CRA Child Disability Benefit (How To)

As a way of paying it forward for all the help the Blunt Bean Counter (BBC) gave me for setting up my son’s Disability Tax Credit for School Fees, I think the best place to start is a quick How To (or more of a How I, not sure your situation will work exactly like mine) setting up a Child Disability Benefit with the CRA. This is the first important financial thing you must do if you have a disabled child. I will attempt to point to all the relevant parts of the CRA web site, but remember, you can call the CRA (OK February may not be the best time to call, but call anyhow) and ask for clarification or help on how to do this.

Fathers Day

Me and My Son Discussing important Thomas the Tank Engine Issues (all those years ago)

First thing is, if you have a child with a disability, you must take advantage of all the help you can from the Government (at all levels) and all the programs you can get.  We were quite lucky when our son was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum that  the Psychologist at OCTC (Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre)  at CHEO (The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) filled out all our CRA forms for us (they even provided them).  We also were assigned  a social worker to speak to us and she had an entire list of things for us to do, now that we had an actual diagnosis about Rhys (our son).

At the time I was having a very hard time coming to grips with the diagnosis, and giving my brain something tangible to do, helped me move forward to help our son. One day Mrs. C8j may write her perspectives on this, but for me just having a list of things to do made it easier to cope (in some ways).

So to sum up, the first thing for this Disability Benefits, you must get a diagnosis from an accredited professional (for that disability).

I will quote the CRA web site on this just for clarity sake:

Not all children with disabilities are eligible for the disability amount. To be eligible a child must have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. An impairment is prolonged if it has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months

In a great many cases, a child’s disability is obvious, and there should be no issue with getting this disability benefit, however, in the case of the Autism Spectrum and other developmental disabilities, whether you get this benefit relies heavily on the documentation supplied by the diagnosing professional. The CRA can refuse your request for the Child Disability Benefit if your documentation is not to their liking, so make sure the diagnosing professional has filled in the forms before (and knows what needs to be said in the documentation).

Second you need to get the professional to fill in a T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate  for your child. If your Doctor or other professional says, “I have never done this before” or “I don’t have very good luck with these”, I would strongly suggest you find a Doctor or Hospital that does have experience with this (CHEO in Ottawa, Sick Kids in Toronto, The Children’s Hospital in Montreal as a few examples). These folks know the correct phraseology needed to help you out. Nothing can be more frustrating than not getting benefits you deserve because of the writing shortcomings on a form.

Attempting to claim the Disability Benefit without a T2201 will fail, it must be filled in first! The Psychologist at OCTC knew the correct terms to use for our form, so our claim was accepted, for 10 years, however when Rhys turns 15 we will have to reapply for the Disability Benefit, to remain Disabled (in the eyes of the CRA). (Update: OK, so it was actually at age 10 that we had to reapply).

After you have the T2201, you can now start applying for the Child Disability Benefits, by filling out RC66 – Canada Child Benefits Application Form. The form is relatively straight forward to fill in, and wasn’t hard for my wife and myself, but there was an added wrinkle suggested by the OCTC Social Worker.

Since our son was being diagnosed at age 3, we also applied to have the diagnosis and thus the benefit retroactive to my son’s birth. This means we actually applied to get the benefit ongoing, but also for the previous 3 years of my son’s life. OCTC gave us a template letter to fill in asking for this, to be included with the T2201, and RC66 application forms (remember to send ORIGINALS, the CRA will ignore photocopied T2201 forms, as they state on their site, this is important).

The letter we included was quite simple, and if I can find the example, I will make it available on this site, however, it was a simple statement of my son’s birth date, the fact that his diagnosis of Autism is a neurological disorder and that it was present as of birth.

Once you have finally compiled all of this information, you then can mail it into the CRA for their approval. As I stated, there are no guarantees here, but as long as you have followed all of the steps and have a well written set of documents you should be OK (in our case the diagnosis was accepted, but I have heard of other cases where the diagnosis was not accepted).

Hope this helps those parents with disabled kids, if you think there is a mistake here or a step I have missed, please comment (I am not saying this is an exhaustive set of steps, just what we went through with our son).

If your diagnosis is accepted the next step is to start looking for Medical and Disability related Tax implications, and asking the CRA for refunds, and you can read about that in Child Disability Benefit Application Letter (Template).

Remember also that if your child is diagnosed, and they are in need of special schooling, you can also apply for the Education Costs to be treated as a Medical Expense, and here is a Template Letter to apply for that as well.



