The Disability Tax Credit

There are two types of disability tax credits: non-refundable and refundable.  Non-refundable tax credits can reduce tax owed to zero, but can’t be used to get a refund. A refundable credit can reduce your tax below zero and provide you with a refund.

The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit, which means that someone who has low or no income will not benefit from this credit. However, the credit is transferable. So someone who qualifies could transfer all or a portion of the DTC to a spouse – legal and common law — who can then reduce his/her tax payable.

A lot of confusion comes from is the fact that the criteria for qualifying for the DTC is not precise.  In 2001, the criteria were expanded to include life sustaining treatments requiring 14 hours per week or more. In 2005 the criteria were expanded further to include the time needed to calculate dosage for medications that require dosage on a daily basis.

To simplify the qualifying criteria, the condition must exist for longer than 12 months, and must markedly affect one or more of the basic functions of life, which include walking, eating,  speaking, and self-care, or require a significant time commitment to manage life sustaining treatments.

You are eligible for the disability amount only if a qualified practitioner certifies that you have a severe and prolonged impairment and it’s effects on the form T2201, and the form is approved. There is a self-assessment questionnaire available on the T2201 form itself, so you can have a look-see to determine if you might qualify.  Also on the form are definitions of “life sustaining treatment” along with other terms. If you believe you may qualify, proceed with an application. No harm is done if you don’t receive approval but tremendous benefits can be claimed if you are.

If you are approved for the DTC, it is usually retroactive and in place for several years. Once approved, claims for the past years are done through a T1 adjustment. In the event that the approved taxpayer does not require the entire credit, an adjustment must also be done for a spouse’s or parent’s return.  These adjustments are processed manually by the tax centre so they may take some time, but they can result in large refunds.

Here are some examples for you:

  • A man and his wife have never applied for the credit.  Based on statements by the husband, their accountant recommended that they request their doctor to complete a T2201 form to apply for the DTC based on the wife’s deteriorating condition due to dementia/Alzheimers. The husband was reluctant due to the fact that his wife was in denial about the severity of her impairment. The application was approved retroactive to 2004. After adjustments, the couple received over $7,000 in refunds.
  • A couple with young children have been challenged by the wife’s cancer diagnosis. Her condition requires ongoing travel for treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital. Her application was approved and her taxes were reduced by $1,700 in 2007. In addition, she applied for credits for travel and meals for the trips into Toronto for the treatment.
  • A gentleman experienced a rapid decline after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, passing away within four months of the diagnosis. We processed a DTC application after his death and were able to adjust the return for the year he died.  And a portion of the credit was transferred to his common law partner.

If you think you may qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, here are the steps you need to follow?

  1. Download the T2201 form from the CRA website.  There is also a fillable version of the form.
  2. Have your doctor complete the form. Most family doctors are familiar it. They may charge you a small fee for completing the form.
  3. Send the form into the CRA and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Your application is reviewed to ensure that you meet the criteria.

Once you are approved, you will receive a letter indicating to which years any retroactive approval is available. The letter will also indicate how long you may claim the deduction without having to reapply.

For retroactive years, you can download an adjustment form or request that your tax preparer complete the form for you. Send the form in and wait. And wait. And wait!  These adjustments often take 6 – 8 weeks to process.

If you or your spouse will be claiming this credit, you should update your withholding information at your workplace by completing a new TD1 form. This will reduce the tax withheld on each pay, putting the money into your hands sooner rather than waiting for your tax return to be assessed.

Remember, once you are eligible for the DTC, you are automatically qualified for the Registered Disability Savings Account including all the grants and bonds.

FYI: I’ve had to go in and delete some of the comments to make room for new posts… you guys are the first to top out a comments section. I deleted a lot of “thank you”s and some stuff that was repeated often to leave the comments with the most info for new arrivals.

1,855 Responses to “The Disability Tax Credit”

  1. @ Bronwyn
    I will let you know how it goes the psychology is writing a detailed letter indicating her disability from2009.

    Since we were approved stating Jan 2017 does that mean we will get an adjustment for the Ccb. Not taxes as that is not real time but I am quesing from Jan -June for the child tax portion?

  2. @Courtney CCB is paid on the 20th of the month, so they will pay it out in Sept

  3. @Laura CCB is based on the previous year’s taxes. So, July 2017 – June 2018 is based on the 2016 tax year. Since you were approved Jan 2017, this will not affect anything until July 2018

  4. @KS Thank you! I looked at my account today on the CRA website and it says I will receive it on the 20th of September.

