What Are Disability Benefits?
Disability benefits are refunds granted by the government of Canada to its citizens with health impairment or disability. The amount of refund is calculated on the basis of income tax paid by the individual. It can also be claimed as a credit to reduce the tax liability of an individual in future. In both the cases, the impairment that the citizen claims to be living with has to be certified by a medical practitioner to have an approved certificate from the CRA or Canadian Revenue Agency.
Disability Tax Credit
In simplest terms, disability tax credit is a non refundable tax credit that can be used by taxpayers with disabilities to reduce their taxable income. In order to receive your credits, you need a T 2201 tax form duly filled by a medical professional, a Disability Tax Credit Certificate and approval of Canadian Revenue Agency. If your income does not fall under taxable limits or if you only require a part of full credits to nullify your tax liability, you can transfer all or a part of the credits to your common law partner or even your spouse or any other person supporting you.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for Disability Tax Credits, you must meet all the three conditions mentioned below:
- You must be suffering from a disability or impairment which has either lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or more.
- Your impairment must be severe enough to restrict you substantially all the time.
- Your impairment must be certified by a qualified and registered medical practitioner who should give a certificate to the effect that both the above conditions are met by you.
The refunds and credits recognize a person with impairment as a person whose physical or mental challenge impairs the person’s ability to carry out basic activities of day to day life such as “walking”. For instance if you need a walking stick to move around and your pace is at least three times slower than an average person of your age who does not suffer from an impairment, then you are eligible for the credits.
A 2001 survey revealed that 31.5% of Canadian citizens over the age of 65 suffered from mobility related disabilities. Out of these, Walking’ was the most prevalent impairment besides other problems such as speaking, hearing, dressing, feeding, mental capabilities and bladder or bowel functions. Vision problems also qualify as a disability to be eligible for tax credits. The Canadian Revenue Agency does not take into consideration a person’s capacity to work while determining his or her eligibility for disability benefits. The final condition is that either you or your spouse must have paid taxes in the past because the refund is based on taxes. You need to have paid a minimum tax in order to make your application worthwhile. If you have been suffering from a disability for long, your tax returns dated as far back as 10 years can be reassessed.
Deductions and credits for caregivers
If you are a caregiver for a disabled person, you stand eligible for the family caregiver tax credit amount which will allow you to offset your expenses of caring for a dependent. You can also contribute funds towards a special savings account known as the Registered Disability Savings Plan. Contributions to this plan are not tax deductible and the amount contributed is matched by the government through Disability Savings Grants and Bonds. Children who suffer from ADHD, ADD, FASD, Asperger’s syndrome, autism, maniac depression, anxiety disorders, diabetes type 1/2, learning disabilities, epilepsy and irritable bowel syndrome stand eligible for the disability amount.
It goes without saying that the process of getting the disability tax credits requires knowledge of law on the subject. It has often been seen that ignorant people remain bereft of the benefits that the government has instituted for them. It is therefore wise to resort to the services of a qualified legal practitioner who can guide you through the entire process of receiving refunds. There may be small mistakes such as a wrongly documented medical certificate that may overwhelm you resulting in you quitting the idea of getting refunds. A qualified advocate can make you aware of your eligibility for disability benefits, assess the exact amount of refunds you are eligible for, contact the medical practitioner, communicate with Revenue Canada and do everything required to get you your rightful money.
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