My Disability Tax Credit Journey...
It was suggested that I
share my ongoing story of my request for the Disability Tax Credit so
here it is. Please remember that this is "my story" and reflects only
my feelings, experiences, and beliefs while going through this
I first heard about the credit through the Tyler's website in early 2003. I gathered information from them and then began contacting people. I needed to have the form signed by my son's physician so I sent him a detailed letter asking for his help. He declined. He said he had done it before and had got no where with it. I asked him to reconsider. I told him that the sample letters I had sent him were from doctors whose patients had successfully received the Disability Tax Credit. He said if I wanted to try he would do what he could. He based his letter of support on the ones I sent.
I then contacted our Diabetes Educators. While they are not listed on the T2201 form as qualified medical personnel, I felt that their professional opinions could only help our case. Of the two people I asked one did send a letter of support and the other was uncomfortable with the label of disabled and declined to help. That was not a problem. As I said before the labelling issue is a complex one that each person must deal with on their own.
Finally I had to write our letter. Why should we get this credit? Well for me it was obvious that I spend more than 14 hours per week on care. I have timed blood glucose testing. It takes at least 2 minutes, multiplied by 10 checks per day is 20 minutes, times 7 days and we are already at 140 minutes out of the required 14 hours. I then timed the treatment of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, food preparation, insulin preparation, and logging. No problem with 14 hours. As to the Life Sustaining treatment, without insulin my child will die. This was apparent when he was diagnosed and so I began our letter, edited it, and compiled our tax package for 2003.
May 13, 2003 we received our first letter from Revenue Canada. It simply stated that they have asked their medical advisors to review our claim. If we wished we could have our claim processed without the tax credit and then amended later on if required. We decided that we would wait. It was felt that this may show our confidence in the fact that we will be getting this credit for our child.
August 22, 2003 we were denied our application. The following week we asked another doctor to write another letter on our behalf. He did this and sent it to the appeals division of Revenue Canada
On October 2, 2003 we had completed our appeal letter and forwarded it onto the Appeals Division as well. In going through this process, we began to also realize how unjust the process was. One family will get the credit, one won't. One will chose to fight and one will back down. Despite this, their children are all afflicted by the same disease requiring a similar dedication to care. It was with that in mind that copies of our appeal were also sent to two MPs from our province asking that they look into having a uniform system in place. I would urge others to do the same thing.
Contact your MP or any MP that you may know who has a personal interest in this disease and ask for their help.
Letters to MPs can be addressed to:
House of Commons
And remember that no postage is required.
October 17, 2003
We received a letter from our Member of Parliament. It was a copy of the letter he had sent to Revenue Canada Appeals Division on our behalf. In it he stated "It would appear that the situation clearly merits eligibility for a disability tax credit. I would kindly review this file and respond favorably to their request." Hopefully this will seal our case and see a refund in the mail soon.
None of us should have to go through this. Please write your MP, ask them to change this process.
October 27, 2003
I received a reply today from the other Member of Parliament to whom I brought up the issue of the Disability Tax Credit with. I found his information extremely interesting. He states that the government has determined that "more needs to be done to ensure that the DTC effectively meets its intended purpose, such as you described in the dedication of parents such as yourself who provide care and treatment of your son with Type one Diabetes. In the Federal Budget of 2003, the Government announced that it would establish a technical advisory committee on tax measures for persons with disabilities. This committee will advise the Minister of Finance and National Revenue. It will comprise members of organizations representing persons with disabilities, medical practioners, and private sector tax experts. Over a period of 18 months, the committee will assist the Government in addressing issues identified by the community of persons with disabilities. Rest assured that your specific concerns will be addressed and brought to the forefront..."
So please, keep pressure on our MPs. Let them know that you want your voice heard on this issue and before this panel.
January 5, 2004
We received a phone call telling us that our appeal has been denied. The "judge" felt that insulin was not Life Sustaining. That was not what we were told on our first denial. We were then told only that our son's care did not take 14 hours per week. Once we proved that, had doctors and our MP back that, they have decided that we again do not qualify. I am livid. This is ridiculous. Why do some people receive this credit for those with Diabetes and others get turned down? This MUST change
January 9, 2004
We received a registered letter confirming our refusal. It states "The effects of your dependant's impairment were not such that his ability to perform any of the basic activities of daily living were markedly restricted, or would be markedly restricted but for the therapy that was required to be administered at least three times each week for a total duration averaging not less than 14 hours a week. Therefore, you were not entitled to a claim for dependant having an impairment under subsection 118.3(2) of the Income Tax Act."
This is insane. Insulin has to be delivered on a daily basis. The time involved to calculate proper balances of insulin, exercise and diet definitely take more than 14 hours per week (this was certified by both doctors). Without insulin our child cannot perform the basic activities of daily living. Even with insulin, hypo and hyperglycemic episodes leave him unable to perform such activities.
I guess we will have to try and find a lawyer who will help us at minimal costs should we wish to continue the fight. I am planning to take this up further with any interested media and again with my MP.
February 15, 2004
I have been informed of another family who have won their fight for the DTC. That is wonderful but none of us should have to fight! Please continue to lobby your MPs for change.
As for our own case, I will begin to gather facts, cases, etc and see how we go about filing to have our case heard. I still hope that one day this credit will be changed to something more equal and beneficial to all people living with Type 1 diabetes.
February 16, 2004
Today I received a reply from my MP. I had written him apprising him of the current state of our DTC case. The following is a quote from his letter...
"In the past, I have spoken to the Minister responsible for CCRA on issues that were of concern to my constituents. I have always been advised that CCRA was an agency set up by the Federal Government to operate at arm's length, and the minister did not have the authority to intervene nor decide the outcome of any appeal."
Am I alone in finding this statement alarming? A government who's minister has no power over? Who cannot rule on decisions and yet his/her name is signed to your refusal? I just don't understand.
February 25, 2004
This weekend I spoke with an incredible person who has dedicated much time and energy to fighting for the DTC. This person has now decided to add Type One Diabetes to the growing coalition of people who should receive this credit. Our case will be presented before the Technical Advisory Committee to further help them understand the injustice of it all. I was also given some tips on filing our latest appeal. Most importantly I have found another voice who feels that those living with Type One Diabetes DO meet the DTC criteria for Life Sustaining therapy and care does take over 14 hours per week. It was further noted that if it were to ever actually reach Tax Court, our battles would be over. No lawyer is needed, simply the letters from our health professionals and our own testimony as to what a day is like.
As was suggested, today we sent a register letter to CCRA requesting copies of our case to date. This will include details on how they made their decision on our case. We can apply for this under the Privacy Legislation.
February 26, 2004
Once again, friends have come to my rescue and helped me to understand a little better our government's bureaucracy. I questioned a Minister that appeared to have no power over his/her department. It was explained to me as follows..."the Minister cannot interfere in your case as this would "bring the administration of justice into disrepute." There is a very clear delineation between the executive function and the administrative function. If the Minister did interfere, he would be resigning his post in short order. The Minister can only set policy, he cannot adjudicate individual cases." Thank you so much for setting me straight! I still feel that this Minister needs to make change. I can only pray that the Minister will finally listen to the recommendations
September 15, 2004
First my apologies. Whether through a mistake of my own or cyber gremlins, I seem to have lost 6 months worth of the up to date experiences of our journey. I will therefore try to give you the abridged version minus some of the raw emotion. Either way, I hope you will understand the journey and be willing to help us as we work to eliminate fights such as ours. So to continue from back in February, here is how things unfolded for us.....
This spring our specific case was presented to the Technical Advisory Committee. It was an opportunity to expand awareness of Type 1 Diabetes specifically. It also became a time to teach people what insulin pumps are, how they are used, and most importantly--their high cost in this country if you do not have adequate private insurance. Our story reached some very important ears and hopefully they have just a little more understanding now of what people living with Type 1 diabetes and their families actually go through on a daily basis.
Our request for a copy of our tax file under the Privacy Act was granted. We were missing one key piece of information that to date has not been found. The file was surprisingly sparse. With the exception for a few small comments, we could find no great medical testimony regarding why our case was denied. The bulk of the file contained documents that we sent, medical evidence was mainly sent in by our doctor's, and notes were from our correspondence.
Thanks to the wonderful families and lawyers out there who support our cause, we received copies of a late breaking case Sullivan vs the Queen. This was yet another case that clearly defined therapy as more than time spent injecting and further indicated that a person with diabetes was impaired in the BADL of feeding themselves as well as receiving Life-Sustaining Therapy.
By June, my nerves were raw and a date had finally been set for our hearing. We were to go to court in mid-July in Gander. I had a lot of work to do and set about gathering our evidence.
As I worked, I was told that we could have our hearing rescheduled to be heard closer to our home and more importantly, closer to our doctor as he would be called as our expert witness. I contacted the Tax Court and they were fabulous! They told me what I needed to do and felt that the change would not be a problem. The best news was that our date was now moved to August. This gave us much more time to get organized.
And organized we got. With the help of incredible people, we had binders of documents organized. All of the applicable cases were referenced. We prepared to subpoena Liam's doctor but were shocked to find that CCRA had done it already. What would he say that would help their case? He signed the form in favor of us getting the credit! We were very confused but no longer had to drive to deliver the subpoena or pay for his time in court.
Nonetheless, we did pay for him to complete a Medical Report for us. It was fabulous! It further told what we all know--diabetes is a serious, chronic, and life-threatening disease that requires Life Sustaining therapy in excess of 14 hours per week.
The final week before our court date arrived and still no word from CRA lawyers. I was both confident and scared. We had an unbeatable case. Why had they not backed down yet? Did they know something that we had missed?
We were given the name of the judge who would hear our case. I knew it--we had won!! This lady had already ruled on this case in Tammi vs the Queen. Why would she change her mind now?
Still no word from CRA however so we continued to prepare for court. Friday, August 20,2004 I was going over our closing remarks. They were perfect! I had again received guidance from people I can still only call angels here on Earth. If I took this to court, we would cause some serious ripples. We had won--but my stomach was still a little nervous (okay a lot nervous!)
Friday August 20, 2004 at approximately 4:15pm local time we got "the call" The lawyer for Revenue Canada had finally looked at our case and saw no way to win it. They had finally backed down!! WE HAD WON! This scrimmage was over and justice was done!!
I was relieved! I was happy! I was sad. It still is painful to know that many families do not have the access to the support and information that I have. They may become intimidated and back down from what is rightfully theirs according to the legislation.
I was also proud of myself. I had stuck it out. It was another victory against CCRA. I had brought awareness of this issue to another level.
I am not done by any stretch of the imagination. I will continue to share what I have learnt, to help anyone I can, and to work with others to try and create real change in CRA policy.
October 6, 2004
I told you I wasn't done! My journal continues...Thank you all of those who have answered our poll and who have kept us informed of how your cases are progressing. We ARE making a difference. I have been told that cases of Type 1 diabetes applying for the DTC have been put on hold pending an internal review of the CRA's policy. Please, keep on the pressure. Keep applying. We can only hope that CRA will do what is right according to the legislation and begin to grant the DTC to all people who are using an intensive management system.
November 22, 2004
I continue to wait to see the financial rewards from my fight with CRA. Our out of pocket expenses and our actual tax credit have yet to be refunded. When I called CRA, I was told that it would take 12-16 weeks from whatever date the request for an adjustment was made. Because the claim was not made under my name, no specifics could be given. I do hope we get our money before Christmas!! I also remain hopeful that we will be given the credit for an extended period of time and not have to battle this again next year or even five years down the road.
Many people have asked my opinion on the policy statement issued by CRA stating that those on insulin pump therapy who are using this method of delivery out of "medical necessity" rather than a lifestyle choice would be eligible for the DTC. I would caution applicants that this is not a "get the credit with no hassles" card. CRA may still turn you down. Ensure that your doctor notes on the initial application that the pump is a medical necessity. In some cases this has not been necessary but I have yet to see any case involving Type 1 diabetes that was given the credit simply by applying for it. There seems to be a battle involved in every victory. If you are the exception, please tell us how you did it or if you feel that the tides are changing.
Once again, no matter what intensive insulin management system you or your loved one uses, PLEASE make your application. Follow the process. Fight for what is your's. If you would like to see how others have done it, please contact us or use any of the templates provided on this site. Outline your position. Explain your intensive management system and the time involved.
We will all win this fight!
