Webinar - Persons with disabilities

Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired on December 14, 2022. For the most recent information on these topics, go to Tax credits and deductions for persons with disabilities - Canada.ca.


Benefits and credits for persons with disabilities

Nicole: Hi, my name is Nicole. I work at the Canada Revenue Agency, also known as the CRA.

I’m very happy to be here today to talk to you about the disability tax credit and other benefits and credits that you may be entitled to.

[An individual in a wheelchair pets their dog.]

Land acknowledgement

Nicole: Given that we are meeting virtually, I wish to acknowledge that the lands on which I am presenting from are part of the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties, is within the lands protected by the "Dish With One Spoon" wampum agreement, which was an agreement between the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes, and is directly adjacent to Haldimand Treaty territory.

I also want to acknowledge the lands on which you are gathered from coast to coast and invite you to take a moment of silence to have a thought for the territory in which you find yourself.


Nicole: Today, we will cover:

I will conclude today’s presentation by sharing the different ways you can do your taxes, going over CRA’s digital services like My Account, and giving you tools to protect yourself from scams.

[An individual wearing headphones using their laptop.]

Disability tax credit (DTC)

Nicole: The disability tax credit, DTC for short, is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting family members reduce the income tax they may have to pay. A supporting family member can be a spouse or common-law partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the person with the disability.

The purpose of the DTC is to provide some relief for unavoidable, additional expenses that result from living with a disability. It helps to offset costs other taxpayers don’t have to face.

Being eligible for the DTC can open the door and act as a gateway to other federal, provincial, and territorial programs, such as the registered disability savings plan, the Canada workers benefit, and the child disability benefit. I will speak more on these programs shortly.

For more information on the DTC, visit canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.

[An individual wearing headphones using their laptop.]

Eligibility for the DTC

Nicole: When we talk about eligibility, it’s important to note that eligibility for the disability tax credit is not based on the medical condition itself but rather on the effects of a particular impairment on the individual’s ability to perform basic activities of daily living.

For example, let’s say two people have the same medical condition and they both have a walking impairment.

Over the same distance, one can walk at a reasonable pace while the other needs a walker and must stop frequently to rest.

Although these two people have the same medical condition, the effects are different.

A medical practitioner has to certify that you have a severe and prolonged impairment and tell us the effects of that impairment. Eligibility for the DTC is based on the information they provide. Your medical practitioner must also tell us the year you became markedly restricted in a particular category of impairment. We’ll explain the term "markedly restricted" later in the presentation.

Please also note that you may not be eligible for the DTC even if you receive the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits, workers' compensation benefits, or other types of disability or insurance benefits. These programs have other purposes and different criteria.

The one way to find out if you’re eligible is to fill out and submit Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, with input from your medical practitioner.

[An individual holds another individual’s arm and both are laughing.]

DTC terms to know

Nicole: Here are some terms we use when discussing the DTC:

Marked restriction

You may be eligible if you have an impairment in physical or mental functions that is severe and prolonged which impacts your abilities to perform daily tasks.

A marked restriction means that

The medical practitioner must also tell us the year you met the eligibility criteria. This is not necessarily the date a medical practitioner made the diagnosis but rather when you began to experience marked restrictions in a particular category of impairment.

Life-sustaining therapy

Following recent changes to the legislation, the criteria for life-sustaining therapy is now met when therapy is needed to support a vital function at least 2 times per week, for an average of at least 14 hours a week. This is true even if the therapy eases the symptoms. I will cover the recent changes to the legislation on the next slide.

You must also have to dedicate time for the therapy – that is, you have to take time away from your normal, everyday activities to receive it. This time includes the time you need to set up a portable device.

There are some activities that do not count in the 14 hours per week requirement. Some examples include:

Cumulative effect of significant limitations

To be eligible for the DTC under the cumulative effect of significant limitations category, you must have limitations in two or more categories with the exception of life-sustaining therapy.

These limitations must exist together all or substantially all of the time and have a combined impact that is:

Please note that when we say all or substantially all of the time, it generally means 90% or more of the time.

DTC categories of impairment

Nicole: Impairments can exist in any of the following categories:

To be eligible for the DTC, you must have a severe and prolonged impairment in one of these categories, significant limitations in two or more categories, or receive therapy to support a vital function.

As a result of new legislation, eligibility criteria for mental functions and life-sustaining therapy was updated for 2021 and future tax years. The list of mental functions necessary for everyday life was expanded and the frequency of life-sustaining therapy was reduced from three times a week to two for a total of at least 14 hours per week. Also, anyone with Type 1 diabetes now automatically meets the DTC eligibility criteria and their medical practitioner no longer has to provide details of their therapy.

