Disability Tax Credit: Please Do It Yourself

Preface: I am writing this in a careful way, since the firms I am NOT mentioning by name seem quite litigious in nature (i.e. they like suing folks). I am very UNHAPPY to read about these “services”. The firms claim to help get their clients their Disability Tax Credit, but for ludicrous fees. There is an ACT in place Bill C-462 : Protecting Disabled Canadians or a Paper Tiger ? but is inactive. 

I have written about how to get the Disability Tax Credit from the CRA and the steps I have to take to receive them for my son. My apologies if I  portrayed the process as being extremely hard. I fear I have inadvertently also brought into play a whole new Service Provider, that of the “Disability Tax Credit Adviser”.

These Advisory firms offer their services,  to help the disabled (or parents of disabled folks) get their Disability Tax Credits from the CRA. While these firms seem to want to help the disabled get the tax breaks that they deserve, they do it for a very steep price.

Most of these services will not charge a “client” anything up front, and they will either help your Doctor fill in the forms, or better still they will supply their own “Doctor” for a diagnosis. This again sounds fair, in that some Doctors may not know the correct verbiage to use, however, this still must be the professional’s opinion (as they are the one who signs the form).

Disability Tax Credit Services are usually very bad

The Official BCM Seal of Disapproval.

How much does the Disability Tax Credit Service company make ? I have a few samples from a few of the sites I am aware of:

  • “…our fee is 20% of the amount you receive…”
  • Others can charge up to 30% “of the amount you receive”

This (in my opinion) is a ridiculously high fee for a service that should be done by you (or by an accountant). If you go to the Testimonial sections of many of these sites, you will see that folks can receive large settlements from the CRA, (upwards of $10,000) thus giving these firms 20% of this settlement.

I hope that folks who are “at wit’s end” do not turn to one of these firms, when they could do it themselves, or maybe they should contact an Accountant (or Tax expert) to try to get their Tax Credits.

There are allegations that the “commission” charged, by some of these firms, is not just on Disability Tax Credit part of the tax refund, it is in fact 20-30% of ALL of the tax refund received by the “client”. There are stories of the CRA auditing the Disability Claims prepared by some of these firms, and  disallowing the claims (and asking for all settlement money be returned to the CRA (the credit, including any fees paid)).

I have been quite critical of the Pay Day Loan services, for  preying on desperate people. If the allegations that I have read are true (I include links to articles in the Star and the CBC for you to form your own opinions) these folks should have a special place in Hell for taking advantage of Disabled Folks (and their families), this way and let me be a little more clear:

I implore anyone seeking help to receive the Disability Tax Credit to not use any service that charges a “percentage of settlement” fee for their services.

Do it yourself!!! Or Find a service with a set flat fee!

Articles from newspapers about some “Disability Tax Credit Services” firms and the allegations levelled against them:

If there are folks who have used these services, please comment about your experience.

Editor’s Note

I noticed that many of these “Disability Tax Credit Service Companies” seem to come up in advertising on my site (especially those articles that talked about the RDSP or Disability Tax Credit), and these firms advertise themselves as an advocate for disabled Canadians. I have blocked their ads and as new firms come up, I will investigate (as best I can) and will block any that I feel charge a ridiculous service fee.

If there are other ads on this site you find offensive, feel free to leave a comment, I will investigate them and block them, if I agree with you.

 

{ 26 comments }

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Catti May 1, 2016, 11:21 AM

    I’m disabled with a mental health issue, unable to work since 2010. The problem with your “do it yourself” advice for the DTC is that we can’t “do it ourselves” because we need a DOCTOR to fill out Part B of the application. In my case I have asked three doctors (psychiatrists) and all three told me I had to be in a vegetative state to apply!

    Disabled people are getting screwed over because of physicians’ ignorance of the DTC criteria. The mentally ill suffer the most, because our disabilities are not visible, our symptoms are variable and many of us are unable to see that our behaviour is bizarre or detrimental, and because we frequently don’t have the ability to apply successfully on our own.

    Our so-called primary care physicians (again, psychiatrists) do nothing but fill out prescription pads, and they neither know nor care anything about our symptoms, so they are not qualified to fill out any forms on our behalf. Many times I’ve had applications for services turned down because my quack didn’t know the first thing about me or my symptoms and wrote nonsense on the form. So I’m one of those people who feels forced to go to a sleazy company to fill out my DTC application. At least I’ll have a chance of being approved that way, despite the cost. CRA has been re-re-re assessing a 5 year old return of mine in which I received a one time settlement from my ex employer. This year’s bill is $700. I received less than $10K last year. Something has to give…

    Reply
    • bigcajunman May 1, 2016, 2:37 PM

      Yes, you very much must have a Doctor sign your forms (my article was saying don’t use the Private Firms that then attempt to charge you for a service that should be essentially free) for a disability.

