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I have compiled the following based on many years of experience with families, physicians & CRA. In recent years it has become apparent that many individuals are paying more income taxes than they need to, being unaware of or misunderstanding what exactly the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is. When the DTC is mentioned, the first response I often hear from both families & physicians is that the individual isn’t disabled. The DCT isn’t about having a medical disability, it is about the cumulative effect of an impairment & how long it can reasonably be expected to last, not on the severity of a medical condition itself.
If an individual’s physical, mental, or emotional condition impacts their ability or they are markedly restricted substantially all (90%) of the time in at least two of the CRA defined areas, they may qualify for a non-refundable tax credit. Per CRA, a person is considered markedly restricted when they are either unable to or take an inordinate amount of time to do one or more of the basic activities of daily living, even with therapy, and the use of appropriate devices and medications.
Another important area that is often missed, is when the restriction became a marked restriction. Doctors often rely on their patient notes as to when a patient first came to see them, or once a diagnosis was made. Human nature being what it is, we don’t go to the doctor until it is already a problem, or we have several problems that are enough of an issue that we need it fixed.
It is very important that the patient and, or their families look objectively at when they noticed each individual issue & inform the doctor of when it became a noticeable issue – the year it started. As stated on the form, this is not necessarily the year of diagnosis. Physicians aren’t mind readers & without you giving them that input, they must rely on their records.
Now some examples of how almost all seniors will qualify based on age & the way it effects their ability to do things. I recommend the patient/ family fill out a copy of the forms, so they are familiar with and have the information available prior to seeing their doctor. As stated on the forms, whether filing out this form for a child or an adult, assess your patient compared to someone of similar age with no impairment. This will include glasses, hearing aids, feeding, canes, walkers, joint pain, stiffness, regularity, mobility etc. Some of the following will apply to a lot your you or your patients, but we often overlook the symptoms of loved one and /or patients as the normal aging progress not a disability without realizing the cumulative effect on their daily lives.
The following are some examples of normal age-related impairments and how they fit CRA’s definition even though medically, there is no disability. I have referenced seniors in many of my examples, but this credit is not age specific & available to all who fit the CRA definitions for each activity:
Vision: For many seniors even with glasses, reading the smaller print on labels, cookbooks, medication bottles or the buttons on the microwave take longer as we must lean in to focus & read slower to make certain we are getting it right. We don’t realize it’s taking any longer to complete such a simple task, we aren’t inconvenienced BUT if my husband (who doesn’t need glasses or bifocals) just pops in a snack & pushes 1 min, it’s a 2 or 3 second job. When I’m reheating something at home, it’s probably only 2 to 4

seconds longer. Now, anytime that I use the less familiar functions, having to stop & look, it is a completely different story. Maybe this isn’t something you would consider a valid qualification for the DTC; I include it to help those considering the DTC to look outside of the “disability” box. That extra 2-4 seconds creates a significant difference when based on the percentage of increase. Per CRA & DTC definitions and guidelines, if this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted. Have you factored in the time of putting on & taking off your reading glasses or looking to them because they aren’t where you know you left them? Now apply this example to reading labels, cookbooks, directions, pill containers, as well as starting the zipper on a jacket, tying shoes, picking up a pin, screw, nail or earring back, going down an unfamiliar staircase or on a twilight stroll. How much quicker to complete are these everyday tasks when you can see clearly?
Speaking: Many seniors speak softly & are asked to repeat themselves or to speak up so as to be understood. This may also be the case for anyone who is shy or uncomfortable in certain places or circumstances. If this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition as by repeating everything you say definitely slows down the conversation.
Hearing: Hearing aids are remarkable, but if my finger dexterity makes it so that I keep dropping those tiny batteries every time I change them or I have trouble getting them all the way into my ear so they work properly, it not only takes substantially longer to complete the task, but I’m not hearing as well as I should & could be. There are also people for whom the hearing aids don’t amplify the sounds enough & we need you to repeat things for us on a regular basis. If this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition.
Walking: As we age, our balance and stamina diminish, but we can still walk down the hall, get our groceries, do our laundry, it just takes longer. If it takes an inordinate amount of time, we are leaning on the cart to walk through the store or mall, sitting down for a break or coffee part way through (gotta love all those mall benches and cupcake kiosks) all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition.
Is it as smooth & easy to sit down, bend over or get back up after a rest as it once was? There are also any number of conditions & medications which may cause these or similar side effects, possible adding a bit of dizziness to the mix. Just maybe they are affecting us more than we want to admit. If this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition.
Eliminating: The first response I hear is that they go to the washroom on their own, there is no problem. My question is – how often do you take a laxative or stool softener? Most seniors take laxatives or use other means regularly, and not for the great taste either. The same can be true for those that must use the facilities more frequently than what would be considered the norm. How much more time are you spending in the washroom compared with someone who is able to go several hours between trips? This simple non-issue means that it is taking significantly longer to

