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.

2,080 Responses to “The Disability Tax Credit”

  1. @call the main # first and get them to give a reason. for all you know they may be just asking for more info from u. I read that they denied someone first but asked for more info and once sent they approved it

  2. @doodle I just found out that Sudbury wait time are now 8 weeks!!! they hired more people can u believe this?????

  3. “Not restricted enough”. Go figure. Didn’t send that form to doctor, so didn’t even bother trying to find out. Just a flat out denial. Okay then.

    I called main number and got that “reason.” Woman at cra told me to appeal. Told me to wait for letter in mail.

    Called France Bastien, a medical advisor. Left a voicemail. Hmfph.

  4. @ doodle I’m very sorry to hear.

    is your child young?

    The letter is supposed to give a paragraph with what they are looking for.

    You are not defeated!

  5. @doodle is ur child under 6?

  6. @leah, no.

  7. @doodle it is interesting they didnt request more info my the dr.

  8. Hi my daughter is approved for DTC and the estimate for back pay is 10,700 I looked on my Canada revinue account it is only showing that the payment of 7,025 will b direct deposited on Nov 20th and the only thing after that is gst on Jan. My gf had two payments in just wondering if I’ll b getting two payments aswell? Like Nov then Dec. It also says not all payments show on the sight. I’m assuming they r behind cus when I call the Canada revinue number it says they r behind on them

  9. @ Leah yeah you can very much add more information but it would have to be from the dr that sent in the original application. if the dr has no more information then you can contact I believe Lynn Gaugher who is the CRA director her number is 613 946 3457. (this was the name and number posted on Facebook) . I only went the appeal process because I had no other information to offer. Hopefully she can help you get their opinion reversed. …actually think it was probably doodle that got her denial. They asked for the additional questionnaire from my dr and they denied me they day they received it. Good luck, I hope this Lynn person can help you get the answers you’re looking for.

  10. @paula thanks i was just lookin 4 the info in case i havent heard anything yet im at my 10th week

  11. @Paula, thx. Will try her on Monday.

  12. @doodle did u find out if u can just send more info? Did u hear back from the medical advisor yet?

  13. @Leah, no one called me back. I knew they wouldn’t (completely lost any hope here).

    Still waiting for the cra denial letter to arrive via snailmail.

  14. Cant cra tell u? They would have a copy of the letter.

  15. @ Doodle do not give up, just have the doctor re-due the original form- we had to do that and were approved. crazy wait times but in the end it is worth it!! some on this forum have applied more times then once.

  16. @Leah @Laura

    I think I am going to reapply with new docs and a long letter explaining/itemizing everything signed by the doctor. I think my mistake (after reading everyone else’s experiences!) was not having the doctor sign that letter.

    I will write the letter AND have the doctor sign it (if he agrees with it, of course!) and try again. I am not going to waste my time trying to pin down the first doctor who wrote next to nothing on the form.

    If I knew then, what I know now….ugh!

    Two weeks for doctor’s appointment, then a resubmit, then 8-? Weeks for another go-round. Full marks for perseverence, right?

  17. @doodle can i ask what ur dr wrote? Even tho he didnt sign ur letter shouldnt they have requested additiinal info?

  18. @doodle i sent a letter in 2 without a signature i foumd out it was assigned last fri but no updates its not even on my online account but it will be interesting to see what they do with it

  19. @leah, i just pulled out my photocopy today. Useless words. No wonder she got denied!

    I’m not even sure she filled the form out correctly!!!! There were a couple of missing check boxes!!

    Gobsmacked.

  20. @doodle i hear u. My dr missed 1 check box as well so we will see what happens. Write everything urself and give to ur dr to copy

  21. @dooodle what ur update? I was approved today. I have been following ur journey so i want 2 help if i can

  22. Congrats Leah!!!!!

    Redoing my app

  23. I know ur private i wanted to know if u would share the diagnosis is it asd or adhd

  24. @leah, asd

  25. @doodle thats what my son got approved 4 asd only how csn i pm u

  26. @leah, now that I reread my application, i see how there was nothing of substance in it. And if cra doesn’t read the letters we write, without a doctor’s signature, then they would have tossed it in the reject pile at first glance.

    New application getting sorted out now. Too bad my learning curve started AFTER i sent in my first application.

    There is no pm option on this site. 🙁

  27. …but I am thrilled you got in on the first try!!!!!

  28. @doodle i semt a Letter with no dr signature

  29. @leah, clearly, what yr doc wrote was better than whst mine wrote! Hopefully, THIS time will do the trick!!

  30. @doodle
    your doctor should write severe and restricted,for sure you’ll get approved.

  31. @Chel, thx.

  32. I mailed the T2201 for my daughter on May 9th, CRA sent additional medical to my doctor in August. On October 18th I was able to confirm with the CRA that they received the additional medical, from my doctor, on Sept. 18th (after weeks of being told that never received it). The CRA agent told me that a decision will be mailed out by November 13th. Today is the 13th, and I understand they are closed for Remembrance Day, however I am not seeing anything updated on the website. Assuming from what I am reading above, I probably shouldn’t hold my breath that they will adhere to the November 13th date that I was told. Should I try calling them again? Any suggestions, other than more waiting. From what I am reading, I have been one of the longer waits for a decision, over 6 months now….

