I wrote this 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. 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 CRA Child Disability Benefit (Disability Tax Credit ( DTC )). 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. You can call the CRA. February is a bad time to call, however. You can ask for clarification or help on how to do this.
Step One Does Your Child Have a Recognized Disability?
The first thing is, if you have a child with a recognized disability. You must take advantage of all the help you can from the Government (at all levels). 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 worked with a social worker. There was a list of things for us to do, given we had a diagnosis.
At the time I was having a very hard time coming to grips with the diagnosis. Giving my brain something tangible to do, helped me, help our son. One day Mrs. C8j may write her perspectives on this. 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 medical professional (for that disability).
What Does the CRA Say?
I will quote the CRA website on this just for clarity’s sake the CRA Child Disability benefit states:
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 assumed to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months
In many cases, a child’s disability is obvious. In these cases, there should be no issue with getting this disability benefit. For kids on 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. This refusal for the Child Disability Tax Credit ( DTC )) can be if your documentation is not to their liking. Make sure the diagnosing professional has filled in the forms before. This should mean they know what needs to be said in the documentation.
Next Step Time to Find a Medical Professional
Second, you need to get a 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 child disability benefits forms (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 the benefits you deserve because of the writing shortcomings on a form.
You cannot claim the Child Disability Tax Credit (DTC) without a T2201. The Psychologist at OCTC knew the correct terms to use for our form. This helped our child disability benefit claim, which was accepted for 10 years. When Rhys turned 15 we had to reapply for the Disability Benefit. Update: OK, so it was actually at age 10 that we had to reapply.
After you have the T2201 (disability tax credit form for child) apply for the Child Disability Benefits, by filling out RC66 – Canada Child Benefits Application Form. The form is straightforward to fill in and wasn’t hard for my wife and me. There was an added wrinkle suggested by the OCTC Social Worker.
Can I Get Back Credit for my Child’s Disability Tax Credit (DTC) ?
Can the disability tax credit be backdated? Since our son was diagnosed at age 3, we also applied to have the diagnosis and thus the benefit retroactive to my son’s birth. This means we applied to get the benefit ongoing, but also for the earlier 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. 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 at birth.
Time To Mail it Into the CRA
Once you have finally compiled all of this information, you then can mail it into the CRA for their approval. I usually sent these letters registered so if anything got lost, I would be able to trace it. You can also submit the forms using your My CRA account.
As I stated, there are no guarantees here. 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 instances where the diagnosis was not obtained.
I hope this helps those parents with disabled kids. While this may not be a complete list, it is what we went through with our son.
If your diagnosis is approved by the CRA the next step is to start looking for Medical and Disability related Tax implications. The first thing is asking the CRA for refunds. You can read about that in Child Disability Tax Credit (DTC) Application Letter (Template).
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. Here is a Template Letter to apply for that as well. All of this is also needed for when you apply for an RDSP.
Remember that if you get turned down, that does not mean NO. That means trying again. Find out from the CRA what the problems were, and try to remedy those before you re-apply.
Related RDSP Pages
- The RDSP Page is the Overview of all articles I have written about the RDSP (including DTC and other areas).
- RDSP : Laying the Ground Work (first things first)
What needs to be done BEFORE you can apply for a Registered Disability Savings Plan? A major aspect of this is the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), make sure you click on this page to get started.
- RDSP : Working with The Account
Now that you have succeeded in getting your Disability Tax Credit (DTC) you need to open an RDSP account with a bank or such, but how is that done? It is not as easy as you might think. This page outlines many of the issues that have arisen for my family working with an RDSP account.
- Disability Tax Related Topics
Thanks for my RDSP and DTC work I then had to learn a great deal about the tax implications of having a disabled child.
- Autism Specific Articles
Being the proud Father of a child on the Autism Spectrum I also ended up writing a great deal about Autism specific things as well.
- RDSP : Laying the Ground Work (first things first)