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.

2,137 Responses to “The Disability Tax Credit”

  1. @Amy,
    We are at the same stage. The Dr sent the forms in around Oct 1st so they should have been received by the CRA early last week. I called Friday and they couldn’t confirm that they had been received but said the wait won’t be as long..

  2. @Leah – I had to submit a letter ( from the Dr) outlining his effects of impairments as opposed to the presence of the impairment. ( Because a 25 pg PE assessment wasn’t enough ) Original documents were sent in Nov of last year, we were declined in Feb. The Dr took the letter from CRA and we resubmitted additional information and it has since been re assigned to an officer as of the 25th of August, Its a super long drawn out process. It sucks and and I am not a happy camper.

  3. @katiedee omy thats crazy! 25 pages should have been enough

  4. Has amyone applied for high functioning autism and got approved 1st time

  5. @leah I’m with the Winnipeg tax centre, and my original post doesn’t make much sense :p

    they received the additional information last week, not next week lol

  6. @shannon they did confirm to me that they have the new forms… it seems that it really depends on who you speak to, and if they are willing to look into it for you :s

    I am so anxious to know, my maternity leave is over, and we can’t afford my daughters therapy unless I work, however I really need to be home and available for her… do I return to my job, or stay home with my children?! It’s crazy how long this has taken!

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  8. Is there anyone else out there that can say how long it took them once the CRA received additional forms (the questionnaire) from the doctor? I too deal with the Winnipeg tax centre. And has anyone had problems getting approved if their child has autism? My son has ADHD, high anxiety, and is higher functioning with autism. Thanks!!

  9. @shannon i am in the same boat as u my son has high functioning autism adhs and sever anxiety but the dr only put on the form asd let me know how yours goes

  10. Once they received my doctors letter, I was approved within two weeks. I deal with the sudbury office. My son got approved for adhd only. It all depends on the wording your doctor puts on the form and questioner. If you don’t get approved, i would appeal it. From what I gather, the appeal process is faster. Im still waiting on DTC. I go approved Aug3.

  11. @shannon, I called today, and was told they received the additional forms on October 5th, so I will keep you posted on the time line. She also told me that the processing time for the tax reassessment in the Winnipeg tax centre is currently taking about 23 weeks.

    I’m thankful that this tax credit exists, and thankful to live in Canada, but I just want to know if it’s a yes or a no!

  12. @laura every1 talks about wording but nobody says what it is. Can u give me an example of what kind of wording they r looking 4?

  13. One of the words I believe is “severe” in either sight, talking, walking ECT..

  14. 8 weeks today.

  15. @doodle has there been any updates? Is it showing on your cra account yet?

  16. @melissa

    My doctor put something along the lines that even though my son takes medication, the medical condition is life long and his judgement is impaired. He also mentioned that he is restricted in all areas of daily/academics/social areas. He mentioned that he requires constant monitoring. All of these are true statements about his condition.

  17. @shannon, we were approved today! So just so you have an idea, they received additional info from doctor on October 5, and approved today on the 13th… you will have your decision soon!!

  18. @Leah, ugh, week 8 and nothing.

  19. @Leah, you?

  20. @Amy
    You deal with the Winnipeg office?
    Do you mind if I ask what disability your child has?


  21. @doodle Nope nothing im 9 days behind u. Maybe if u call there will be an update. The more i read on here the more i realize it doesnt update on ur account until its almost done.

  22. It is the Winnipeg office. My daughter has several anxiety disorders, but the one we went on is Selective Mutism. It is a severe anxiety disorder, actually a lot of children with selective mutism first get diagnosed with autism, and I believe from what you wrote above we are in very similar situations. Best of luck for a positive response EARLY next week!

  23. stop saying high functioning autism. Functioning labels don’t help and are part of the issue. CRA doesn’t want to approve “high functioning” because then they are functional well enough in life . A disorder doesn’t mean you are disabled. It needs to be worst case scenario…

  24. @doodle its ur 9 week mark was hoping 2 see a positive update from u

  25. @Leah, yeah the date popped up on my phone this morning (I entered all the weeks on my calendar) and nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

    Someone upthread said, apply, and then fuggetaboutit….but that’s hard for me!!


    They said that I would hear by December 1, 2017. 15 week mark.

  26. @ur 9 weeks in but 6 weeks away 4 a decision its sounds better that way

  27. @Leah, good point!!!!

  28. We are still waiting for the additional questionnaire that was sent in over 3 weeks ago to be reviewed (or even marked as received). I called in and was told because they gave our doctor until Oct 24th to return the form that they probably won’t even mark it as received until after then. Very frustrating because things get lost in he mail and we have no way of knowing they actually have it Original application was received by CRA on June 30th so this has been a very long drawn out process for us. Almost 4 months now… It’s nerve racking waiting to know whether or not we will be approved.

  29. Just talked to CRA and they have jumped the estimate another 7 weeks, so looking at mid-December now.

    As a note, when you call CRA the message at the beginning actually has been changed to say that T1 adjustments are experiencing delays

  30. @ks, when did they originally get your paperwork?

  31. Just called too. Heard the T1 delay message. At this point, that doesn’t affect me.

    He said December 1st still for me (original application).

  32. @doodle we were approved end of June

  33. @doodle i called today they said its now 16 weeks????? I really hope she gave me incorrect info i was hoping someone on here can call and confirm that info

  34. @Leah, they said 15 weeks on Friday for me. December 1st, no change in that date.

    When i just logged on now, my heart leaped!!

    I saw a notation!!!!!

    “We have received your request.” Heh, only took them 9 1/2 weeks.

    Holy mackerel!!!!!

  35. Thats so good im happy 4 u that means im 2 weeks away from seeing that!

  36. @doodle does ur child have a sin#? Want 2 know bcuz all along cra has seen tge app as bein received on my childs sin. So im curious if it was transferred 2 ur num now?

  37. @Leah, yes, she does. They ask me when I call, “whose account is the application on?” Like *I* know!! Lol.

    But Now I know it’s on my account!! Someone might have transferred it over, but I have no idea about that.

    The cra disability dept hit the news this morning. Did anyone see that? About diabetics being denied the tax credit.

  38. @doodle just read it although from what i see its being more 4 adults

  39. …just wondered if it was all part of this “crackdown”. Not fair.

  40. We got our approval this morning!!
    But they didn’t approve 2007 – 2009… My son was born in 2006 so I assumed they would go back 10 years.
    Has anyone else dealt with this?

  41. @shannon what year did your dr put on the application for when the disability started

  42. Leah
    My doctor put since birth on the original application.
    But he must have put something different on the questionnaire… I have made an appt to go in and discuss it with him.
    I called the CRA and they said 25 to 34 weeks to get my taxes reassessed WOW.
    How long will it take to readjust my child tax once I send in a request letter? As long as for the taxes?
    They said I should have the last 2 years on my November payment but that I need to send a request for years prior to that.

  43. I think ur taxes have to be readjusted first b4 the back pay for ctb can be calculated its such a long process but congrats. U can also fight for 2007 as well simply ask cra how u can send more info in 2 have it go back

  44. Can we redo our own taxes and send it in to get it processed faster?

  45. I guess i dont kno how that works i just kno from some1 else they argued from birth and they corrected it for them.

  46. Last question haha.
    I had shared access with my ex husband for a few years, a while back. Does that mean they will split the child benefit with him? Or just the person who claimed the child on their taxes? Should I give my ex husband a copy of the approval letter to send in a request as well?

  47. Sorry i dont know anything about that

  48. @shannon,the dcb goes to the mother automatically and dtc claim goes to the parent who applied..

