Eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit

An individual may be eligible for the DTC if they have an impairment in physical or mental functions that is severe and prolonged, resulting in a marked restriction. Eligibility for the DTC falls under the following categories:

A marked restriction means that, even with appropriate therapy, devices, and medication, the individual is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to perform activities or functions in one of the impairment categories, and this is the case all or substantially all of the time, even with therapy and the use of appropriate devices and medication. The following categories have their own unique criteria:

What is considered "severe"

Inordinate amount of time

An inordinate amount of time is a clinical judgment made by a medical practitioner if they observe a recognizable difference in the time it takes an individual to perform an activity or function in the listed categories, even with therapy and the use of appropriate devices and medication. Generally, that difference must be at least three times longer than is required by persons of similar age who do not have an impairment in the particular category.

All or substantially all of the time

An individual’s limitations are generally considered to exist all or substantially all of the time if the individual’s impairment limits their ability to perform activities or functions in a DTC category at least 90% of the time. If they are not limited at least 90% of the time, the individual may not meet the eligibility criteria.

What is considered "prolonged"

An impairment is prolonged if it has lasted for a continuous period of at least 12 months or it is expected to last a continuous period of at least 12 months.

If an impairment is severe and prolonged but does not cause the individual to be blind or to otherwise have a marked restriction, the individual may still qualify under cumulative effect of significant limitations or life-sustaining therapy.

Vision

A person is considered blind if, even with the use of corrective lenses or medication, both eyes meet at least one of the following criteria:

View the vision video to help you understand the criteria.

Cumulative effect of significant limitations

To be eligible for the DTC under the cumulative effect of significant limitations category, an individual must have limitations in two or more categories (except life-sustaining therapy) that:

Example 1

Gerry can walk 100 metres (approximately one city block), 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 limitations is equal to being unable or taking an inordinate amount of time in one impairment category.

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 unable or taking an inordinate amount of time in one impairment category.

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

Life-sustaining therapy

Another DTC category is life-sustaining therapy, which must meet all the following criteria:

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 the therapy requires a regular dosage of a 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:

If a child cannot do the activities related to the therapy because of their 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 their blood glucose level
  • checking the child to decide if more blood glucose testing is needed (during or after physical activity)
  • performing other supervisory activities that can reasonably be considered necessary to adjust the dosage of insulin

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

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

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