  33. @amy did u check on ur account under the disability tax credit link?

  34. Yes I did, but they haven’t updated since they sent the medical forms to my doctor. they have everything listed under my daughters SIN.

  35. @ Amy, lol I called every day that’s what they’re there for. If they said they mailed out the decision on the 13th fine but they can tell you when the decision was before you receive that letter via snail mail. even though the credit is for your daughter under her SIN it should still show up under your account. Another thing they probably didn’t take into consideration was that the 13th was a “holiday”. Hopefully you’ll get the answer your looking for and it’ll be updated in your account tomorrow or you’ll get an answer from the agent. good luck 🙂

  36. Amy B, I applied on June first, so I was a couple weeks behind you, but I had a decision withing a week of them receiving additional info from the doctor. I think something is up!

  37. Amy – I am wondering the same thing. I am hoping that this isn’t an indication that they aren’t approving her based on the delay in responding. Thank you all for your help! I will call again today..

  38. Just called the CRA. Was told that they still have no decision as of yet, and she put a message to the agent assigned on the file that I need an update sent in the form of a letter or phone call (and took my phone number). I am a little concerned that this will annoy the agent assigned to my daughters claim and negatively impact her decision, however was assured by the lady that I spoke to that this would not be the case. She said that she can see that my daughters claim has been delayed beyond the normal time frame, and needs to get some focus on it. I am hoping that this will work, and I should hear something back shortly. Would be nice to get the ball rolling on submitting an appeal if denied. This waiting over 6 months is a little excessive, in my opinion.

  39. @Amy B
    wow that is a long wait- we also applied April 30th and were approved in August. however, my issue has been that we were approved for years 2017-2022 not for previous years 2009-2016 like my doctor stated on the original form. I had to send in additional information pertaining to those years and was told they received this info November 3rd but nothing yet. this whole thing has been so frustrating to me.

  40. @Laura – congrats on being approved! Good luck in getting the dates corrected. I couldn’t even imagine how long that would take to do! I agree that this whole thing is extremely frustrating. I am relieved to find this chat to know that I am not the only one having issues with the process.

  41. @Leah @Laura

    Congratulations to you both!

    @doodle

    I hope the supposed shorter time frame and a chance to redo the app will yield a better experience and an approval.

    As for me the doctor was sent a questionnaire Oct 26th and they gave her until Dec 29th to return it!?!?!? it also just so happens that my kids annual check up is Dec 8th so she decided to wait until then to do the questionnaire so its a waiting game.

  42. @keeks, form redone (with help from someone in the know) and just waiting for appt at peds office, for signing. Hopefully he just says “good job” and signs it….just seems like such a crapshoot with who you get at the cra!

  43. @Amy & @Laura – thanks for the advice! After calling them yesterday, I noticed my account had changed to show that I am eligible to claim the disability tax credit for my daughter 2004-2022.
    Does anyone know what my next steps should be? Or do I just begin the waiting game again? lol

  44. avatar Melissa McAleer Says:
    November 15, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Just curious how lobg everyones process has been from sending to determination thank you

  45. @Melissa – I applied May 8th & was approved today, so over 6 months.

  46. @Doodle

    Awesome! I also used someone in the know to help me with my questionnaire so that when I meet my MD she will have it (made).

    Yes, I too hope my MD appreciates it. I’m with you on the CRA.

    I look forward to your good news!

  47. @Amy B

    congratulations after such a long wait!

    From here you should call CTB and they should organized your first 2-3 years on the next qualifying payment. I’m not sure if it will make it for the Dec 13th payment, but you should start getting the lump sums by Jan for the first 2-3 years.

    Beyond the first 3 years ( most recent ones) you will need to write a letter to the CTB and tell them that you was the retro done for the remaining years approved. That takes a little time but no where as much as the Tax reassessment. YOU MUST WRITE FOR THE REMAINING YEARS AS ITS NOT AUTOMATIC

    Right now the Tax reassessment is anywhere from 25-44 weeks!!!

    There are others with more info, but to start its good. Also get all your info on and begin an RDSP for your child.

    Once again, congratulations!!

  48. @amy b u should get it 4 dec the agent told me the cutoff 4 calculations is nov 21st to receive 4 dec. Also another tip if u go online and reassess ur own taxes to add the dtc yourself it shoudlnt take more than 2 to 3 weeks

  49. Is there anyone that has been recently approved that can let me know how long it took to get back payment for their CTB?

  50. @leah

    YES! I discovered the benefit of doing the tax reassessment yourself this evening!

  51. @shannon what date were u approved

  52. @Leah & @Keeks – how do I go about reassessing my own taxes? I complete and file my taxes on my own so I have them available. I am so worried about messing this up, after such a long wait. Also do I go and reassess all the way back to 2004, the date that she is eligible? The agent I was talking to said that it is complicated to reassess yourself, and could add to the delay in processing.