  49. @doodle beginning of May (paperwork)

  50. @ks, wow, this IS a very slow process! I’m getting more and more patient, which, I suppose, isn’t altogether a bad thing. Heh

  51. Hello everyone!

    I live in Ontario and applied for the DTC July 14th 2017. My son is 16 years with MID ( Mild Intellectual Disability) and Myopia where his vision gets worse over time; his current prescription sits at -13. I have tried to get assistance for him but either couldn’t do it for long or couldn’t afford it at all. Because of his age and his struggles with coping I have had to give in and apply for the DTC. October 23 2017 I was told it was being processed and I should call back November 24 2017 for an update to see if I’m being approved. This process is nerve racking especially after reading the fight many of you have gone through. My biggest fear is being denied and doing this all over again OR being discouraged and using one of the agencies that take 30% from you just to help you.

    Can anyone give me information they believe will help me? Thanks greatly!

  52. @keeks when did ur application get received?

  53. @Leah They registered it as being received July 14th 2017 ( When I actually sent in in the mail to Sudbury)

    Its SUCH an emotional roller coaster!

    *Thanks for replying!

  54. @ keeks they did that with mine 2 i mailed it aug 27th a sunday and put received on aug 26th??? They didnt get it until aug 30th tho

  55. @keeks

    Me too! How is that even possible??

  56. @doodle i know irs really weird but im not complaining lol.

  57. @Leah

    No Complaints here either! A blessing in disguise is what I will take it as!

    Okay ladies, I signed in to myAccount ( like I regularly do) and got this:

    October 25, 2017
    Help with this page

    Our records indicate the following disability tax credit information for:

    We are processing your request.

    ****** – 2001 (dependant 1)
    2005 – 2017
    We are processing your information for the disability tax credit. ******.

    This page provides information concerning the disability tax credit (DTC). For more information; see your Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment. If there is no information regarding the disability tax credit on your Notice of Assessment, you do not need to send us another T2201 unless we ask you for one. Your DTC claim may be subject to a review at any time.

    If you have any questions about the disability tax credit, please call Canada Revenue Agency toll free at 1-800-959-8281. If you are calling from outside Canada and the United States, call 1-613-940-8495 (we accept collect calls).

    Does this mean what I think it does???? I am about ready to glorify God right now!!!!!

  58. @Leah

    Just to add, the CRA didn’t have the application the whole time under my SIN, they had it under my sons SIN.

    Today is the first day that it is listed on my account. I also ticked the box for them to do the reassessments. I went to the Benefits and Credits tab, then clicked on DTC and saw the information.

    Also when I went under Tax Returns tab I clicked on DTC as well and the same information was presented.

    I have been praying about it hard as my ability to give my son what he has needed over the years has fallen below what he needs not being able to afford it. He has so many other medical expenses.

    I would like this to be within his favor, He needs the assistance.

    I am a single parent. His father went off the radar when I took him to court and hasn’t been working on paper to avoid having to pay. I think he has left the country so this is needed!

  59. @keeks thats great! What i dont undersrand is if they received it on july 14th y is it or did it take so long? U mentioned above they said nove 24th thats much longer than 15 weeks

  60. @keeks
    When you see that I believe it means they sent a questionnaire to your doctor requesting more information.
    So expect another 1 1/2 month delay.
    That’s what it meant for me.

  61. @Leah

    Exactly, the 15th week is this week or October 27th. I’m now looking at an expectation of an answer by Nov 24th according to the rep.

    @Shannon UGH this is getting more frustrating. I wish the rep would have said that they are sending a questionnaire to my MD. My question is why take so long just to decide further info is needed from the MD?!

  62. @keeks it almost seems like the cra agent knew it went to the dr and they have until nov 24th to report back with the info. I would call your dr. today and see if they received it

  63. @Leah

    Ah! I will do that. It is interesting that they choose not to just be clear on the phone or on the website/letter and say ” We need more information from your MD”…

    I personally call and check because of the lack of adequate information, inconsistent wait times and gaps. It just increases the intensity of my anxiousness.

  64. @keeks
    They were past the deadline of 12 weeks for me before they sent the questionnaire to my doctor in Sept (when I saw that processing bit on my acxoint).
    Forms were sent to my doctor the first week of September.. he filled them out on the 20th of September, sent them back. Wasn’t until October 23rd that they processed the new forms.
    Took from June 30th when they first received my application until October 23rd to get approved.
    Now I wait.. I was told they will reprocess the last 3 years of child tax for next month. And 25 to 34 weeks to reaassas my taxes. I also have to send in an additional request to back date the recalculation of my child tax, which takes two or three months.
    What I have learnt is that this process takes close to a year from start to finish.