December 16, 2004
I am still waiting to hear from CRA regarding the money owed to us for our DTC claim. In the meantime, the Technical Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities have released their final report. I look forward to reading their recommendations and hope that the government will seriously consider their recommendations.
January 2, 2005
Last week we received a sum of money from CRA. Based on the amount deposited, I can only assume it reflects the tax year we fought for and nothing more. I am having to wait for further information until the holidays have ended.
In the meantime, the Technical Advisory Committee has made a key recommendation regarding life sustaining therapy. I have encouraged anyone interested in this issue to write to their MP and the Ministers of National Revenue and Finance. We MUST have them implement Recommendation 2.5 which asks that CRA follow the guidelines established both in the informal Tax Court rulings and the CDA, ADA, and CMA guidelines on therapy for Type 1 Diabetes. Please write your MP. Have your friends write. Have your support group write. This is our big chance to see real change!!
January 29, 2005
Is it just me??? I think that there might be a conspiracy going on here. We have been waiting to see adjustments made to our other tax years after winning our case for 2002. Upon further investigation, CRA noted Liam's condition only started in January 2002 not March 2000 as the T2201 stated. Despite the fact that it is standard practice to make adjustments to tax returns made after the judgment, nothing more had been done with our case.
When they denied our claims they were quick to send reassessments for every tax year from 2000 on. When we win our decision and our Judgment states that my son does receive Life Sustaining Therapy in accordance with Section 118, we only get the money from that one year.
Oh my nerves!! Obviously the issue is being looked into and hopefully will be resolved soon. I am hoping that I am the exception and not the rule. I have never seen a case handled as our's has so there is still hope for everyone else.
In the meantime, I am still writing letters and encouraging others to do the same thing. We must maintain pressure on the government and see Recommendation 2.5 accepted. CRA MUST have to follow the guidelines repeatedly set in the courts.
February 3, 2005
Well, it appears that as far as CRA is concerned our case is basically closed. They do not feel that they owe us anything for the years 2000 and 2001 because we won our case with a court judgment. They interpret the legislation to state that we are therefore not entitled to the DTC for previous years. As for the 2003 tax year? We will have to reapply for the DTC for that and subsequent years. What???
I guess its back to the drawing board. The war rages on but we won't give up. We will win.
February 5, 2005
We are quickly working to gather cases to prove that CRA is wrong in their interpretation of the tax law. I truly hope that the situation that we are facing is unique. I can't believe that we would have a government that would regularly put their people through such duress.
February 13, 2005
CRA has changed its mind and has given us the DTC for the years 2002-2012. They will not allow our applications for 2000 and 2001. We will still have to look at either going back to Tax Court or applying to the Minister for assistance on this matter. And so the battle rages on.....
February 20, 2005
On Friday we received a phone call from a gentleman from CRA in Ottawa. Who specifically he is has yet to be determined. He told my husband that he was a senior official but basically told me that he was just an employee. He called while I was at school dosing Liam's insulin. My husband told him that he would have to discuss the issue with me. Later that afternoon the two of us connected.
He explained to me that he was following up on one of my letters to my MP, Minister of Justice, etc. He then told me that he had referred my case on to the DTC unit in Ottawa for further review of the 2000 and 2001 tax years. They were holding firm that we were not entitled.
According to this gentleman, the Consent to Judgment was worded wrong and did not entitle us to any further compensation for previous years. He stated that the Consent to Judgment only allowed 2002-2012.
Now we know that that part is not right. The Judgment states that we are allowed no further compensation beyond 2002. That is standard. It reads the same as two other Judgments that I had in front of me. I read them to him, asked him the difference, but he said that they were different cases. Okay, I moved on.
Our Consent to Judgment didn't entitle us to 2003-2012. We had to argue with CRA to get them to implement that. They wanted to send us back through the system for each year.
I stated that our next options were then to either seek a new judgment from the Minister or go back to Tax Court? He agreed stating that we have a very good case but going to court would be very costly. I informed him that its not about cost. It is the principal and the fact that no one should be dealing with what we are. This must stop.
He asked to be able to close our case. To state that he had looked into things for us and had contacted us. I told him that was fine.
How frustrating these people can be!!! The only thing that our Consent to Judgment has that is "unique" is the fact that it specifically states that Liam requires Life Sustaining Therapy in accordance with the act. I pray our case is unique in its treatment because this is too frustrating to deal with if you don't have a vast and incredible support network standing behind you. I thank you all for providing that to me!