      In the case of children (and adults) on the spectrum is finding Doctors who know how to fill in the forms correctly.

      As for your psychiatrists’ commentary about needing to be in a vegetative state, that sounds, at best insensitive. My advice would be, find another psychiatrist or psychologist? (yes, easy for me to say, but if they are not doing you any good, time to find someone who will help).

      Your argument of getting something using the private firm as opposed to getting nothing trying to get it done yourself is concerning. The system needs to be looked at, if folks who need help must pay to get help (my opinion only).

      Reply
      • Catti November 18, 2016, 11:25 AM

        This is an update to my earlier comment. I did hire one of those DTC services that charged the lowest rate I could find (I think 15%). They filled out the form and attached a letter to my doctor with instructions to fill out his portion. The doctor took one glance at the form, and started shouting abuse at me for being a con artist and a fraud! That was my last appointment with that abusive quack. I tried a psychologist, a family doctor, another psychiatrist, and a doctor at a clinic I use. All refused to fill out the forms despite the letter etc. The consultant didn’t get any money, so now they’re calling me every couple of weeks asking me if I found a doctor who would fill out the forms yet.

        Doctors won’t fill out these forms for several reasons. First, they recognize the discrimination against the mentally ill which is inherent in the questions on these forms. The DTC forms are deliberately designed, and biased, to exclude the mentally ill. Secondly, they second guess CRA’s assessment of the form, refusing to sign because they “believe” that the form will be rejected. I try to tell them that even if it is rejected it won’t reflect on them, but that brings us to the third reason they won’t sign – CYA. They’re afraid of repercussions to themselves if they sign and the application is rejected.

        Another reason they won’t sign is ignorance about the form and application criteria. I had two doctors tell me that the applicant has to be in a vegetative state, and another told me the credit goes to the caregiver, and if the patient is well enough to apply on their own that means they’re “not disabled enough” to qualify. Trying to explain otherwise to them falls on arrogant, deaf ears.

        So this is what disabled people are up against when trying to claim what they should be entitled to. I get your point about the disability consultant firms, but if I can find one which has its own doctors on staff I’ll be signing in a heartbeat, no matter the cost. I need the money, and some of the credit is better than none at all. The benefits of receiving the DTC in years to come will eventually pay for the consultant fee.

        Reply
        • bigcajunman November 21, 2016, 8:52 AM

          So, my sources tell me the CRA look like they are doing Full Audits on folks using any of the Disability Tax Credit Helper companies and are looking at a few of the bigger Toronto firms in specific. As for your problems with the Doctors, it may be that they are aware of this “clampdown” and they are (as you pointed out) protecting their asses.

          I would tread very carefully using any of these firms and be aware of what you are signing. Yes sometimes something is better than nothing, but be very clear on the Something you are getting before signing anything.

          If you are in a large urban area (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, etc.,) see if you can find any Parents support groups in this area, they typically know of Doctors who can competently fill in the forms (and are not gun shy about doing it).

          I can only wish you luck, and please be careful, there are vultures out there

  • Joe April 22, 2016, 9:20 AM

    I’m trying to navigate this process on behalf of my in-laws. Father-in-law is permanently disabled, unable to work, and has no income. Mother-in-law has a temporary disability, but does have some income. Is there a point where their family income would be too low to warrant claiming the disability tax credit? Also, recent CBC article in your post today suggest tax credit form must be filled out before filing taxes? Is that true? Isn’t there an option to ask for an amendment/readjustment afterwards?

    Reply
    • bigcajunman April 22, 2016, 9:23 AM

      Yes, you must have agreement from the CRA before you attempt to claim the disability tax credit. Once the CRA has agreed, you can ask for a reassessment for when the disability began. As always, check with the CRA first if you are not sure about things, they can answer your questions (when you do call, either record the call or note the date, time of call and who you spoke to, just to be thorough).

      Reply
  • Anna Brake April 21, 2016, 8:20 AM

    I do income tax preparation for a living and I am after getting many disability tax credit claims filed and approved for the price of getting a tax return prepared. I don’t believe anyone has the right to money that is not theirs!! Why pay some one for your suffering!

    Reply
    • bigcajunman April 21, 2016, 9:35 AM

      That is good to hear, and I am glad you are helping folks that way! Good on you and a Gold Star! 🌟

      Reply
  • Daryl March 14, 2016, 4:23 PM

    Thank You for this article. I first heard of The Disabilty Tax Credit from a pop up ad..and I contacted the people and they told me they would help me to earn up to $15,000 but they would take %30 plus an extra $500 if I got money….also my doctor told me its a scam.
    I’m glad I didn’t fill the paper work the “agency” sent me.

