Diabetes Canada is extremely pleased with the recent report from the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) entitled Enabling access to disability tax measures.
The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit used to reduce income tax and a person with a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions may claim the disability amount once eligible.
“We’ve been urging for fair and equitable access to the disability tax credit and we’re pleased to see important recommendations positively impacting people with diabetes, including no longer requiring the 14-hours per week criteria under Life-Sustaining Therapy,” says Kim Hanson, Executive Director of Federal Affairs for Diabetes Canada.
Historically, the complex and inequitable application process and eligibility criteria for accessing the DTC meant many people living with diabetes were denied approval which left them from other important gateway federal benefit programs such as the Canada Child Disability Benefit and the Registered Disability Savings Program (RDSP). In response to the subjectivity and rates of denial to the program, Diabetes Canada, in partnership with JDRF strongly advocated for the DAC to be reinstated to provide a balanced patient perspective and ensure oversight of the Canada Revenue Agency’s management of the DTC.
The costs of managing this challenging and expensive disease are significant and increasing with many facing out-of-pocket costs of more than $15,000 per year for medications and supplies essential to delivering insulin and monitoring blood sugar.
Key recommendations impacting people living with diabetes include:
Making it easier for more Canadians to qualify for the disability tax credit (DTC)
- Automatically qualify Canadians who need life-sustaining therapy
Making the disability tax credit application process fairer
- Make the DTC form easier to fill out, and consider having separate forms for adults and children
- Simplify health providers’ role in the application process
- Give denied applicants better information about why they were denied and what they can do about it
Making it easier to keep RDSPs and get other disability benefits
- Reconsider whether the DTC should be a gateway to other benefits
- Allow Canadians to keep their RDSP grants and bonds for all periods when they qualify for the DTC
- Make sure Canadians remain eligible for other benefits, even if they no longer qualify for the DTC
“We urge the government to immediately implement the recommendations of the DAC as it will be enormously helpful to managing this challenging and expensive disease,” says Hanson. “Diabetes Canada is grateful for the public consultation process and review by the members of the DAC and to all who provided critical input to help shape this report. We also thank our partners JDRF, the Disability Tax Fairness Alliance and Autism Canada.”
About Diabetes Canada
Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:
- Resources for health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
- Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
- Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.