February 25, 2005
Thank you to everyone who wrote, petitioned, and emailed!! We have done it!! We truly have won the war against CRA!! I am still floating in the clouds! I now know that a few people truly can make a difference!!!
There are still many small battles to be won--including our own battle to receive the credit for 2000 and 2001, but the main war is won! WE HAVE DONE IT!!
April 12, 2005
"The Canadian Diabetes Association argued strongly that it is the insulin
that is the life-sustaining therapy, and encouraged the inclusion of
medically-necessary activities such as blood glucose testing and injection
preparation as part of the 14-hour requirement.
First I must again preface that this is simply my opinion. It is my feelings and reflect nothing else. I do not mean to discredit or disrespect any person or organization. This is simply how I feel about this issue....
This press release really bothers me. It could simply be because I was up most of the night dealing with my 7 year-old's hypoglycemia and am overtired and therefore over-sensitive. I hope that is not the case.
I am truly offended that the Canadian Diabetes Association has stepped in at the very last minute and is now claiming that they are basically responsible for the changes we are seeing in the DTC right now. They are not acknowledging the families that took CRA to court and fought for their rights. They are not acknowledging the many family and friends who gathered together through this organization and lobbied government for change.
As a dear friend pointed out, who said life was fair? So true! This feels like the house painter stepping forward and taking the credit for a beautifully built home. Yes, he played an important part but it was just one part. The entire project belongs to the group not just one person (or in this case organization).
When I first began this battle, I contacted my provincial office of the Canadian Diabetes Association. They informed me that they did not agree with the Disability Tax Credit being used by people with Type 1 Diabetes and could not be of assistance. What changed their minds?? I wish I knew. Maybe a nap will clear it up for me! Good blood glucose levels to all!
I am currently trying to wrap my mind around whether or not I will take further issue on this with the author of the release. If you have an opinion or thoughts on what should be done now and in the future, please contact me
April 15, 2005
Let me again preface
that comments made on this page are simply mine. They reflect my own
feelings and opinions and nothing more. That being said...
I have had a few days to calm down a little and have received a lot of feedback on the above "CDA Issue". Thank you so much for the kind support so many of you have offered.
A few days after this mess began, a reporter called and interviewed me about my particular case. He didn't ask about my role with Diabetes Advocacy or the work that we had done regarding the DTC. It was simply a personal story. After the article ran, I emailed him and made a few comments. He had of course contacted the Canadian Diabetes Association for their take on the issue and we know what they had to say. In my follow up email, I told him my version of how the pending changes came to be. He noted that when speaking with the CDA, they did not seem nearly as knowledgeable about the issue as I was. I wonder if that could be because one of us has actually dedicated a lot of time and energy to the issue and the other has stepped up at the end? Okay, that is probably a little catty and very petty but .....
Oh well, as many of you indicated, those who
count know who worked for this. Those who count know who is working to
see change. Those who count are working along side of me and together
we will see a lot more changes for adults and children living with the
horrible disease they call Type One Diabetes.
Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart!! You keep me motivated and on track.
April 27, 2005
The CDA has since apologized for appearing to take credit for work begun by me. In later releases, I do feel that they were more specific in stating that they have been brought on board by the federal government to help clarify how the DTC will or should be applied to those living with Type 1 Diabetes. As we both have a common goal--seeing financial help for those living with Type 1 diabetes, we have agreed in principal to work together on this issue
May 20, 2005
We have sent in our Notice of Objection regarding the 2000 and 2001 tax years. I am sure that they will reject our arguments--I don't see why as we made wonderful, sound legal arguments but this is CRA so what can you say! We will continue with the process and see where it takes us. If it takes us back to court, we are ready to go that route as well.
I have never watched federal politics as closely as I have over the past 6 months. I held my breath yesterday as I listened intently to every vote being cast. My son asked why I cared about the budget. I explained that I had $35million and a lot of work riding on this budget and I desperately wanted to see it pass. I am sure you all joined me in that collective sigh when it made it through again. I will not rest until it is law and CRA is properly applying it to Type 1 cases, but we are successfully through one more hoop! The CDA partnership seems to be working. They are keeping me in the loop and hopefully that means that I am able to keep you as up to date as possible as well.