Applications for the 2021 tax year or later will be reviewed under the new criteria. Applications for the 2020 tax year or earlier are assessed under the previous criteria.

This means, for example, if you are applying for life sustaining therapy for 2020 or prior years, the information provided by your medical practitioner on Form T2201 must show how you met the criteria that applies for those years.

For more information on the disability tax credit and the eligibility criteria, go to canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.

How to apply for the DTC - by paper form

Nicole: There are two ways to apply for the DTC. The first is by manually filling out a paper Form T2201, which can be found on our website. When completing the T2201 manually, the following steps apply:

First, fill out the sections of Part A that apply to you. If you want us to adjust your tax returns, make sure to indicate it in question 3 of Part A.

Then, take the form to a medical practitioner who can complete Part B of Form T2201.

And finally, submit the completed form one of two ways. Electronically by using the "Submit documents" feature in My Account or Represent a Client or by mail to your nearest tax centre.

Always keep a copy for your records.

For more information on the Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, visit canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.

[A snapshot of page 1 of Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate.]

How to apply for the DTC - digital form

Nicole: You can also apply for the DTC using the DTC digital application.

When using the digital application, follow these steps:

First, ask your medical practitioner to fill out Part B.

If you and your medical practitioner think you may be eligible for the DTC, you can direct your medical practitioner to the digital application for medical practitioners, which can be found at canada.ca/dtc-digital-application.

This service allows your medical practitioner to complete Part B of Form T2201 by answering a series of questions which will provide the CRA with the information needed to determine your eligibility. At the end of the digital application, a PDF will be generated that your medical practitioner must print and sign.

Next, take the printed form from your medical practitioner and fill out the sections of Part A that apply to you. If you want us to adjust your previously filed tax returns, make sure to indicate it in question 3 of Part A.

And finally, submit your completed Form T2201 to the CRA.

There are two ways you can submit Form T2201, as well as any related letter or document:

Medical practitioners who can certify impairments

Nicole: Medical doctors and nurse practitioners can certify all sections on Form T2201. Other medical practitioners can also fill out Part B of your form, but they can only certify impairments under certain categories.

For example, an optometrist can certify vision, a speech-language pathologist can certify speaking, and an audiologist can certify hearing. To find this list of medical practitioners that can certify certain impairments, visit canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.

[A chart highlighting examples of medical practitioners and impairments they can certify.]


Nicole: Please note that the CRA never charges a fee to process Form T2201.

However, your medical practitioner may charge you a fee to complete the form. You may be able to claim any fees you pay to medical practitioners as a medical expense on your tax return.

[A medical practitioner with four colleagues out of focus in the background.]

After you apply

Nicole: Once the CRA receives your application, we will review the information you provided to determine your eligibility. You can track the progress of your application by logging into My Account.

Once the CRA completes the review, they will then send you a notice of determination within 8 weeks. It may take longer if information is missing. If the CRA determines that you’re eligible for the DTC, you can claim the disability amount on your income tax and benefit return.

If you do not need the entire disability amount to reduce your income tax, you may also transfer some or all of the disability amount to the supporting family member you identified on the DTC application form.

If you were eligible for the DTC for previous years but didn’t claim the disability amount on your tax return, you can ask for adjustments to your tax returns for up to 9 previous years on your DTC application form.

As we discussed, eligibility for the DTC is not based on the medical condition, but on the effects of the impairment.

If your application is denied, you can ask us to review your file if you disagree with our decision or if your medical condition changes. Be sure to include any relevant medical information you have not already sent.

Make your request for a review within one year of the date of your notice of determination; otherwise, you will have to send us a new Form T2201.

Amounts you can claim

Nicole: As mentioned, after your DTC application is approved, you can claim the disability amount on your tax return. You can claim the disability amount for yourself, for a dependant, or for spouse or common-law partner.

If you’re eligible for the DTC and you are 18 years or older, the amount you can claim on your 2021 tax return is $8,662.

If you’re eligible for the DTC and were under 18 years of age at the end of the year, or if you are the parent of a child who is under 18 and is eligible for the DTC, you can claim up to an additional $5,053.

Please also note that provincial and territorial disability amounts and tax credit rates vary among provinces and territories.

[An individual virtually communicating through sign language on their laptop.]

Child disability benefit

Nicole: Let’s now go over benefits, credits, and deductions you may be entitled to as well as long-term savings programs provided by the Government of Canada.