  5. avatar Brittanie Says:
    August 26, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Got the disability tax credit transferred over to my husbands account, they finally reassessed my taxes last week as they had to do so in order to transfer the unused credits to my husbands account, that took roughly 8-10 weeks, Are we going to have to wait another 8-10 weeks for them to reassess my husbands taxes?! I sure hope not! Tried talking to someone about this from CRA and they were impossible to speak too!

  6. avatar Brittanie Says:
    August 28, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    How long does the Winnipeg tax centre take to Reassess Taxes? Husband has been approved since end of June to claim the DTC for our son after it was approved to be transferred to his account, Mine are reassessed and done, it’s been roughly 8 weeks or more now since he’s been approved to claim it, they should be reassessed soon right?!

  7. @ Brittanie

    I was approved for DTC end of June as well from Winnipeg tax center. Called mid August and they told me 14 weeks.

    How long did it take for your tax to be reassessed?

  8. avatar Brittanie Says:
    August 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    @Jake I was approved to claim it for our son the end of May, requested it be transferred into my spouses account like a week after that, they still had to reassess my taxes as well, they just reassessed my taxes last week so roughly 12weeks, and it’s been roughly since 12 weeks since the transfer was approved and my spouses account says hes eligible to claim the disability tax credit for our son, and has since it was approved to be transferred over. I thinks it’s been more then 14 weeks tho if not close to it. I hope we hear something soon, and don’t have to wait another 8-10 weeks. I called the CRA again today and they just told me depends what tax centre, How do I go about contacting the Winnipeg tax centre?

  9. hi!my husband has been approved for dtc end of march,call cra winnipeg tax centre twice and said dtc refund will be on sept.

  10. I sent in my son’s forms they received in on July 14 I called two weeks after they said there was on open file and then today i called cra and they kind find thing they said awhile back no further info was required so does this mean tbey lost it or it was denied but they said if it was denied it would send a letter stating why and they couldn’t see anything on the screen in so confused its been 6 weeks already

  11. @Nicole, did you log in to your cra account to see if there are any changes online?

  12. @KS
    actually CCB is real time, not based on the tax year, the amount received is, and CRA did back pay from Jan 2017-June 2017. Also got an increase in my CCB for July 2017-July 2018.

  13. .@Laura

    Once you make more than $60 000,. Your CDB (child disability benefit) will decrease gradually from it’s maximum 227/month. Your CCB (Canada Child Benefit) will decrease gradually from a maximum $533 as you make more.

    Both CDB and CCB are paid together on the 20th

  14. Anyone else get a 35 week waiting period for the Tax adjustment from the sudbury office? I was approved aug 3.

  15. Very confused and frustrated: the DTC cannot read the medical information properly and yet wants more; but the doctor clearly said in the T2201 form YES it affects 90% of the time or more: DTC reads it as “doctor says it didn’t affect 90% of the time or more”. I wrote 15 weeks ago and highlighted and demonstrated how they misread or missed what doctor said; and they reply 15 weeks later they want “more info” before they can review. Even if we were to get the doctor to complete the form again, form will still say YES 90% of the time; so will DTC still after that be saying “Doctor report says NO”?? it doesn’t make any sense. The medical report is crystal clear, and the right box is ticked. I cannot get through by phone, by post or online, to anyone who will directly look at the file with me and understand that. Wow. Relentless wall of incompetence? Any suggestions?
    Winnipeg Tax office, BC file.

  16. @Laura ah yes my mistake. Good clarification.

  17. @ Dylan
    I went through the same thing with the Winnipeg Tax Centre. First they “lost” my application, after 12 weeks, I had to send it back in twice before they finally received it. Then they requested a questionnaire from the doctor (which I had to pay him to complete, in addition to the first and second applications). After about 6 months of re-applying, and filling out forms, my son was approved at the beginning of July. I am still waiting for them to re-assess my taxes and my Child tax/Disability tax for years prior to 2015 – they say this can take 16 weeks or more. The whole time line is ridiculous! There is nothing that can be done except wait around and check your CRA online account… They hardly ever answer the phone and even when they do, each person that you speak to gives a different answer. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but its the reality. I know that back further in the thread some people had suggested writing a letter to their MP’s… you might want to try that.

  18. @Laura that’s so strange you were given such a long time wait time, my taxes have already been reassessed and have already gotten my refund. I didn’t even receive my approval letter until Friday. Maybe mine was fast tracked because it was from an appeal? I have also send in a letter requesting them to go back to 2013 as my Dr. requested so we will see what happens.

