Diabetes is an expensive disease to live with. That’s why governments have made some tax credits available to help reduce some of the cost burden to Canadians living with diabetes.
Some people with diabetes may be eligible for federal and provincial/territorial tax credits.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC)
The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. It was introduced in 1988 to recognize the additional costs incurred by Canadians when managing a physical or mental illness.
People with diabetes typically apply for this credit under the category of life-sustaining therapy (LST). To qualify for the DTC under this category, applicants need a form signed by their doctor stating that they spend an average of 14 hours a week on eligible activities.
The following activities are eligible to count toward the 14 hour weekly total:
- monitoring blood sugar
- preparing and administering insulin
- calibrating/preparing necessary equipment, including changing infusion sites for the insulin pump
- maintaining a logbook of blood sugar levels
The Canada Revenue Agency does not permit these activities to be counted:
- counting carbohydrates
- recovering from hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
- meal preparation
- the time the insulin pump takes to deliver insulin
- attending medical appointments
- shopping for medication
Programs tied to the DTC
People who are eligible for the DTC may also qualify for other important programs, including:
- The Registered Disability Savings Program (RDSP) – save for future expenses in a tax protected RDSP, which also attracts government grants and bonds (somewhat like a Registered Education Savings Program does).
- The Child Disability Benefit – a tax-free monthly payment made to caregivers of children under age 18 who qualify for the DTC.
Provincial and territorial tax credits
In addition to the federal DTC, some provinces and territories have disability tax credits or related programs. Consult your tax professional or provincial or territorial government websites for further information.
Pushing for greater access to tax credits
As valuable as credits like the DTC are to Canadians who qualify, Diabetes Canada maintains that they need to be more accessible.
For years, we've advocated for fairer access to DTC and related programs for people with diabetes and will continue to do so.
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