We’ll start with the child disability benefit. The child disability benefit is for families who care for a child under 18 and is eligible for the disability tax credit. It is a tax-free payment of up to $2,985 annually.

If you are already receiving the Canada child benefit for a child in your care who is eligible for the disability tax credit, you do not need to apply for the child disability benefit. You will get it automatically.

The child disability benefit is paid monthly to the person who receives the Canada child benefit for that child.

For more information on the child disability benefit, go to canada.ca/child-disability-benefit.

[An individual communicating through sign language with a child.]

GST/HST credit

Nicole: Next, we’ll talk about one of the CRA’s most common credits - goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, more commonly known as the GST/HST credit.

The GST/HST credit is a quarterly tax-free payment for people with low and modest incomes. It helps offset the GST or HST they pay on goods and services.

To get it, all you have to do is your taxes every year, even if you have no income to report.

The CRA will confirm if you are eligible, and how much you will get when you do your taxes.

Also, to support those most affected by inflation, the government recently doubled the GST credit for six months. You don't need to apply. This additional one-time payment started to be sent on November 4, 2022 to those who qualified for the GST/HST credit in October 2022.

For more information on the GST/HST credit, visit canada.ca/gst-hst-credit.

[An individual’s hands using a laptop and calculator.]

Canada workers benefit (CWB) disability supplement

Nicole: If you are eligible for the DTC, you may also be eligible for the Canada workers benefit disability supplement. The Canada workers benefit disability supplement is a refundable tax credit for low income workers and their families.

You apply for the Canada workers benefit when you do your taxes. Tax software will automatically calculate it. And if you file on paper, completing Schedule 6 will allow you to apply.

You can also apply to receive up to half of your benefit in advance payments, which include the disability supplement portion.

You can apply for advance payments through My Account or by mail.

For more information on the Canada workers benefit and the disability supplement, visit canada.ca/canada-workers-benefit.

[An individual seated on the ground of a tomato garden.]

Home accessibility tax credit

Nicole: The home accessibility tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit that you may be eligible for.

You may be able to claim the home accessibility tax credit if you own a home in Canada and you paid for eligible renovations to improve the safety or accessibility of the home for yourself or for another eligible individual.

You can claim up to $20,000 each year in eligible expenses. This can result in a tax credit of up to $3,000.

You may be eligible for this credit if you’re 65 or older or if you qualify for the disability tax credit. Or, you may claim for a dependant, if certain criteria are met.

You can find more information on the home accessibility tax credit at canada.ca/line-31285.

[A rolled out home design blueprint with a hard hat, pencil, and tape measure on top.]

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

Nicole: We’ve talked about your income tax and benefit return, but what about saving for the future? Let’s go over how the Government of Canada can help you save for long-term.

A registered disability savings plan, or RDSP for short, is intended to help individuals with disabilities who are approved for the disability tax credit save for their long-term financial security.

Contributions to an RDSP can be made until the end of the year that the beneficiary turns 59. And, the Government will pay matching grants and bond amounts to eligible beneficiaries on or before December 31st of the year that the beneficiary turns 49.

The government will pay a matching grant of between 100% – 300% into the RDSP, depending on the beneficiary's adjusted family net income and the amount contributed. An RDSP can get a maximum of $3,500 in matching grants in one year, and up to $70,000 over the beneficiary's lifetime.

For low- and modest- income families, the Government of Canada will also pay into the RDSP with the Canada disability savings bond of up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of $20,000 over the beneficiary’s lifetime. No personal contributions have to be made to get the bond; it will automatically be deposited into the RDSP of those beneficiaries that meet the income threshold.

While you need to be eligible for the DTC to open an RDSP and make contributions, you will not have to close your RDSP if your DTC eligibility changes.

Both the grant and the bond are administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

For more information on RDSPs, visit canada.ca/taxes-rdsp.

Canada Dental Benefit

Nicole: The government has launched the new interim Canada Dental Benefit. This benefit provides financial support for families who have an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000, and have out-of-pocket dental care expenses for their children under 12 between October 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

If you are a parent or guardian of eligible children under 12 years old you will have to attest that:

In order to apply, remember that you need to be receiving the Canada Child Benefit for your child and to have filed your 2021 tax return. Also remember that you must keep your receipts or records from your dental appointment for 6 years.

Canada Dental Benefit

Nicole: Depending on your net income, your non-taxable Canada Dental Benefit payments could be as high as $650 per child, per year.

Applications opened on December 1, 2022 and the first year of the program will cover expenses retroactive to October 1, 2022 and until June 30, 2023.

[A smiling child.]

