Eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit

There are different ways for which a person can be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). The person must meet one of the following criteria:

  • is blind
  • is markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living
  • is significantly restricted in two or more or the basic activities of daily living (can include a vision impairment)
  • needs life-sustaining therapy

In addition, the person's impairment must meet all of the following:

  • is prolonged, which means the impairment has lasted, or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months
  • is present all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Learn more about the eligibility criteria: 

Vision

A person is considered blind if, even with the use of corrective lenses or medication:

  • the visual acuity in both eyes is 20/200 (6/60) or less, with the Snellen Chart (or an equivalent) or
  • the greatest diameter of the field of vision in both eyes is 20 degrees or less

View the vision video to help you understand the criteria.

Markedly restricted

A person is markedly restricted if, all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time), he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to do one or more of the basic activities of daily living, even with therapy (other than life-sustaining therapy) and the use of appropriate devices and medication.

What we mean by "inordinate amount of time"

This is a clinical judgment made by a medical practitioner who observes a recognizable difference in the time it takes a patient to do an activity. Usually, this equals three times the average time needed to complete the activity by a person who does not have the impairment.

Basic activities of daily living

See the links below to get details, examples and videos explaining each basic activity of daily living.

Cumulative effect of significant restrictions 

To be eligible for the DTC under cumulative effect, the person needs to meet all the following criteria:

  • the person is significantly restricted in two or more basic activities of daily living or in vision and one or more of the basic activities of daily living even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices
  • these significant restrictions exist together all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)
  • the cumulative effect of these significant restrictions is equivalent to being markedly restricted in a single basic activity of daily living

You cannot include the time spent on life-sustaining therapy.

What we mean by "significantly restricted"

This means that although the person does not quite meet the criteria for markedly restricted, his or her vision or ability to do a basic activity of daily living is still greatly restricted all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time).

Example 1

Gerry can walk 100 metres, but then must take time to recuperate. He can carry out the mental functions necessary for everyday life, but can concentrate on any topic for only a short period of time.

The cumulative effect of these two significant restrictions is equal to being markedly restricted, such as being unable to do one of the basic activities of daily living.

Example 2

Maria always takes a long time for walking, dressing, and feeding. The extra time it takes her to do these activities, when added together, is equal to being markedly restricted.

View the cumulative effect video to help you understand the criteria.

Life-sustaining therapy

You must meet both of the following criteria:

  • the therapy is needed to support a vital function, even if it eases the symptoms
  • the therapy is needed at least 3 times per week, for an average of at least 14 hours a week

What counts in the 14 hours requirement

You must dedicate the time for the therapy – that is, you have to take time away from your normal, everyday activities to receive it. It includes the time you need to set up a portable device. For example, you may have to dedicate time for chest physiotherapy to ease breathing or need kidney dialysis to filter blood.

If your therapy requires a regular dosage of medication that needs to be adjusted daily, the time spent on activities directly related to determining the dosage and administering the medication can be counted in the 14 hours per week requirement. For example, time spent on the following activities for insulin therapy:

  • checking blood glucose levels
  • preparing and administering the insulin
  • calibrating necessary equipment
  • testing ketones
  • keeping a log book of blood glucose levels

If a child cannot do the activities related to the therapy because of his or her age, the time spent by the child’s primary caregivers to do and supervise these activities can be counted in the 14 hours per week requirement.

Example

For a child with Type 1 diabetes, supervision includes:

  • having to wake the child at night to test his or her blood glucose level
  • checking the child to decide if more blood glucose testing is needed (during or after physical activity)
  • other supervisory activities that can reasonably be considered necessary to adjust the dosage of insulin.

What does not count in the 14 hours requirement

Some activities do not count in the 14 hours per week requirement, such as:

  • the time a portable or implanted device takes to deliver the therapy (such as an insulin pump, a CPAP machine, or a pacemaker)
  • activities related to dietary restrictions or regimes, even when these activities are a factor in determining the daily dosage of medication (such as carbohydrate calculation)
  • activities related to exercising, even when these activities are a factor in determining the daily dosage of medication
  • travel time to receive the therapy
  • going to medical appointments (other than appointments where the therapy is received)
  • buying medication
  • recuperation after therapy

View the life-sustaining therapy video to help you understand the criteria.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: