Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADHD, etc., are considered as learning disabilities. Having a child who has learning disabilities can be expensive, especially if a school refuses to identify and/or provide necessary instruction.
The Canadian Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a possible way to recover costs and to pay for future expenses.
It is a process that you must research before applying on your own or hiring a company specializing in DTC. Certain criteria must be met.
Filling out forms and writing the required letters takes a short amount of time. Form T2201 has a section that must be filled out by a medical practitioner, which includes educational psychologists who have an expertise in learning disabilities.
EVEN THOUGH your psychologist gives a significant and sufficient amount of information on this form, your psychologist will have to fill out another form.
If you are accepted, you will have to write a brief letter stating that you want benefits extended back to your child’s birth year.
You may hire a company to help you apply for the DTC. These companies have knowledge of this process and are knowledgeable about Canada Revenue Agency’s criteria. These companies will charge a percentage of the tax credit received. Expect to pay up to a few thousand dollars for their services when approved.
The constituency office may also help guide you.
When approved you will receive up to tens of thousands of dollars. You will also be eligible for other tax measures and tax credits such as: medical expense supplements, working income tax benefits, child care expenses, registered disability savings plan, certain education-related benefits, GST exemptions, and disability support deduction of expenses such as: tutoring expenses, talking textbooks, reading services, note-taking services, etc.
Canada Revenue Agency is looking for certain criteria. Some psychologists will need guidance on how to fill out the forms.
If criteria are not met, there will be a denial. You then can write a letter to have your application reviewed.
Use the guide below as it is a synopsis of information from Government of Canada.
Key Information for Canadian Disability Tax Credit: Learning Disabilities
Synopsis of information for Learning Disabilities from Government of Canada – see links below.
To help you understand the applying process, the following are key points of information from the Government of Canada website:
Guide RC4064, Disability-Related Information, is a great resource.
A Medical Practitioner must certify that there is a severe and prolonged impairment in mental functions. Eligibility is based on the effects of the impairment, not on the medical condition itself.
People who have dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, etc. were born with this condition. This meets the criteria of lasting, continuously, for at least 12 months.
The criteria must meet marked restrictions in two or more basic activities of daily living 90% of the time even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices.
You and your child’s medical practitioner must fill out the application form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certification with the following:
1. Information about the person with the disability.
2. Information about the person claiming the disability amount.
3. Authorization must be given to allow your medical practitioner to give/discuss information.
4.The section titled: Mental Functions Necessary for Everyday Life, may be filled out by a medical doctor, a nurse practitioner (they must have a report giving a diagnosis of dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, etc.) or a psychologist. Ideally, have the educational psychologist who made the official diagnosis fill out this form and give certification.
5. Your psychologist must refer to this section for requirements when describing the Effects of Impairment section on the last page of this form.
For the section, Effects of Impairment, describe everyday living supports and supervisions that are needed 90% of the time.
The following are key:
Lack initiative or motivation, disorganized behavior, and/or unable to anticipate consequences of behavior.
Adaptive functioning examples:
Abilities related to self-care, safety, abilities to initiate and respond to social interactions and common, simple transactions.
Ability to remember simple instructions, basic personal information, or material of importance and interest.
Problem-solving, goal setting and judgment (taken together) examples:
The ability to solve problems, set and keep goals, and make the appropriate decisions and judgements.
Remember: Effects of Impairment must be significantly restricted to happen 90% of the time with two or more effects.
Ensure that your psychologist makes NO REFERENCE, to school and to parental experiences as they will harm chances for approval.
Restrictions for daily things that take longer than the average person are to be written, such as:
-Cannot read or needs assistance reading written instructions, street signs, menus, posters, letters, faxes, emails, maps, etc.
-Needs help with finding and returning from locations
-Needs reminders for completing tasks: put boots away, clean room, put laundry away, put items in dishwasher, etc.
-Needs supervision for making payments and for receiving money, can be taken advantage of, etc.
-Need adaptions to express and communicate information: needs use of technology to help spell, needs an editor, needs time to write to take down instructions, notes, letters, emails, etc.
It is important to state these restrictions are life long (from birth and all day). Use an additional sheet as there is not much room on the certificate form. Significant and sufficient information must be provided.
Examples from eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit and guide RC4064:
Example 1, Garry can carry out the mental functions necessary for everyday live, but can concentrate on any topic for only a short period of time.
Other comments need to be written to describe: He is unable to anticipate consequences of behavior when interacting with others; he cannot make a common, simple transaction without help, such as a purchase at the grocery store, at least 90% of the time; he continues to need daily supervision given the unpredictability of symptoms of his impairment, such as his lack of initiative and motivation, and his disorganized behavior; etc.
Examples of some accepted DTC comments:
For everyday life:
-Never locks door when using a public bathroom, never ties her own shoes, never changes to wear different clothes without instruction, etc.
-Only sometimes bathes/showers without direction, only sometimes washes hair properly or tidies self or checks clothing without direction
-Struggles to attend and hold information of working memory long enough to recall and carry out instructions.
-Unable to read and obey common signs and recall routes.
-Weak recall of directions from others and weak directional orientation so easily lost. Unable to reliably follow traffic signals and access road situations due to high distractibility.
- Struggles to inhibit impulses. For example, sits in a chair dangerously, does not “stop and think”, easily exploited to due weak impulse control.
-Requires significant intervention to stop an activity and shift to another when required. For example, stopping required activity, move to another activity, and starting the new activity. Unable to self-monitor and evaluate proper completion of task. Needs assistance to edit written work and to read some instructions.
-Cannot consistently recall address, sequence for month of the year, coin values and combinations, basic arithmetic facts, letter-sound combinations, routes for travel.
-Will continue to lay behind peers even with appropriate medication, devices, and therapy.
Once received by the Winnipeg Tax Centre you and/or your psychologist will be contacted. A new form (questionnaire) must be filled out by your psychologist answering medical history and effects of the impairment(s) as they related to the condition(s) diagnosed.
Being accepted, you will receive a deposit (only for a certain amount of years). If you would like to receive Child Disability Benefit for years back to birth date you will need to submit a written request to the CRA. For example,
As per the letter dated (month day, year) for the Disability Tax Credit Program I was advised that a written request be submitted to claim Child Disability Benefit for years prior to 20_ _. Therefore, I am requesting to claim Child Disability Benefit for (name of child) for the (birth year) to 20_ _ base years.
(Sign and dated)
If you are denied you can ask for a review of your application (in writing within 90 days).
Manitoba Constituency Office
Eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/information-medical-practitioners/eligibility-criteria-disability-tax-credit.html
Guide RC4064, Disability-Related Information: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/publications/rc4064.html
Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pbg/t2201/t2201-17e.pdf