  19. I just called The Sudbury office to check that they actually received my application. They have received it! Two weeks in. ?

    She asked me if I wanted the timeline checked (she was so nice!) and I said sure.

    14 weeks. Only 12 more weeks to go. Lol.

    Happy long weekend everyone!

  20. As stated, we applied in March for DTC, doctor completed form and clearly checked the box: Yes, it affects patient 90% of the time or more. Doctor gave details as well, on how it affected 90% of the time or more.
    In April, CRA Winnipeg denied claim, reason: doctor said didn’t affect patient 90% of the time or more. We phoned, wrote, uploaded letters and the files again, saying See yes, the doctor DOES say 90% of the time or more. We assumed CRA made a clerical error, and simply saw NO instead of YES. Because the doctor most definitely says YES, and in detail.
    We could never reach anyone in CRA DTC directly, to point out this was some misreading by them. Hd to point it out by post and upload, with yellow highlighter to make it easy for them to see.
    Waited 3 months to hear back from them; and they repeat themselves: they keep claiming doctor says No, and state that since they’ve made a determination based on what they have, they need more information from the doctor. Well, what would that possibly be? Doctor already clearly said YES. I suppose CRA just want to wear you down so you go away? It’s like Kafka. How can we possibly ask the doctor to repeat herself? How many times does she have to state YES, the patient qualifies? What guarantee is there CRA will ever read the file properly?
    Should we just go straight to the appeal process? After all, the doctor has nothing new to say, it costs almost $200 to get a medical report, and takes many weeks as well. ANd is stressful.

  21. @ella
    Thanks for your comment, and sharing your experience, just saw it. Good to know. Wow so you had a similar experience, with the multiple reapplying and re submitting of medical reports!
    Is it true that all the BC work was sent to the Winnipeg Tax office, I wonder. When will they take action to address it?


  22. avatar Lily Oliver Says:
    September 6, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Thank you for all you do to help! I love your shows and how you help so many people! I have my own guru and in April I’ll be out of debt and I am a recovering money moron but have a savings now and paying bills on time and living on cash and living and living life and your shows help me see things clearly! Love lisa

    @ happy wheels @

  23. Called the disability “benefit” line today. They told me they are processing my request letter asking for remaining benefit months to be paid out. Originally 24 months have been paid. Now waiting for remaining 18 months worth.

    Mailed in my request letter July 5th. They began processing it August 30th, 7 weeks for them to begin processing. From how I understood her, I have to wait 9 more weeks for pay out.

    As for DTC, I’m in week 10 of waiting. Was told it could take 14 weeks.

  24. @Jake
    Which office are you dealing with?

  25. @Laura


  26. Hi, My son was approved from 2013-2022 for DTC. I’m unaware of what happens now with the process? Under the Canada child benefit, it is stating Credit balance on your account “6,100$”. Can somebody help me out with this process? I don’t understand any of it, as it is all new to me.

  27. @kayla
    You familiar with “my account” on the revenue Canada site? On there, it will probably show you payout is on on September or October 20th. You have to click on the benefits tab to verify that. You should also have mail to read stating how many months were paid out. If not all months have been paid, you need to mail them requesting retro pay from 2013 or birth I’m guessing. This is all specifically about the “benefit”. I have not touched on the credit yet.

    By chance, do you have two kids, your payout was very similar to mine? My son was also born 2013.

  28. @Kayla

    As for DTC, did your t2201 application form have a spot on the first page asking if you wanted to have all applicable years reassessed? If you had that form and you ticked the yes box, you just have to wait and wait and wait.

    But maybe your tax office is more efficient than mine. I used the Winnipeg tax office.

  29. Originally I was told Sept 5 for DTC to propagate through all of our relevant tax years. I was told they are further delayed and the process may be taking 25 weeks.

    This is Winnipeg Tax Centre

  30. …….Is it because the longer we wait, the less money they have to cough up? Or is it because they just want to keep their jobs ticking over.

    A most frustrating experience for almost everyone on here.

    Has ANYONE had a pleasant experience waiting just a short time (read: less than 4 months!).

    So sad!

  31. UPDATE. Objection Filed end of Jun. Update on my CRA account again BACK to processing. Spoke today to a lady from the Eastern Appeals office. Was told it takes roughly 4-6 months before my appeal is assigned to an officer. so we’re looking at Nov ish and then however long it takes after that for them to possibly ask for any additional information or hopefully they wont need any more info and we can finally be done with this mess. I was figuring Feb so this is actually faster (hopefully) that I thought.

