Most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Disability Tax Credit.

dtc basicsIts that time of year again…tax time! Here in Canada it is also the time that many people living with diabetes learn that they could be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).

Here are a few frequently asked questions that will hopefully help you as you decide if you or your loved one qualifies…

  1. Does everyone with diabetes qualify?

No.  In order to qualify for the DTC you must use multiple daily injections of insulin via syringe or insulin pump and be intensively managing your diabetes care.

2 What does intensively managing your diabetes care mean?

You must be testing, injecting, logging, and adjusting your insulin doses.  These tasks must take you over 14 hours per week to perform.

3.   Do children with diabetes qualify?

Yes, children under 18 qualify without having to prove the 14 hours.  CRA assumes that the amount spent on diabetes care by both the parent and child would combine to be over 14 hours per week and therefore a diagnosis signed by the doctor on the T2201 is all that is required for their approval.

4. What is the Disabled Child Benefit? 

This is a separate amount that can be given to you for your child if your child is eligible for the DTC and you are receiving a Child Tax Benefit.

5. What is a T2201?

This is the form created by CRA that must be filled out by the person with diabetes and their doctor in order to qualify for the disability tax credit.

6. I am not disabled! I don’t want to be labelled disabled. Why do I want to fill out this credit?

The DTC, when applied to people with diabetes,  is not about being disabled.  A person with diabetes does not qualify based on a disability. They qualify based on the clause for people who require “Life-sustaining therapy”.  This subsection is for people who spend an inordinate amount of time on the therapy that they require to live.

7.  I have read that I can’t use the amount of time that I spend counting carbohydrates. Why not?

CRA feels that over time things like counting carbs become second nature to a person with diabetes and therefore no longer takes an inordinate amount of their time.

8.  I have to exercise because of my diabetes.  Can I count the time I spend at that the gym?

No. Everyone should be exercising and while there is added benefits for a person with diabetes, this is not an activity that will be allowed on your application.

9.  What tasks can I include in my application? The Diabetes Advocacy website includes a comprehensive list of what sort of tasks are allowed and a guide of how much time it takes to perform them each day.

10.  Do I need to send CRA my log book?

There is no need. CRA simply wants to see the tasks that you do each week with a specific breakdown of how much time those tasks take.  You doctor however may ask that you keep track of what you are doing for a period of time and bring it to him/her before they will sign off on the T2201 for you.

11.  Who can sign the T2201?

A medical doctor must sign this form.  This can be your family doctor, pediatrician, internist or endocrinologist.  Choose the person with the most knowledge of your care and understanding of what they are signing.  Their support is vital to a successful application.

12.   Do I need to pay someone to fill out the T2201?

No.  There is no reason to pay a fee or a percentage of your return to have this credit filled for you.  Diabetes Advocacy does offer a service to assist in filling the forms for those who are not comfortable  in doing this themselves.  I also have created a booklet that guides you step by step on how to fill the form that can also be purchased here.

If you have more questions , please email me at

advocacy @diabetesavocacy.com and I will do what I can to help.

 

 

A step in his socks

gluten-free-baking1-e1449977998432I know it’s not the same. I can’t begin to say that I fully get it. I cannot say that I am walking in his shoes so I will just say that I feel like I may have taken a step in his socks.

Over the past year, I feel like I have had  a very small glimpse into some of the emotions that my son and others living with diabetes must experience–stress, worry, isolation and more. I can see where it becomes overwhelming and you need to forget.  This is why…

Last New Years I was given the “gift” of a gluten intolerance. If I eat gluten I get physically ill. This came seemingly out of nowhere.  I told my doctor that I was too old for this to happen to.  She just laughed at me and told me to live with it.

It turns out that “living with it” is not as easy as one thinks.  I now have to watch every single food item that I put in my mouth.  (Hmmm, sound familiar?) I have to read every label (Yes, I should be used to this but now I am looking for elusive sources of gluten instead of carbs).   Suddenly I have had to relearn how to prepare food (and cooking used to be a joy!)

Going to a restaurant is no longer a source of relaxation.  With a gluten intolerance, I have to be on alert when we go out.  I don’t have to  guesstimate carbs, I now have to  guess if there is gluten in my desired meal. The result is that there are often restaurants that I simply cannot eat in. Emotionally it can be overwhelming and depressing….why can’t I be “normal again”??

There are times that I feel perfect…usually when I have successfully avoided gluten for a number of days.  Those are the days that I stop thinking about gluten. I don’t pay as much attention to the labels.  I begin to think that “maybe its really not an issue.”  I get sloppy.  I end up eating something that I shouldn’t.  I feel like crap.  I kick myself and then I think…”Is this what my son does? Does he feel okay and somehow forget that he needs insulin?  Does he just go about his day and not worry about a test because–well heck he feels great!?”

Did my lecturing just compound the issue? I don’t need someone telling me “Well Barb, you know that you shouldn’t have tried that chocolate without reading the label”.  I know these things but sometimes I just get complacent.  I just don’t want to think about it…and then I pay dearly for my lapse in judgement. I am sick for at least a day.  I do become more vigilant after my slips.

I have good days.  I will have bad days. No amount of saying “I am too old for this” will change it. I have come to realize that this is now part of me.

It’s not the same as living with diabetes.  I don’t have to test. There is no pump attached to me.  I don’t have to worry about balancing insulin and food. I won’t pass out from too much gluten.

In some ways it is similar though….I have to read every label.  I am not counting carbs but I do search for things like wheat, malt vinegar and “may contain gluten”.  I feel overwhelmed when I try to bake. None of my recipes work anymore.  They all have to altered again…before it was to accurately count the carbs, now its to carefully substitute out all wheat.

I feel stressed when I step inside a restaurant. My boyfriend is fabulous. He asks every server if they have a gluten-free menu before I get a chance.  I still worry.  What if they make a mistake? What if they give me the real pasta? What if they don’t realize and give me a sauce with gluten in it? What if I order the wrong thing? (and I have)  When it goes right, I feel the same glee as I do when my son and I guess the correct carb counts in a restaurant.

As I said, it has been a year.  Some things are getting better.  I have an incredible network of friends who have already been down this road.  (There is an increase risk of celiac disease if you also have Type 1 diabetes) There are great Facebook groups and many more options in the grocery store.  I have a cousin who is an amazing Gluten Free baker.  They all provide tips and support.

This year has allowed me to look at things just a little differently.   I have lived with diabetes in the house for close to 17 years.  I know the terror of nights. I know the frustration of unexplained highs and lows. I am all too familiar with the stress as diabetes interrupts planned activities. Gluten issues don’t come with those stressors but they do have plenty of their own.

Gluten intolerance has allowed me to glimpse at what its like to always have to be aware around food. It has given me a new understanding about feeling good and “forgetting” about your condition.

I hate both conditions.  My son hopes he never has to live this way. I do too but I also wish he wasn’t living with Type 1 diabetes.  The only bright side to my gluten issue  is that it has given me a small glimpse into some of what he has gone through on a daily basis for most of his life.