“Providing benefits not burdens” is how former Health Minister, Judy LaMarsh once described the vision for disability policy in Canada.
As reported in GlobalNews and the Huffington Post, reports from Autism Canada and disability groups across the country suggest recent CRA decisions have resulted in people diagnosed with autism and intellectual disability having their eligibility to the DTC suddenly revoked or denied, against the CRA’s own rules.
This is unsettling news for families caring for children with disabilities, given three in four children with a disability identify as having a cognitive or mental health-related disability. This issue goes beyond the credit itself, given that DTC eligibility is frequently used for access to additional federal and provincial disability benefits.
Revoking DTC eligibility means a family with a child with a severe disability can no longer receive up to $2730 through the Child Disability Benefit, and $4000 or more in federal and provincial disability-related tax credits, depending on income and where they live.
Canadians with disabilities have to pay a physician or other qualified health professional to certify that they require “life-sustaining therapy” administered at least three times a week, for a total of at least 14 hours a week. Alternatively, doctors and nurses must attest that patients are “markedly restricted in performing a basic activity of daily living all or substantially all of the time, or that the cumulative effect of restrictions across several activities is equal to being markedly restricted in one basic activity of daily living,” write authors Stephanie Dunn and Jennifer Zwicker.
But the ordeal doesn’t necessarily end there. In many cases, even Canadians who are officially deemed eligible for the DTC must reapply for it after a period of time, even if their disability is a severe and lifelong condition.Share