complete the task all or substantially all of the time. A school age child that regularly experience nighttime incontinence or needing to be excused from classes to use the washroom may also fit the CRA definition of markedly restricted if they are affected all or substantially all of the time.
Feeding: I know that you can feed yourself, but do you take smaller bites, have to chew more thoroughly, pause while eating, have difficulty finishing your meal in one sitting or eat more small meals throughout the day? How about preparing your meals, this is also considered by CRA a part of feeding yourself. Do you sit to peel the vegetables? If you use a walker or chair, does the maneuvering add to your prep time? Does it take a little longer to reach things? Is it as easy to bend down to get items on lower shelves? Do you need to wait for someone to get those items on higher shelves or can you still reach up to get them as smoothiy & quickly as before? Ail of these increase the amount of time to prepare and eat your meals. In addition, are you taking medications which upset your digestion, do they suppress your appetite, make you feel too drowsy to want to eat? Do you have a child that is easily distracted, must be continually reminded to come for meals, eat their meal, etc.? How long is it taking them to feed themselves? If this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition.

Dressing: Due to decreased finger dexterity, vision and balance it takes most seniors significantly longer to get dressed. Think about buttons, zippers, sitting to put on socks, sitting to put on underwear, standing to pull it up, sitting to put on your pants, standing to pull them up. Should incontinence garments, compression garments, braces or other specialized clothing be required, dressing can take even longer. An easily distracted individual or daydreamer may need more reminders to stay on task & finish dressing. Or perhaps it’s a memory issue, what did I come in here to do, or where did I put my socks, that is causing us to take more time to finish the task? If this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition.
Mental Functions for Everyday Life: This is best assessed by a professional in conjunction with the family often during an in-depth conversation. As we age, we get very good at the simple, vague answers leading people to assume we are fully following the conversation. Sometimes we aren’t able to follow the quick back and forth if multiple people are involved, sometimes it’s our hearing or comprehension. If this is the case all or substantially all of the time, you may be considered markedly restricted per the CRA definition.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this. I hope it has given you the information to better assess if you, you family member or patient qualifies for the Disability Tax certificate.
Some additional informa_tion:

-CRA has additional information specifically for doctors to assist with filling out these forms on their website. Should you have questions or require confirmation, please go to and type “Information for medical practitioners” in the search box. This will bring up the link with the most current information on how to fill out Form T2201 (DTC) with eligibility criteria and examples
-If your doctors’ office is submitting the forms to CRA for you, please request that they provide you with a completed and signed copy. Should there be any follow up required with CRA, you will have the information provided. Should you be required to
re-submit the forms, you will be able to do so immediately, without having to wait for and pay for, the doctor to complete another set.
-Please ensure that a year has been provided to the doctor for each of the sections which apply. Also make certain that the Cumulative Effect section (pg 4) is completed with the year entered being the earliest in which there were 2 or more qualifying categories.
-Most doctors charge a fee for filling out the form, please keep the receipt as it is a valid medical expense and can be claimed on your income tax return.
-Part A, section 3 – Please remember to check the “Yes” box. This will allow CRA to automatically amend the tax returns for all affected years at the time they process the DTC. If you check no, you will have to have the adjustments filed manually after you receive the DTC letter with the period of eligibility information.
-Please be careful; There are companies calling or going door to door, offering to do all of the paperwork for you. They will apply for the credit, charging a small percentage of your guaranteed tax refund. r.,:, f 1″‘:’ ‘ :: ,2,-·; the DTC is a non-refundable credit. If you have not paid any taxes in, it will reduce the amount of tax owed, but not produce a refund. The only fee you should be paying, is the one to your doctor for filling out the forms.

  • I am directly aware of a senior being charged $1,000.00 based on a guaranteed
    $10,000.00 tax refund based on the prior year tax return. The client was told that the fee was tax deductible, which it is not. Also, as no income tax had been withheld, in current or prior year, there was nothing to refund. It did reduce the taxes owing, but as a pensioner, not by anything close to $10,000.00. When they contacted the firm that prepared the paperwork, they were informed that the company based the fees & refund assessment on information provided & the senior provided incorrect information. As it was not their error, there was no refund due.

Thank you for your time, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 403-291-9047 or

Brenda Anderson
Omni Management Services Ltd.