Yesterday I did something I haven’t had to do in close to ten years…I filled out my son’s Disability Tax Credit form. For those who are not in Canada, and those in Canada who just don’t know, the Disability Tax Credit(DTC) is a credit that people with diabetes who are insulin dependent can use on their taxes to reduce their taxable income. People who receive the DTC are also eligible for the Disabled Tax Savings Plan and children who receive the credit may receive a Disabled Child Benefit through the Child Tax Credit.
The DTC, for people with diabetes, is not given because the government views diabetes as a disability. It is given because people who are insulin dependent require insulin to live–they require Life Sustaining Therapy. Life sustaining therapy is a subcategory of the DTC.
Years ago, I embarked on a lengthy journey to see this tax credit be given to people with diabetes. At that time some people got it, some didn’t. It simply seemed to depend on your stamina and the whim of the the CRA agent processing your application. You can read my real time frustrations here but to make a long story short, after a lengthy time frame, the legislation was amended and people with diabetes were given fair and equal treatment under this act.
Children with diabetes who were under 14 (and arbitrary age pulled off of the Internet by CRA officials) were automatically given the credit by virtue of a diagnosis of diabetes. It was assumed that the time the child and parent spent on care would easily total over 14 hours per week (the time required to qualify as needing Life Sustaining Therapy). This was a huge victory and many of my friends’ children were given the tax credit until they were 16 and even 18 years old. No child was being given the credit for life.
Despite the victory for friends, my application was to be reviewed for my son when he turned 15. I knew it was personal. I wasn’t paranoid honest! I would go to events and see the CRA booth set up. As I walked by and they saw my name, they would instantly recognize me. I was sure that having agents of the Canadian Revenue Agency recognize your name was not a good thing. Visions of audits and extended periods of time spent on my returns haunted my nights.
With this in mind, imagine my anxiety at having to complete a new application for my son? I had been advised that my son’s DTC status would change on January 1, 2013 unless my credit was submitted earlier. We have a diabetes clinic appointment next week and the doctor had told me to bring along the form for her to sign. I was still nervous. Would they recognize the name? My last name has changed. I have gone back to my maiden name. Would they still make the connection with my son and his last name? Would I have to fight to prove that yes, we really and honestly do intensively manage his diabetes care. We really do use up well over 14 hours per week in diabetes related junk? I had won this battle once, thousands have since been granted the applications. They couldn’t hold a grudge forever could they?
My mind was cynical but confident. Others get the credit. I help others, including adults, get the credit. My application would not be denied….then I received an email from a friend. “FYI…in case you didn’t know…” and she proceeded to send me a memo that noted CRA has changed its guidelines. All children under the age of 18 who have diabetes and have applied for the DTC will now be approved without further question. Happy dancin!! Happy dancin!!! This was AWESOME!
My DTC application is ready to go. My heart is light and ideally, CRA will process things in a timely manner and my son’s DTC status will not change in January even for a short period of time. Did I mention…HAPPY DANCE!!!!