The Disability Tax Credit is an ongoing and important advocacy issue for Diabetes Canada. 

A change in eligibility in 2017

In the summer of 2017, concerned individuals contacted Diabetes Canada about their DTC claims being denied. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had begun denying almost every person with type 1 diabetes, whether they were applying for the first time or reapplying for a credit they’d already been receiving for years. Ultimately, we determined that a procedural change implemented by the CRA on May 2, 2017 effectively blocked all adults with type 1 diabetes from accessing the DTC or RDSP.

Diabetes Canada immediately began partnering with JDRF, the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and BC Diabetes to push for change.

We asked the CRA to:

1.      Revert to pre-May interpretations of applications for the DTC from adults with T1D

2.      Review all applications denied since May 1, 2017 under pre-May interpretation criteria

3.      Re-establish the Disability Advisory Committee to provide a balanced patient perspective and ensure oversight of the CRA’s management of the DTC

4.      Revise eligibility criteria to explicitly allow carbohydrate counting (currently, this is not allowed) and make the application form clearer for doctors and patients to complete

On December 8, the CRA announced that it has implemented Diabetes Canada’s requests 1, 2 and 3, and that it will ask the Disability Advisory Committee to study our request number 4.

Good news

As of early January, Diabetes Canada is aware of 400 Canadians who had been denied the DTC since May and have been approved since December 2017.

What can I do?

Speak out!

Even though the 2017 eligibility issue appears to have been solved, we still need as many Canadians as possible advocating for fairness with respect to the DTC and RDSP!

Contact your member of parliament to share your personal story and concerns. Here are some speaking points for you to consider:

  • The complexity, effort and time required to self-manage diabetes is significant, involving as many as 600 steps every day, with the insulin injection process alone involving 40 steps
  • The costs of managing this challenging and expensive disease are significant and increasing, amounting to $15,000 per year out-of-pocket for some.
  • Studies show that these costs adversely affect the ability of some with type 1 diabetes to follow their prescribed treatment protocol, at significant negative impact to their long-term health and at significant cost to the Canadian health-care system
  • It is not possible to determine a dose of insulin without factoring in the amount of carbohydrate one is about to consume as well as other factors (e.g. exercise, illness, hormonal fluctuations, etc.). Therefore, the time spent counting carbohydrates should count toward the 14 hour per week requirement (currently, there is ambiguity in the guidelines around this issue).
  • Canada Revenue Agency needs to ensure that before any material changes to internal procedures are made, they consult with relevant stakeholder groups to better understand the implications of proposed changes. It should work closely with the Disability Advisory Committee and with relevant patient groups to conduct this regular consultation.

Go social!

Social media can be a powerful way to raise awareness and get needed public attention to this issue.

Here are some sample messages to help get your started:

Twitter

Together we made a difference & saw positive change on the disability tax credit. Now we need to continue with ensuring the criteria is expanded to all ppl with type 1 diabetes #cdnpoli

Including all activities related to insulin therapy within the disability tax credit criteria is consistent with its intent to relieve some of the burden of managing a life-sustaining therapy #cdnpoli

The complexity, effort and time required to self-manage diabetes is significant, involving as many as 600 steps every day – expand the disability tax credit @CanRevAgency

People with diabetes deserve fairness & financial relief. We urge @CanRevAgency to expand eligibility criteria for disability tax credit #cdnpoli

Facebook

Diabetes management is challenging and expensive, with significant costs that are only increasing. We’re encouraging Canada Revenue Agency and the Disability Advisory Committee to include all activities related to insulin therapy within the Disability Tax Credit criteria.  CRA needs to take responsibility for the inequality and unfair treatment of people with T1D.

Read more about those impacted – and feel free to share your story by getting in touch with us here.

Live a Day with Type 1 Diabetes

Why the Disability Tax Credit Matters to my Family

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