Mental functions eligibility - Disability tax credit (DTC)

Mental functions eligibility

Updated eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria for mental functions has been updated. The list of mental functions necessary for everyday life has expanded.

On this page

Overview

For some people, performing everyday mental functions can be a challenge even with the help of appropriate therapy, medication, and devices. The DTC aims to offset some of the costs related to an impairment by reducing the amount of income tax you may have to pay.

Eligibility for the DTC is based on the effects of an impairment, not a diagnosis or the presence of a medical condition.

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Example of someone who may be eligible

Christie needs daily support and supervision

Picture of a women couple

Cheryl and Christie have been together for 30 years.

A couple of years ago, Cheryl noticed Christie was becoming confused when they were out of the house and interacting with others. Now Christie is often disoriented and misunderstands situations. When grocery shopping, she needs constant reminding about what to do and help interpreting her environment.

Christie applied for the DTC. As a result of the information provided by the medical practitioner on the application form, she is now eligible for the tax credit.

As Christie has little taxable income, Cheryl may claim any unused portion of the tax credit.

Mental functions

If you have a severe and prolonged impairment that restricts your ability to perform mental functions necessary for everyday life, you may be eligible.

Types of mental functions that are included
  • Adaptive functioning
    • Adapting to change, expressing basic needs, going into the community
    • Initiating common simple transactions
    • Carrying out basic hygiene or self-care activities
    • Performing necessary everyday tasks
  • Attention
    • Showing awareness of danger and risks to personal safety
    • Demonstrating basic impulse control
  • Concentration
    • Being able to focus on a simple task for any length of time
    • Understanding and recalling information (short term)
  • Goal-setting
    • Making and carrying out simple plans
    • Initiating everyday tasks
  • Judgment
    • Choosing clothing appropriate for the weather
    • Making decisions about your own treatment and welfare
    • Recognizing risks of being taken advantage of by others
    • Understanding consequences of your actions or decisions
  • Memory
    • Remembering basic personal information (such as date of birth and address)
    • Remembering things that are important and of interest
    • Remembering simple instructions
  • Perception of reality
    • Showing an accurate understanding of reality
    • Separating reality from delusions and hallucinations
  • Problem-solving
    • Identifying everyday problems
    • Carrying out solutions to simple problems
  • Regulating behaviour and emotions
    • Behaving appropriately for the situation
    • Showing appropriate emotional responses for the situation
    • Controlling mood to prevent risk of harm to self or others
  • Verbal and non-verbal comprehension
    • Understanding and responding to non-verbal information or cues
    • Understanding and responding to verbal information

Applying for 2020 and earlier

The mental functions considered necessary for everyday life for 2020 or earlier tax years were:

  • adaptive functioning
  • memory
  • judgement, problem-solving, and goal-setting (taken together)

Eligibility criteria checklist

Start of question

You must meet all 3 criteria below. Check the boxes that apply.

  • You are unable to perform mental functions necessary for everyday life, or it takes you 3 times longer than someone of similar age who does not have the impairment (even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices)
  • Your impairment is present all or almost all of the time (generally at least 90%)
  • Your impairment has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months

If you have impairments in 2 categories

You may be eligible for the DTC under the cumulative effect of significant limitations. This combines the effects of 2 limitations to be equivalent to a marked restriction in 1 category (does not include life-sustaining therapy).

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