We are still awaiting to hear a ruling on the years 2000 and 2001. Our case is currently before the Fairness Committee. We hope that they will in fact deliver a fair decision on our case.
September 7, 2005
We have since received a letter stating that our case is again under review by their medical experts. The insanity continues!
November 1, 2005
We have been denied again but are looking at our chances of being heard in Tax Court again. The battle rages on!
November 18, 2005
We have received notification that our case will be heard. We will now begin the process of preparing to take the fairness issue to court.
November 30, 2005
One step forward and thirty steps back! In my personal case, the Tax Court of Canada has agreed to hear the issue that the CRA's refusal of our 2000 and 2001 tax year goes against their own Fairness legislation.
The step forward, I was told that all children applying, under the age of 15, regardless of insulin regimen will currently qualify for the DTC. That is great news but they still just don't get it! They don't want carb counting. They don't want adults. They just don't want to understand what Type 1 diabetes really is!! They don't want to part with our money! I am so frustrated right now, I can't see straight. I just don't know what do to. I feel like we are worse than back at square one. We are now negative a few steps!
December 20, 2005
We have received our notice from Tax Court. We had requested a change of venue and appointed my angel here on Earth to be our agent. They have granted both requests. Now we wait to see what sort of trouble we stir in 2006! The government is slow. The insanity is overwhelming but somehow we still plow through right? Thanks to those angels who pick us up and keep us kicking!!
February 20, 2006
Its funny, I am looking back at how long our story as been ongoing and its no wonder I am tired and want to just bang my head against a wall for awhile!! This month's latest has the Tax Court's wondering why this issue was not dealt with by the Fairness Division of CRA. Funny, but we wondered the same thing!! Round and round we go! Right now we are waiting to see what documentation CRA has on our case to date. We had asked that the Fairness Division review our case back in the spring or early summer!! We got the standard rejection letter one gets with an initial application and therefore moved on to the Court avenue. No wonder people give up!! They try so hard to wear you down! Its insane!!
April 3, 2006
Our story has yet to end. On a positive note, we have seen CRA begin to accept that children with Type 1 diabetes do take more than 14 hours per week in order to administer Life Sustaining Therapy. They have also agreed to allow adults with a doctor's letter to receive the credit. We have made tremendous victories on a national level.
On a personal level, CRA officials continue to deny our claim to the years 2000 and 2001. The biggest irony, had they have allowed our credit, we would be entitled to a maximum of $3000. The time and money they have spent denying us to date must be at least ten times that amount!! Oh well, we will continue to fight until all our avenues have been explored and denied.
We are going back to Tax Court! I know it’s hard to believe after all that we have gone through, but it is true. Why? CRA has refused to give us the DTC retroactive for the 2000 and 2001 tax years. Why? Because we won our case for the 2002 tax year.
In a written statement, a senior official said, “The CRA’s policy for years…does not… allow retroactive application of court decisions.” As far as they are concerned, they don’t have to pay for years prior to our 2002 Tax Court decision.
To date we have filed a Notice of Objection for the 2000 and 2001 tax years. We are still waiting to hear back from them. If they deny this request, then Tax Court will be our final option.
November 18, 2005: We have received notification that our case will be heard. We will now begin the process of preparing to take the fairness issue to court.
February 20, 2006: A letter from the Tax Court suggests that this should have been handled by the Fairness Division of CRA.
March 1, 2006: As we do not yet have all of our documents back regarding how CRA handled our case when we asked it be presented to the Fairness Division, we have been granted an adjournment beyond our March 6th court date.
July 14, 2006 We have heard from the local CRA office. Once again our request under the Fairness review has been denied. The reason that the request was denied is because of the policy CRA has adopted not to allow the DTC prior to 2004. We will keep plugging on and hoping for the best!!
October 6, 2006
Our fight is officially over. CRA will no budge on our case. To proceed would mean the involvement of high priced lawyers. We are now officially done. We have been unfairly treated but we have caused a lot of change. For that we will be forever grateful--that remains my biggest victory. That was my goal when I began this journey. I will continue to ensure that the standards we have fought for will be maintained.
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