Canada Dental Benefit

Nicole: You can apply for the Canada dental benefit through My Account which is the quickest, easiest and most secure way to complete your application. If you apply online and are signed up for direct deposit, you could receive your payment within 5 business days!

Did you know that you can also securely access CRA’s My Account from your My Service Canada Account without having to sign in again or revalidate your identity? The link will take you directly to your CRA My Account within a single secure session, where you can then apply.

If you are unable to apply online or would prefer to call us, please call 1-800-715-8836.

For more information on the Canada Dental Benefit, visit canada.ca/dental.

One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit

Nicole: The government has approved a one-time payment of $500 to assist lower-income renters 15 years and older. This benefit is available to renters who:

For example, if the cost of your rent in 2022 is $500 per month, that means an expense of $6,000 for 12 months. If your adjusted family net income in 2021 was $20,000 or less, then you paid at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income on rent for your principal residence in Canada in 2022.

Applications for this single payment opened on December 12, 2022.

One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit

Nicole: You can apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit through My Account.

If you are unable to apply online or would prefer to call us, please call 1-800-282-8079.

For more information on the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit including the online application form, visit canada.ca/one-time-housing-benefit.

Canada caregiver credit

Nicole: Next, let’s have a look at the Canada caregiver credit. This credit is tailored towards caregivers.

The Canada caregiver credit is for those who support a spouse or common-law partner, or a dependant with a physical or mental impairment.

The credit may also be claimed for an individual or their spouse's or common-law partner's child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew.

An individual is considered to be dependent on someone for support if they rely on them to regularly and consistently provide them with some or all of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing.

When claiming the Canada caregiver credit, the CRA may ask for a signed statement for the individual from a medical practitioner showing when the impairment began and what the duration of the impairment is expected to be.

However, you don’t need one if the CRA already has an approved Form T2201, for the Disability Tax Credit, for a specified period for them.

The Canada caregiver credit is a non refundable tax credit. This means it reduces the amount of income tax the supporter may have to pay.

For more information on the Canada caregiver credit, visit canada.ca/caregiver-credit.

[An individual’s hands holding and supporting another individual’s hand.]

Medical expenses

Nicole: Another non-refundable tax credit you may be able to claim are medical expenses.

You can claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for yourselves and your children under 18 years of age.

You can also claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for certain family members who depended on you for support and were residents of Canada at any time in the year.

In terms of expenses you can claim a wide range of products, procedures, and services, such as medical supplies, dental care, and travel expenses.

But you can only claim the part of an eligible expense for which you have not been or will not be reimbursed. So, if you’ve received a portion of the cost you paid through an insurance claim, you can’t claim the amount that was reimbursed.

You should note that most claims don’t require you to be eligible for the disability tax credit.

For more information on eligible medical expenses and how to claim them on your tax return, visit canada.ca/taxes-medical-expenses.

Disability supports deduction

Nicole: One deduction you may be able to claim on your return is the Disability supports deduction. A deduction reduces the amount of income you pay tax on, which reduces your overall income tax.

If you have an impairment in physical or mental functions and have paid for certain medical expenses, you may be able to claim the disability supports deduction. You do not need to be approved for the DTC in order to be eligible to claim this deduction.

You may be able to deduct the expenses you paid in the year so that you could:

Only the person with the disability can claim expenses for this deduction.

For more information on the disability supports deduction, including a list of eligible expenses and how to claim them, visit canada.ca/line-21500.

Home buyers’ plan

Nicole: Another government program that can help you with your long term planning is the home buyers plan.

The Home Buyers' Plan is a program that allows you to withdraw from your registered retirement savings plans, known as your RRSPs, to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability.

This plan allows you to pay back the withdrawn funds within a 15-year period.

You can withdraw from more than one RRSP as long as you are the owner of each RRSP. Your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on withdrawn amounts of $35,000 or less.

Certain conditions must be met in order to be eligible to participate in the home buyers’ plan.

Also, if you buy or build a qualifying home for a related person with a disability, or help a related person with a disability to buy or build a qualifying home, the individual with a disability must use and consider that home as their principal place of residence.

For more information on the Home buyers’ plan, visit canada.ca/home-buyers-plan.

There are a few ways to do your taxes!

Nicole: There are a few ways to do your taxes:

You can do your taxes online. This is the fastest way as tax returns filed electronically are typically processed within two weeks. Certified software is available to make online filing easy, and some software products are even free (canada.ca/netfile). The tax software guides you and calculates everything for you. It helps make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits and credits. Make sure to also sign up for direct deposit, so if you are eligible for a refund, you can receive it faster!

