The federal Disability Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit to be claimed by a person with the disability, or their proxy or attorney.
It’s open to Canadians of any age as long as they meet the requirements, which include, among many things, living with symptoms related to late-onset dementia.
Specifically, it’s for those with a “prolonged disability” that makes it impossible to carry out basic activities of daily living, i.e. “severe and prolonged physical or mental impairments.”
The credit is worth under $8,000, which could mean up to a $1,500 reduction in tax owing.
You must fill out an application (Part A), and then have a “qualified practitioner” or medical professional fill out Part B. If your application is accepted, you’re issued a Disability Tax Credit Certificate, which allows you to claim this tax credit until your condition changes.
Qualifying for a disability certificate entitles you to a host of tax deductions, including those for medical expenses.
Examples of expenses that may be claimed include: the cost of trips for medical appointments, medication, medical devices, cost of modifications to the residence, premiums paid for uninsured services, wages paid to care attendants and other care-related expenses.
Expenses may be claimed on the return of the person with dementia OR the return of the spouse or common-law partner.
Sounds good, no? Here’s the catch: The federal government makes it tricky to qualify and lots of seemingly eligible people get turned down. However, you can apply again a year later once your condition has changed, and many experts recommend you do.
The good news: As Ryan MacKellar, who blogs for the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, points out, “Perhaps the most overlooked and crucial detail of this credit is that it may be claimed retroactively, up to as many as 10 years.”
Which has special application for those with Alzheimer’s who are often not diagnosed till later stages of the disease.