DTC RDSP Vicious Circle

While chatting with Kerry from Squawkfox, Mrs. C8j and I did some research and an interesting point was found, about the DTC RDSP vicious circle.

The non-refundable nature of the DTC has created a situation where some low-income disabled people don’t even bother to apply for the DTC, thinking it won’t benefit them. That can often be a mistake, as DTC certification has become a necessary requirement for a number of other government programs, such as RDSPs (registered disability savings plans) and the child disability credit.   “

That one left me quite upset. There is data about how few RDSPs are out there, but this explanation rings far too true for my liking.

This issue exists with RESPs too. Low-income families, think they need to save a lot to make the RESP system work. No! Open the account, put a small amount in there, but you might be eligible for the Canada Learning Bond, which is free money.

The Canada Disability Savings Bond

Getting back to RDSPs, there is a similar benefit for low income families. The Canada Disability Savings Bond is $1000 a year that can be deposited in your RDSP, even if you don’t make a deposit. This is why it is important to help folks with the RDSP.

No one should be leaving this kind of free money on the table.

The DTC RDSP vicious circle is what caused my wife to say, “The whole system is like navigating the fire swamp in the Princess Bride”.  That is a very apt analogy.

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DTC Change For The Better

The 2017 budget announced a very big DTC change (disability tax credit), for the better.  The specific statement is:

For many Canadians, nurse practitioners are the first and most frequent point of contact with the health care system, but today, these professionals are not allowed to certify application forms for individuals with impairments who are applying for the Disability Tax Credit.

Budget 2017 proposes to add nurse practitioners to the list of medical practitioners that can certify the impacts of impairments for Disability Tax Credit applicants. The measure will apply to Disability Tax Credit certifications made on or after Budget Day. This is an important step to improve access to the credit in areas where, due to a shortage of medical doctors, nurse practitioners may be the primary care provider.

I applaud this step by the government. As I have said the DTC is something you can do yourself, and this makes that easier for many folks. Many Doctors don’t have the time to fill in the needed forms. Adding Nurse Practitioners to the list of professionals who can fill in the T2201 is good.

dtc change

Simple Steps for DTC

My Opinions on Fee-based Firms

The number of firms willing to help the disabled (or their family) fill in these forms for fees continues to grow and this worries me. This can not be a growth industry, and it  shows the system is too complicated for disabled Canadians. All steps to simplify the system are a good thing.

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Bill C-462 : Protecting Disabled Canadians or a Paper Tiger ?

For those of  you unaware Bill C-462 the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act ,was passed into law and received Royal Assent (2014-05-29) . 

Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restriction Act

Penalties must be set for overcharging DTC Consultation Firms (link to CBC article on the act)

This Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act  summary

This enactment restricts the amount of fees that can be charged or accepted by persons who, on behalf of a person with a disability, request a determination of disability tax credit eligibility under the Income Tax Act. It establishes a prohibition against charging or accepting more than an established maximum fee and establishes offences and penalties for failure to comply.

The Act was passed, given royal consent, however,  it seems to have never been made law. If you read the bill it looks like it would be easy to enforce, however in the summary you read:

“…an established maximum fee and establishes offences and penalties for failure to comply…”

The problem is the Act never defines maximum fees or the penalties for them.  The other issue is that the act has never “come into force”. I guess it is dead, which is unfortunate. A maximum charge and penalties are needed.

While I have always said you should Do It Yourself, I also realize some folks will need help. These firms must stop gouging their customers.

Who Should You Contact About This?

If you want to voice your concerns about the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act, contact the sponsor of the bill  , she would like to hear from you as well. I have been in conversation with Ms. Gallant.

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Disabilities, Tax Time, The Queen and #MoneyStories

The CBC had an interesting story about a disabled person who had both legs removed, who had to re-file to keep their disability claim (effectively to prove their legs had not grown back). While this sounds horrible, it was most likely an admin error at the CRA, as normally they are pretty good on the disability claim side of things. The CBC however also trumpeted, Delay at CRA hurting disabled Canadians, advocates say, which is sensationalized, but has some ring of truth. The entire disability claim system is complicated and quite daunting for a lot of folks, if you want proof check out my article CRA Child Disability Benefit (How To) and the 160 comments on it from various folks asking for help. The article also talks about the private firms that folks engage to help the process that end up gouging their customers (in my opinion), which I outline in Disability Tax Credit: Please Do It Yourself. No one should be profiting on someone’s disability claim. I also agree with the assertion that the system needs to be made simpler for the average person to make a claim, or there needs to be more help for those folks. The CRA does have a Nurse on call that can help out with disability claims, if you tweet their account (so keep that in mind as well).

Sad to hear we have lost another great musician with the death of Prince this week. Remember folks, your hero age the same way you do. I never saw Prince live, but evidently it was something else.

The Queen at 90

The Queen and 3 generations of her children

Remember that your tax deadline is April 30th, and there is no extension planned by the CRA. You had your chance to have free Turbotax, although I have 5 licenses to give away, and only 3 comments on my giveaway post, who knows?

The Queen turns 90, and continues to work a withering (to me) schedule of events. I have problems getting to work in the morning, and this nonagenarian still works harder? I gotta step up my game, God Save the Queen!

My Writings for Week Ending April 22nd

Another week where I wasn’t overly motivated to write. I assume this is a short lull, so I continue to find older writings from my archive of over 220 unfinished posts, with A Personal Spending Surplus ? If you have a spending surplus, you should pay off debt, and then once that is done, you should save it, stop lifestyle creep!

A Money Thought

Time is the only limited resource in your financial plan, keep that in mind!

👇 For more great financial articles from this week click here 👇

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Notice of Determination on Disability Tax Credit

About three weeks ago we mailed in (via certified mail, so we got a tracking ID for the envelope we sent to the CRA) our re-application for the disability tax credit certificate (DTCC) for my son. We were not really sure how long it was going to take to receive the notice of determination, however, yesterday we received the response about our son’s eligibility for the DTCC.

We sent enough, and the correct information, as the CRA completed their review and now my son is eligible for another 8 years (until he turns 18), and his DTCC was extended (i.e. a positive response in the notice of determination), which is a relief to us. This means we can continue to receive the child tax benefits, and also continue to contribute to his Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) as well.

The notice of determination for the DTCC from the CRA is very clear but it has two very interesting paragraphs:

You will have to file a new, full completed Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, for the 2024 tax year or earlier if we ask for one, so we can review your son’s eligibility for DTC.

In the meantime, if your dependant’s medical condition improves to the point that the impairment would not longer meet the eligibility criteria for disability tax credit, you must let us know.

Interesting how the CRA can still ask for an updated T2201 at any time, if they wish to review my son’s eligibility, and that I must tell them if he is no longer impaired ? Autism Spectrum isn’t cured, but I guess this is the CRA being thorough ?

Final Bits to Notice

Another interesting stanza in the notice of determination states:

Please note that you are responsible for any fees charged by a medical practitioner to complete Form 2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, or to provide us with additional information. These fees are medical expenses. See line 330 of the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide

In our case we did have to pay for the Speech Pathologist Report, which was included in the documentation sent to the CRA, so that is now a medical expense (remember other things can be a medical expense as well).

A final helpful section stated:

If you need more information about the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), please see the additional RDSP information sheet.

Yes, there was a helpful sheet about RDSPs included with the letter. It suggested checking out the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) web site, which is helpful as well. It also pointed out that the Government may deposit up to $90,000 into the RDSP over the lifetime of the beneficiary (another good reason to have one). ESDC is on Twitter too.

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