DAVID WILKENFELD, CPA, CA, canadian tax CONSULTANT

Establishing Disability

In Disability, Personal Tax on March 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

The Income Tax Act contains many provisions dealing with disabled persons. Such things as the disability tax credit, certain medical expense deductions, the registered disability savings plan and other provisions are currently available.

But before taking advantage of any of these rules, the first step is to establish that you have a disability that qualifies. To be more precise, you must be a person with a “severe and prolonged mental or physical impairment”.

An impairment is considered “severe and prolonged” if it is expected to last continuously for more than 12 months and markedly restricts your ability to perform a basic activity of daily living.

Activities of daily living include:

  • Mental functions of daily life, such as memory or problem-solving
  • Blindness
  • Feeding or dressing oneself
  • Speaking
  • Hearing
  • Eliminating (bowel or bladder functions); or
  • Walking

You would also qualify if you require life-sustaining therapy administered at least 3 times a week for a total time of at least 14 hours per week. This includes time spent by parents of children to administer life-sustaining medication such as insulin.

You can read more details explaining what constitutes a marked restriction for each of the above impairments by consulting form T2201. You can also take a short questionnaire on the CRA website which offers more details on the above criteria.

If you believe you have an impairment that qualifies under the above criteria, then you must obtain form T2201 (and if you live in Quebec form TP-752.0.14) and have it completed and signed by a doctor or other qualified medical practitioner. A qualified medical practitioner other than a doctor must be a medical professional that is recognized as such in the province where you reside. Optometrists, audiologists, psychologists, or physiotherapists are examples of medical practitioners that would be authorized to sign the form. Examples of practitioners who have been denied the authority to sign the form are massage therapists, acupuncturists and naturopaths (depending on their status in the province where they practice).

Once the form is completed and signed, it must be submitted to the CRA for assessment and approval. This process can take several weeks. You can either attached the form to your income tax return or send it in alone prior to filing your return, to avoid delays in processing your claims.

  1. [...] a previous article we discussed the way in which an individual must establish proof of a disability in order to claim certain tax credits. In this article we touch on some of what is available for [...]

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