{ 164 comments… add one }
  • Dre September 27, 2016, 11:42 PM

    My son has been diagnosed with ASD few weeks now. I already filled up part A of the form T2201. Question is, who’s going to fill up part B? Is it the psychiatrist who diagnosed my son with ASD? Or my son’s pediatrician? BTW i can’t get a hold of the psychiatrist for sometime now. Never returns my call. Please help. Thanks.

    • bigcajunman September 28, 2016, 10:02 AM

      Either can fill it in, however, since the Psychiatrist made the diagnosis, I would assume they should fill in Part B. If the Psychiatrist is not returning your calls, maybe it is time to drop by their office? Bring the forms with you.

      The pediatrician can write a supporting letter (if they agree with the diagnosis), and it never hurts to have supporting documentation, but the diagnosing physician really should be the T2201 author.

  • Jennifer Forster June 8, 2016, 1:01 PM

    Thank you for all the wonderful information. Our 4 year old son was diagnosed recently as well. I am wondering where I would obtain the template letter for the retroactive pay for the benefit?? Thank you for your time!

  • Mindee February 1, 2016, 12:13 AM

    Very helpful! Currently getting the forms together for my children. Didn’t know about this benefit. Daughter (14) reading/writing/math etc gr1-2 level. Severe dyslexia and social and learning disability. At this point it’s doubtful she will be able to live alone. Son (15) has severe anxiety and diagnosed by psychologist with “mild intellectual disability” After reading these, I am second guessing getting my GP to fill out the forms. I am fortunate to have private insurance that can cover seeing a psychologist. Should I get a referral to have them assessed? And have the psychologist do the forms? It’s been school board testing and psychologists to this point. I don’t want to have to reapply and do it over and over.

    • bigcajunman February 1, 2016, 5:19 AM

      The referral will help it be covered by your insurance so yes, get the referral. Psychologist can do the forms, my opinion is to not trust the board psych folks (they work for the board, not for you). Get your own Medical team for support and such (especially if you have private insurance).

  • Cindy Loo October 13, 2015, 1:14 PM

    I have a friend who’s young son was just diagnosed,.. they were saying its very expensive for his weekly sessions. They live in Ontario, can be a few thousand a month to help their child. Question – does anyone know if Manitoba or another province, is a lot better at helping parents with the financial aspects of having an autistic child?

  • Cheri Rauser September 25, 2015, 5:35 PM

    My daughter is 19 and has autism. We have spent the last 2 years going through establishing her right to BC provincial supports and services and then university accommodations. She is in an academic program and received her high school diploma, but is yes indeed, autistic.

    Essentially each agency asks for a different version of the same information and in some cases autism has been excluded as a supportable diagnosis – the BC Ministry of Advanced Education has delisted that diagnosis as supportable and are looking to the new DSM guidelines. We had to essentially have her rediagnosed as having DCD in order to get the supports – but that diagnosis is now no longer implicit in the autism diagnosis – at least according to the new DSM guidelines

    Her CRA certificate ran out the year she turned 19 so the next step is having that redone. The Form has changed and it seems that the way disability is now seen by our federal authorities is unless you are deaf, blind or physically challenged in walking then you are hooped. Its not enough to require supports to live independently or to be social or to function in the world, unless there is a measurable physical limitation that accompanies that difference. Talk about a narrow view of the world and great way to deny people their benefits. Now I know why they only gave us until she was 19 on the first certificate. Not because they expected her to change but because they moved the goal posts.

    I’m trying to figure out how to have her qualify for something she deserves when the forms appear to be stacked against someone who is simply autistic. Any direction would be greatly appreciated. Our doctor is very experienced with these forms but even he can’t keep up with the changes to who people are measured for benefits.

  • KK September 14, 2015, 3:49 PM

    I just applied for the disability tax credit for my son. He’s 10 and has ASD, ADHD, and motor tics…. and we were denied! I’m very discouraged :(. My family doctor, who was unwilling to even look at ASD for quite a few years, even with constant persistence on my part, the school, and various daycares, filled our forms out as this is what the psychologist said we needed to do. I don’t know what to do now… any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    • bigcajunman September 14, 2015, 5:14 PM

      Find another doctor? Find a psychologist that will do the forms ? Does the schoolboard know of any doctors? I would keep looking for someone who knows how the system works, and seems more interested in things?

    • topazmelis September 14, 2015, 10:14 PM

      Don’t give up! We applied 3x before finally being accepted. Good luck!

      • bigcajunman September 15, 2015, 5:20 AM

        Good to hear! Yes, don’t give up.


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