  53. @amy i spoke to an agent this morn and she emailed me the links going all the way back to 2007 for both federal and provincial and she did a mock return with me she spoke to her supervisor and confirmed u can do it urself and its much faster but when u enter the 1st year b4 hitting submit it will ask if u want to reasses another year assess them all before submitting. What date were u approved? R u ctb benefits showing on ur online account yet?

  54. @Leah, I was just approved yesterday. The CTB benefits are not yet showing up on the screen, however it does show that I am entitled to claim my daughter, and the years of entitlement. It sounds like you had an excellent agent to talk to today, I felt like the one I spoke to was just trying to rush the call.

  55. @it should show up by nov 22nd if not call them and they will verbally give it to u

  56. @Leah
    About a month ago. Uploaded my request to MyAccount just over 3 weeks ago.
    Just wondering if anyone else recently got approved and received the back pay, and how long it took time we it on their account

  57. Im confused about the RDSP…is it better to contribute in the rdsp or resp. We dont qualify for the additional grants.

  58. For those of you that got an approval this week, did you get confirmation that the CDB will be deposited for Dec 13?

  59. @key as long as u have been approved tgis week i am pretty sure it will be dec tgey said tgeir cut off is nov 21st to recalculate 4 dec payment

  60. @shannon u requested on ur account for ccb backpay?if u call ccb they can open ur account and see if the benefit has been added to all the months yet as they did for me. They said the calculatioms will be available around nov 25 or w7 but confirmed the dcb amounts were added to every month/year i was approved r

  61. @Leah Thanks

  62. @Leah
    I was approved a month ago and within a week I saw the back pay for the last 3 years. I get that amount on Monday. But it’s been just over 3 weeks since I uploaded the letter requesting back pay. So based on what you said it’s around 7 weeks?
    Thanks!!

  63. @shannon sorry to be so nosey what date were u approved and what did it show up on ur account

  64. @shannon i dont kno about 7 weeks i sent the letter online on the same day i got my approval (nov 9th) when i checked with them this week they said all the monthly amount have been added since 2007 but since my approval was agmfter the cutoff for nov payment i wont get it til dec iy may be the full 10 years according to the agent but i am not sure. I am following this other girl that got approved the end of oct she uploaded her letter yhe same day and her account is showing the full 10 year credit that she will most likely get this monday

  65. @ shannon if ur bank deposited today did u get the cresit that u saw on ur accoumt today

  66. @Leah
    Today I got the 3 years back pay. I found out I was approved Oct 23rd, but I think they had processed it the Friday prior. I uploaded a letter Oct 27th to my CRA account. Nothing as of yet for 2010-2014 (the years I am missing).

  67. @shannon how long after u were approved did u see the amount u were getting on ur cra account? Also did it say the deposit date on ur online account? Have u checked with them as to when u r getting the rest? Im also confused about 3 years. Is it 2015 and 16 and half the year of 17 u got?

  68. any of you that was approved last, My Account updated to show back pay for Dec payment?

  69. @key i was approved nov 9 and no update for me

  70. @key when were u approved. Not the day u got the letter in the mail do u know the actual day ur online said u were entitled?

  71. @Leah it was Nov 15 or 16, I was told the cut off for calculations is Nov 21. So hopefully it shows up tomorrow

  72. those of you that adjusted their taxes through my account, did it change to reassessment right away?

  73. @key what dod was on ur letter u received from them about approval?

  74. @Leah I’m still waiting for it in the mail but it was approved last week. Have you seen any updates on your account?

  75. @key no and i receivef my letter today dated nov 14th. I called today and they saud the calculations may not come up for a week or so. But on my payments nothing has changef

  76. @ Leah it should update by the end of the week

  77. I need help. For 2014 what r the #s for line 318 and 5848? 2014 tax year

  78. UPDATE: Called this morning and my appeals agent said there was no decision. My appeals agent called this afternoon and ask that I call her back. I freaked and had 1/2 an hour before I could call her (I was working). I came home, did the dishes , made a coffee, cleaned the counter. I couldn’t call her I was freaking out lol. Did she want to tell me I was denied? Did she want to tell me I was approved? Did she need more information. ..I finally decided that I couldn’t talk to her directly so I checked my online account…APPROVED!!! OMFG!! I bawled like a baby. My fight was finally over. Then I looked at the date and it’s only approved from 2016 because I had no proof (she was assessed in 2016 by a psychiatrist. I’ll take the win for what it is but I’m going to see what I can do about getting them that proof. The hard part is over 🙂

  79. Leah, here are the numbers for the last few years

    Here they are:
    Year – Line – Amount
    2016 – 318 – $12,668
    2016 – 5848 – $11,909
    2015 – 318– $12,506
    2015 – 5848- $11.803
    2014 – 318- $12,296
    2014 – 5848- $12,369
    2013 – 318- $12,1877
    2013 – 5848- $12,246
    2012 – 318- $11,948
    2012 – 5848- $10,790
    2011 – 318- $11,623
    2011 – 5848- $11,645

  80. @amy thank u! Os this for ontario? Also do u have 2010

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