  32. Hi cra received my applicatiin 4 my son on aug 31st he is 10 yrs old. After callung 4 2 weeks 2 find out why its not showing up on my account they said it was put under my childs sin# and i wont see updates until a decision has been made.

  33. @Dylan did you receive an update yet? my application was received aug 31st so I am just under 2 weeks behind you

  34. @Jake.

    I have 1 child. We were approved about two weeks ago, I saw some things done on my CRA account. They updated what I would receive on the 20th of every month, and they added the Credit under that statement of account but nothing more than that. I called them a few times, was told different things so I just quit asking for information in regards to all of it as it’s confusing enough for me lol.. My tax center is located in Sudbury, I was told since my son was approved; the adjustments and payments will be made through another government party. It’s just a waiting game unfortunately.

  35. I have a question as well, If my son’s father and I aren’t together. I am a single parent. Can his Dad claim all the taxes from previous years? We do get along so it wouldn’t be a problem on my end.

  36. @kayla when didu apply? My tax ctr is sudbury they have had it just over 2 weeks just want 2 know accurate waiting time

  37. @Leah.

    I sent my sons application on May 5th, they resent a questionnaire to my sons doctor in August. I resent the form back August 24th and my son was accepted on September 5th. Which didn’t take long on that part, but if I go back since May. It’s super long. Now it’s just a waiting game to see when I will be getting other information in regards to retroactive payments.

  38. @kayla i am pretty sure u met the cutoff for the next ccb payment so it will most likely be on there. Based on ur dates it really us a 4 month wait. I was hoping it would be faster!

  39. @Leah.

    I was told that I wouldn’t get the disability amount for September’s pay out, but it will be in October. We have an outstanding credit from previous years that they owe my son, but we are unaware of when that pay out will be.

  40. @kayla do u mind if i ask what ur child diagnosis is? If its petsonal i completely understand . My child has autism just wondering if its a battle with cra 4 approval

  41. @Leah.
    Of course it isn’t a problem, My son has autism as well. He’s going to be 4, low functioning/non-verbal.

  42. @kayla thanks for sharing and congratulations!

  43. Hi!is there anyone who was advised to receive the dtc refund on sept 27?i was wondering why my cra account doesn’t show any computation.

  44. Called yesterday to find out the “wait”. 15 weeks now. Was 14 weeks. Will hear by December 1st.

  45. @doodle i called to see if there is any updates and they said 15 weeks 2 me too! When did they receive yours? Mine was posted on my childs account NOT mine! They said it happens and if it gets approved they transfer it to my account

  46. @Leah @doddle

    Which tax office are you with?

  47. @laura sudbury tax office

  48. @laura, sudbury too.

    She asked me “which account was it on?” and I said I didn’t know…she only took my SIN number, put me on hold, then came back a minute later and said “yes, I see it here, 15 weeks waiting, right now.”

    @leah, mine was received at Sudbury on August 17th. I’m now at week 5 (and 2days, but who’s counting! LOL)

  49. @doodle min was received aug 31st. They now said dec 12 it should be complete which originally it was dec 7th so yes its 15 weeks now. I hope it goes faster tho. U and i are approx 2 weeks within one another lets keep each other posted as we seem to be goin thru this journey within the same time frames

  50. @leah, sounds good. Cra said that I SHOULD hear by then, if not sooner. Hoping for sooner!

    For others who received “notification” on their cra account that your file was “being processed”, where did you view that: on the Benefits and Credits page, under the “Disability” heading or ?

    Realizing that it might not show up until I get an answer….but I like to check. ?

  51. @leah @doodle

    I was approved on Aug 3 and they sudbury tax office told me it was a 35 week wait for my tax adjustment. Are you referring to the tax adjustment wait or are you still waiting for approval for the DTC?

  52. @laura still waiting for a decision not an adjustment. At least ur approved already how long did it take and what office is it

  53. @doodle someone i kno told me she got an approval letter in the mail b4 it was even available 2 view on her account

  54. @Laura, original approval.

    35 weeks?!?!?! Omgoodness!!!

  55. @Leah

    I am also with the Sudbury tax office. I sent in the T2201 back in April and was approved in Aug. They did request additional information from my doctor. The only thing I received from them was the CDB credit for the past three years. I wrote in asking them to back date the cdb credit which is separate from the tax adjustment to 2008, the year my dtc was approved from. The wait for this apparently is 12 weeks from when they received my letter.

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