Volunteers may be able to help you do your taxes for free. There are tax clinics hosted by community organizations across Canada for those with a modest income and simple tax situation. For more information, go to canada.ca/get-tax-help.

You can also get help from a family member, a friend, or a tax preparer.

Or, you can download a tax package, fill out the paper forms and mail them to the CRA. You must use the package for the province you lived in on December 31. To get a package, go to canada.ca/taxes-general-package or call the CRA at 1-855-330-3305.

Free tax help

Nicole: As I mentioned, you may be able to get your taxes done by a volunteer, for free!

The program is called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. In Quebec, it’s known as the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.

You’re eligible to have your taxes done through the program if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

Generally, a modest income is less than $35,000 for a single person and less than $45,000 for a couple.

Your tax situation is simple if, for example, you don’t have a small business or income from a rental property.

Tax clinics are held all year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April. If you are interested in learning about taxes and volunteering at a free tax clinic yourself, reach out to us!

For more information or to find a clinic near you, go to canada.ca/get-tax-help.

[The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) logo with the text "People helping people" in the centre.]

Need help?

Nicole: Taxpayer information is confidential. The CRA needs your permission to deal with another person, such as a family member, friend, or an accountant, who may act as your representative for income tax and benefit matters.

You can give permission to another person in My Account, or on paper by filling out Form AUT-01, Authorize a Representative for Offline Access, and sending it to the CRA.

Make sure to choose someone you can trust! And remember to check your account if you have changed tax preparers or representatives to make sure only the people you want to have access to your account can do so.

You don’t need to authorize someone as a representative if that person is only doing your taxes.

My Account for Individuals

Nicole: I’ve mentioned My Account a couple times already during today’s presentation and now I’ll cover this valuable service in more detail.

My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your individual tax affairs online on your own. You can track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments and statements, manage direct deposit, change your personal information, view any uncashed cheques, view your CRA mail online, such as your notice of assessment, and more.

Along with doing your taxes every year, you must keep your personal information up to date to keep getting benefits and credits.

For more information or to sign up, go to canada.ca/my-cra-account.

[A snapshot of the "Overview" page in My Account.]

Digital services

Nicole: In addition to My Account, there are many digital services available from the CRA. Here are a few that I would like to tell you about.

Auto-fill my return – is a secure CRA service that automatically fills in parts of your tax return with information the CRA has available at the time of your request, making it easier to do your taxes and helping prevent mistakes.

Direct deposit – is a fast, reliable, and secure way for individuals to get payments on time from the CRA in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances, such as a natural disaster.

Email notifications – help prevent fraud. Email notifications from the CRA let you know when changes are made to your personal information in My Account or there is CRA mail to view online.

For more information on the CRA’s digital services, go to canada.ca/cra-digital-services.

Want to learn more about taxes?

Nicole: We would also like to invite you to try out our new online interactive tool called Learn about your taxes.

Go to canada.ca/learn-about-taxes to dive in and check it out.

This online self-directed tool takes you through starting your first job, completing a basic tax return, and the purpose of taxes.

It has resources such as videos, common tax terms, and links to websites where you can learn more.

There are also lesson plans for teachers and facilitators!

[A snapshot of the Learn about your taxes – Canada.ca homepage.]

Be scam smart!

Nicole: You should always be cautious if you receive communication that claims to be from the CRA.

It is possible to receive a direct communication from the CRA. We may, for example, need to provide you information about your account or ask you to clarify something you’ve shared with us.

We will not ask you for your bank account number, credit card number, or passport number or use threats or intimidation tactics.

Scammers often attempt to imitate the CRA to try to steal your personal information. They may target you by telephone, text, instant messaging, email, or mail.

Here’s how you can be scam smart:

You can also check out our Be Scam Smart webinar on the Individuals video gallery on Canada.ca! I’ll provide more details on this in a moment.

[An individual’s forehead with the text "Listen to your voice of reason before you act." on top.]

Thank you!

Nicole: And that’s all for me! This is the end of our webinar. Thank you so much for joining us today! We hope it was helpful!

We also encourage you to visit our Upcoming Events page at canada.ca/cra-outreach-events to view and register for any of our upcoming webinars.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your day!

CRA general enquiries: 1-800-959-8281

Taxes – Canada.ca: canada.ca/taxes

Individuals video gallery – Canada.ca: canada.ca/individuals-video-gallery

Upcoming events – Canada.ca: canada.ca/cra-outreach-events

Stay connected:

Twitter: @CanRevAgency

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[Two individuals carrying two others on their back and all are smiling.]

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