  65. @doodle happy 10th week lol. Hey is this ur 10th week from the day u mailed it or the day it was actually received by cra?

  66. @Leah, ya, noticed that. Lol. Threw a party! Ha.

    A year, from beginning to end, of process!? Holy cow, @Shannon. No doubt, my doctor will get that letter too. Ugh. And thungs will grind to a wretched halt. As if day-to-day wasn’t challenging enough….

  67. @Leah, same freaking day! Sent and received on same day!!!

  68. @doodle then im 9 days behind u. I mailed it aug 27th actually received aug 31st. But according to cra it was received aug 26th even tho my dr didnt even sign or fill it out til the 27th. Was wondering if i should count from the 26th or when canada post delivered it on the 30th

  69. @Shannon

    I am very happy for you to have finally passed the worse stage. It will be a lot of waiting for me indeed but we will see what happens and hope for the best.

    @Leah @Doodle

    You ladies leave a trail of comedic dialog. I luv the way you find a lighter side! I hope you both receive approvals too!

  70. @ keeks when u find someone that is so close to ur date of original application u stick together. Right now doodle is my idol i look 4ward to ALL updates . Btw did u find out if aletter went 2 ur dr.?

  71. @Leah I totally get it!

    No response from my doctors office yet. She is amazing it’s just they have a busy system so I would have to wait a few days for a response. Sigh.

    I’m going to take this as teaching me patience.

  72. There isn’t a lot of information or sites to ask questions about the DTC other than this one. BUT there is another one with A LOT of help and a lot of information on who to contact to help people fight for the DTC for people with type 1 diabeties. There is a group on FB that I’ve found extremely helpful and it will tell you step by step how to appeal/apply for the credit. Can’t hurt to have more information right? Check it out or just search “disability tax credit and RDSP (Canadians only).

    My story update so far : I’m in the appeals process after being denied for my 16 yr old daughter with Behavior, Learning, ODD and anxiety. Sent my online appeal the end of jun and I received a letter stating that my appeal was sent to the appeal division. a few days ago I called the appeals division and I was advised that I would be receiving a call in 2-3 week to let me know how my case would be assigned to. fingers crossed I can get their decision reversed.

    Good luck to all 🙂

  73. @Paula

    Thank you for the information and I am very sorry to hear of your struggle, but inspired but your fight! I pray that all you need is approved in the end.

    @Shannon @Leah @Doodle

    I received a call from my doctors office this morning that they did not receive the form from CRA. They suggested I call them and tell them to resend, but they didn’t actually say that is what they were doing. I will wait 2 weeks before doing anything since they know to possibly expect one. Lets see what happens.

  74. @ keeks

    That’s great, maybe they didn’t send one then.

    My child tax has already been updated, took less than a week after being approved. I am assuming it will come with my November payment but I already know the amount which is great.
    They did split it in half for the time my ex husband shared access with my son, so I’ve let him know and said I would help in him sending a letter.

    I attached a request to back date the child tax to my CRA account yesterday, but have no idea how long that will take. Some one said two or three months, which isn’t bad.

    And I have an appointment with our Dr on Monday to ask why he out since birth on the original application but 2010 on the questionnaire.

    Has anyone signed up for a RDSP? Sounds like a better option than a RESP because of the matching he government does.

  75. @Shannon

    Wow, the ball is rolling at different speeds but its rolling and I am happy for you. At least you are realistic with the steps ahead. its good that you and your ex are able to communicate the entire process.

    I hope your doctor has good reason for that.

    I met someone in a supermarket one day who works with McKenzie investments. We haven’t sat down yet about what she has to offer, so far it is about he RDSP and I have heard it has great benefits indeed.

    I was told if you are going through your bank, get more info from outside sources. Apparently banks don’t give you all info.

