What is the Disability Supports Deduction (Attendant Care Expenses)?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

glyphicon_wheelchair--Tidbits 2014-09-03 TN‘One in Every 10 People You See Today Will Likely Have Some Sort of Disability.’ That’s according to The Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons. Fortunately, there is tax relief for those disabled who have continued to work or run a business, do grant research or similar work, or attend a credible educational program. It’s called the Disability Supports Deduction.

If you have impairment in physical or mental functions, you can claim a disability supports deduction if you paid expenses that no one has claimed as medical expenses, and you paid them so you could:

  • Be employed or carry on a business (either alone or as an active partner);
  • Do research or similar work for which you received a grant; or
  • Attend a designated educational institution or a secondary school where you were enrolled in an educational program.

You cannot claim amounts that were reimbursed by a non-taxable payment such as insurance. Expenses must be claimed in the same year they were paid.

You may need to have a T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate filed with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), in order to claim any disability deductions. You can also file and then when the T2201 is approved, you can file adjustments for which years it applies.

What Expenses Are Eligible?

  • Attendant care services (except those services provided by your spouse or common-law partner, or to someone under 18 years of age)
  • Bliss symbol boards
  • Braille note-taker devices
  • Braille printers, synthetic speech systems, large print-on-screen devices
  • Deaf-blind intervening services
  • Devices or software
  • Electronic speech synthesizers
  • Job coaching services (other than job placement or career counseling services)
  • Note-taking services
  • Optical scanners
  • Page turner devices
  • Reading services
  • Real-time captioning or sign-language interpretation services
  • Talking textbooks
  • Teletypewriters
  • Tutoring services
  • Voice recognition software

When it comes to tax time, you can use form T929 Disability Supports Deduction. Do not attach this form or your receipts to your income tax and benefit return, but keep them in case CRA asks to see them at a later date. Expenses must be claimed in the same year they are paid. Unused disability support amounts cannot be applied to another year.

When filling out the T929 you will need to list the devices or services you are claiming in the first column. For each service you list, give the name and address of the organization or the name, address, and social insurance number of the individual that provided the service. If you use this form, just attach the receipts to it, and file with your income tax return.

For the purposes of this deduction your earned income should consist of at least one of these:

  • Employment income (including security options and other employment benefits);
  • Net self-employment income, either alone or as an active partner (not including losses);
  • The taxable part of scholarships, bursaries, fellowships, and similar awards;
  • Net research grants;
  • Any earnings supplement received under a project sponsored by a government in Canada to encourage employment; and
  • Any financial support received under a project sponsored under Part II of the Employment Insurance Act, or any similar program.

Some disability supports expenses can also be claimed as medical expenses. The person with the impairment in physical or mental functions can claim these expenses on either line 215 or line 330, or split the claim between these two lines as long as the total of the amounts claimed is not more than the total expense.

I would use the disability support deduction over medical expenses, as the deduction is a direct write-off from your income rather than just a tax credit (with a limit) like medical expenses.

The Disability Support Deduction can help the disabled person relieve their tax burden, as well as the financial burden of their disability.

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