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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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), and I am a simple Gonzo Personal Finance Blogger, but I am very UNHAPPY to read of these “services”, the claim to help get their clients their Disability Tax Credit, but for ludicrous fees.

I have written (previously) about getting the Disability Tax Credit from the CRA and the steps I have to take to receive them for my son, and I may have portrayed the process as being extremely hard ( it can be), however, 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, which at first blush seem genuine, to help folks who are disabled (or parents of disabled folks) get their Disability Tax Credits from the CRA. While these firms seem to want to help people who are 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 enough, 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.

What might be the Disability Tax Credit Service company’s “cut” ? 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 can be done by yourself (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), however, these companies will then ask to be paid 20% of the settlement or $2000.

I am worried that folks who are “at wits end” might turn to one of these firms, when they should do it themselves, or maybe they should contact an Accountant (or Tax expert (like H&R Block)) 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 portion of the tax refund, it is in fact 20-30% of ALL of the tax refund received by the “client”. There are now stories coming forward of the CRA auditing the Disability Claims prepared by some of these firms, and the CRA disallowing the claims (and asking for all settlement money be returned to the CRA (the whole credit, including any fees paid)).

I have been quite critical of the Pay Day Loan services, for being Vultures preying on desperate people,  but 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. 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 feel free to leave a comment about your experience.

Editor’s Note

I noticed a while back 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.

 

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The Marathon

Yesterday I was excited to watch the Boston Marathon because a friend was running, and for him this was something very big.

John Young is an amazing man who I met at University, first because he is a relative of my wife and then he and I were in some amateur theater at the University of Waterloo. John became a teacher, and I would bet his students think he is something special. John has done some really cool stuff along the way, he is a tri-athlete and even after some physical set backs he set running the Boston Marathon as a new goal.

He had worked very hard to reach this goal, and the day started well, he started in the early group, and was making great progress, and I found out later he was a mile away from the finish line at 2:50 PM, but luckily he was not harmed by the explosions (and neither was his family).

If you want to learn much more about this amazing man (and others) read this Boston Globe article Dwarfs outrun Expectations in Boston Marathon.  You can read John’s Blog here as well, and you can follow him on Twitter @Dwarfparatri as well.

As I said on-line John, you finished that race in our hearts already.

For the victims and their families of this heinous act, you are in our hearts

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RDSP Update: Nice Payback

My parents gave us some money for him, and we decided the best course was to put the money away in his RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan), and we were very pleased with the results.

The Circle of Savings in Canada

The Circle of Savings in Canada

For the RDSP the Government’s kick in was about 2.25 times the money we had put into the account (not 2.25 %, but double plus another quarter of what we had deposited). Thanks to our family income being higher than average we did not get to take advantage of the full bursary which could be:

The Government provides matching grants of up to 300%, depending on the amount contributed and the Beneficiary’s Family Income

This is a limited grant, remember also:

The maximum grant is $3,500 each year, with a limit of $70,000 over your lifetime. Grants are paid into the RDSP until the end of the calendar year in which you turn 49 years old.

If you don’t have enough money remember even if you just put a little money in it you might be able to get a Canada Disability Savings Bond where the government will kick $1000 in a year if you qualify (free money!). Read the RDSP web page to see if you qualify.

If there is any question whether this might be a good idea for a parent of a child with a disability, this is the reason. Yes the bursary value is capped, and does have a maximum amount pay out, but if you are not taking advantage of this help from the government you really need to rethink your plans. This is money that will help plan for your disabled child’s future, go do it now!

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