  76. @doodle it seems like its aiming at adults morr

  77. I have been reading the facebook group posts. Wow, so many denials, for some serious health issues. Based on what I have read, there’s no way my kid will get approved!!

    I highly recommend joining that group. There is some advocacy going on as well.

  78. @doodle dont say u wont get approved. As messed up as it is its all based on the wording.

  79. Update: I just checked my cra account and I will receive payment on the 20th of this month for the rest of by cdb back pay. I received the first three years in sept and next month I will receive payment for 6 more years. The sudbury office received my request for back pay to the first year that I was approved for on Aug 16 and I received notice of payment today. That was a 10 week wait. Still waiting on tax reassessment.

  80. I received a letter today re the questionnaire. I believe it was Shannon that called it and it is so!

    I have compiled the description of his limitations for the doctor to fill in on the form. The facebook group provided help that I really really needed.

  81. @keeks,
    Good luck!! Be super detailed.
    I just sent in a request asking that they review my son’s file and backdate the approval from 2010 to 2007. I met with our doctor yesterday and asked why he put since birth on the original application and 2010 on the questionnaire. He couldn’t really answer me other than to say than that’s when more documentation started on his file. But he agreed that my son has had his conditions since birth and wrote a note/letter saying so. So I attached a letter from myself as well as the Dr letter to my CRA account. Even if it takes months for them to look at it, I’m glad I’m trying to get it back dated.

  82. @Shannon

    I’m glad you got your answers, but I do hope your doctor wrote enough to move CRA to make adjustments.

    Despite that, you have your foot in the door! I’m happy for you and your family.

    We are impatiently waiting to join that club!

    I do hope that the detail I have is enough.

  83. @laura,did you receive an email regarding your taxes adjustment ?im on week 5 waiting my taxes reassess.. received an email sept 26 re:taxes adjustment

  84. @laura,i was approved 2nd week of march,and still waiting for my taxes to be reassess…

  85. @chel,


  86. @doodle
    i know,this dtc processing taught me to have a lot of patience…8

  87. @doodle happy 11th! Do u have any updates?

  88. Update- I found out that my doctor has until December 29th to fill out the form. It was sent to her October 26th which is the same date as my letter information me of the delay that I received on Monday.

    Its a matter of getting my doctor to fill it out sooner rather than later.

  89. @leah,
    Nothing, nada, zip. People of the facebook group are saying a much longer wait, so my Dec 1st date may just magically morph to a later date. I won’t even borher calling. What’s the point?

  90. @i check in weekly 2 find out the wait time 4 sudbury location and the last 2 weeks it was 16 weeks this week it went back down to 15 weeks

  91. Knew it

    “You are not entitled to claim…….”.

  92. @doodle what? Omg! What were the reasons? What was the diagnosis?

  93. No reason given.

  94. @doodle they have to give a reason u can call and ask or wait 4 it in the mail. R u ready to reapply? U might be able to just give me info on this current application. Is this for your child? Its weird they didnt send anything to ur dr 4 more info but u can fight that.

  95. “You are not entitled to claim the disability tax credit for *************.”

    Nothing else. For my kid.

  96. Doodle, I know you ‘re feeling defeated , I’ve been there . Call back and ask them what the reason was, it’ll be in your files because they’ll be sending out that letter outlining the reasons. I’m assuming it’ll be the norm “is only present under stressful situations and isn’t present 90% of the time…”. If you have any more information backing up your claim give it. don’t give up! There’s money there waiting for your child.

  97. @ doodle I am so sorry to hear this, its such a long wait just for that. I would get on the phone with them asap and find out why and perhaps get a more detailed one filled out and send it right away. at least you didn’t wait 15 weeks to find this out

  98. @paula if its denied can u send more info in or does it have to go to an appeal? I was always confused about that.

  99. Thx @Paula and Leah.

    Do I just call the main number that I had been calling or do I go above them? There are numbers posted on the fb group of “medical advisors”. Someone very clever posted them.

    Yes, I feel very defeated. Do they just want me to walk away from this?!?!? No way.

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