to 10 years under the CRA's Taxpayer Relief Provision.To claim the disability amount for those prior years, you can ask for a reassessment. For more information, go to How to change my return.

See the following chart to know the maximum federal disability amounts and the maximum supplement for children with disabilities for prior years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Application

Q Where do I get the Disability Tax Credit application form?

A You can obtain a copy of the application form (known as T2201) here

Q Can I qualify if my condition has improved?

A If your disability was present continuously for a minimum of 12 months sometime in the last 10 years, then yes, you can still qualify for the Disability Tax Credit.

Q Can you receive the Disability Tax Credit if you have never worked?

A Yes, as long as you have a family member who supports you and pays their taxes, then you can claim the Disability Tax Credit on that family member's taxes.

Q Do I qualify if my condition is not present all the time?

A It depends on the severity of the effects. It would help to consult a medical practitioner when applying for the Disability Tax Credit.

Q Which disabilities qualify for DTC?

A Each case is different, and while there is no exact list of disabilities that qualify for disability tax credit, there are certain conditions that affect a person’s ability to perform daily functions. These include:

Arthritis, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, bipolar disorder, blindness, glaucoma, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, deafness, dementiaDown syndrome, dysgraphia, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and others.

Q Do I need to pay to have the forms filled out?

A Although you are responsible for any fees that the medical practitioner charges to fill out the form, you may be able to claim these fees as medical expenses on line 330 or line 331 of your tax return

Post-Application

Q Do I file taxes if I receive the Disability Tax Credit?

A Yes

Q How long does it take for my application to be processed by the CRA?

A Once the CRA receives your application, you can expect to wait 4 – 10 weeks to learn the outcome of your application

Q How is the Disability Tax Credit paid?

A The Disability Tax Credit is a tax deduction, which means the tax credit comes in the form of a reduced tax bill. If you become eligible to receive the tax credit, then the Revenue Service of Canada will calculate how much you are eligible to receive and subtract that amount from the money you would have paid in income taxes. You receive the money for the credit in your tax return.

Q Can I apply on behalf of my child or a family member?

A Yes for both

Not only can parents of children with disabilities apply for the Disability Tax Credit on behalf of their children, the Canadian government grants additional amounts for children under 18. This is called the Child Disability Credit, where families who care for a child with a qualifying disability, who is under the age of 18 at the time of approval, will receive a monthly tax-free payment.

In the family member case, if the person with the disability does not have sufficient income to qualify for the full amount, then you can receive the credits directly.

Q Should I wait until income tax time (spring) to claim this credit, since it is an income tax credit?

A If you were found eligible to receive the DTC for previous years, you don’t have to wait for “tax season” to request the reassessment

However, if you were approved and already received your retroactive refund, you should be claiming the Disability Tax Credits annually when preparing your taxes. If you neglect to claim the DTC while preparing your taxes, you will not receive the refund for that year as part of your tax refund.

Please note: if you are eligible and you neglect to claim the Disability Tax Credit refund when preparing your taxes, it doesn’t mean that the money is lost rather, you will now have to send a written request the CRA and ask them to reassess that specific year, which will take longer to process as compared to claiming the DTC when filing your taxes.

Q Can I re-apply for Disability Tax Credit if I was previously denied?

A Yes, you can. A person can re-apply for the DTC as many times as they want without penalty. Many people who apply for the first time are denied.

Q Can I claim this tax credit for previous years?

A Yes, for up to the last 10 years

Q Can I claim the Canadian Disability Tax Credit on behalf of my deceased family member?

A As a spouse, dependent, family member, caregiver or legal executor, you can make a claim in the name of a deceased person. The executor is the person listed on the last will and testament of the deceased person and carries out the instructions in the will.

BC Disability General Funding Page