    Reply
  • proudcanadian January 21, 2015, 12:16 PM

    The good news is, our Government agrees and did something! Bill C-462 received Royal Assent on May 29, 2014 so we have some measure of protection now but great article to raise awareness!

    See : http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?
    Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=6630220

    Bill C-462 -An Act restricting the fees charged by promoters of the
    disability tax credit and making consequential amendments
    to the Tax Court of Canada Act

    Reply
    • bigcajunman January 21, 2015, 12:39 PM

      And for that, I was happy to see! Also, have heard the CRA has cracked down on these sorts of firms, in terms of their practices to get the credits and such

      Reply
    • bigcajunman January 21, 2015, 12:39 PM

      And for that, I was happy to see! Also, have heard the CRA has cracked down on these sorts of firms, in terms of their practices to get the credits and such

      Reply
  • S. November 6, 2014, 1:49 PM

    We needn’t pay an accountant, etc, either. Please use the services of an advocate working within a non-profit agency. Many are volunteers, a handful are paid, most are excellent. (Feel free to shop around for the one that suits you most.)

    To locate one, see http://www.povnet.org/find-an-advocate/

    I did my son’s on my own, but accessed BCCPD (now Disability Alliance) for free and excellent help with my more complex matter. When mine comes through, I personally will be choosing to give a donation to the agency that assisted me, so that they may continue this work for others, but they don’t even so much as request or suggest even that. It is provided absolutely without charge.

    Reply
  • LifeInsuranceCanada.com March 31, 2014, 9:04 AM

    Excellent article, thanks for being the first to point out this growing scam.

    These firms seem to be tarketing seniors, encouraging them to see if they qualify. They would seem to be going after people who may not even realize that they’re disabled (?), so they assist with the technical definition, then the paperwork, then take their substantial cut. It’s milking the government.

    My father in law got approached by this and was going to proceed until I investigated. But a very typical ‘prey on seniors’ approach.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman March 31, 2014, 9:59 AM

      As I said, hopefully there is a special part of hell for those folks who prey on folks like that.

      Reply
  • Sean Cooper, Financial Freelance Writer and Blogger March 28, 2014, 6:47 PM

    RDSPs are supposed to be about helping those most vulnerable. It’s a shame that there are people out there who take advantage of those less fortunate. Hopefully financial institutions offer better investments with RPPPs, but I have my doubts.

    Reply
  • canadianbudgetbinder March 28, 2014, 12:07 PM

    Someone I know did this and paid the firm $1300 and then when they contacted someone else about it they said they were paying too much. They paid a further $300 to an income tax company to finish it off. These are seniors who believe the people they talk to and likely why many end up paying for things they don’t need to. I’ve done my homework on this topic as well and it’s pretty simple to do on your own. I think that some people feel that they need people to help them do everything when it comes to services when that is not the case. You are right, do it yourself, for free. Mr.CBB

    Reply
    • bigcajunman March 28, 2014, 12:27 PM

      Or ask for help from a Professional like an Accountant or approach your Doctor or Hospital maybe they have some expertise they can share. At least read some of the excellent posts around the net on the topic.

      Reply
  • Denis March 27, 2014, 1:46 PM

    Hmmm.. I filled in the paperwork, the doctor did his thing and sent it in and bingo it was done. How hard is that?

    Reply
    • bigcajunman March 27, 2014, 1:58 PM

      Not that hard, worth $2000 ?

      Reply
      • Denis March 8, 2017, 11:33 AM

        Denis from above…

        My dad’s accountant suggested that he apply for the DTC. Gave him the paper, I filled it in for him, he brought it to his doctor, and he was approved. He told his neighbour, I spoke with him, he filled it in, saw his doctor, and was approved. If these two elderly gentlemen can fill them in themselves or by a relative, then it should not be too hard for anyone to fill in the paperwork. Getting the doctor to sign off on it though might be more of a hassle if they are not familiar with it.

        Reply
        • bigcajunman March 8, 2017, 11:41 AM

          Excellent and good on you for helping out as well. Yes, some Doctors are warey to fill in the forms, and some just don’t know what they are doing, but most seem to know what needs to be done. Don’t waste your money on these “helper firms” if you can help it, please!.

  • My Own Advisor March 26, 2014, 8:36 PM

    Good on you! Nice selfie.

    Mark

    Reply
  • Paul Osborn March 26, 2014, 11:25 AM

    Absolutely appalling.

    Reply
  • b March 26, 2014, 9:57 AM

    Charming. These firms sound right up there with the “immigration consultants.”

    Good on you to block their ads!

    Reply

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