Disability Tax Credit
The Disability Tax Credit is available to Canadians of all ages with PKU, provided that you meet certain criteria. We have created an information package to help families navigate the process, and provided tips on how to have a successful application. Since we launched this package in March of 2015, about 50% of families who apply have been approved. We are always looking for examples of successful and unsuccessful applications so that we can gain a better understanding of why some patients are approved and others aren’t, so if you are willing to share your application and results with us, it will be kept strictly confidential (you can email firstname.lastname@example.org).
This all started when Nicole Pallone, Vice President of CanPKU, applied on behalf of her daughter, Rosie. Here is her story:
At one of our events last year, the Dad of a patient with MSUD asked me if I had applied for the DTC. “No,” I replied. I had heard of other PKU patients applying without success and I do not have a lot of time to waste in my life. I will also admit that I struggled a bit with the idea of ‘labeling’ Rosie as disabled.
However, this Dad had successfully applied and when he talked about the financial benefits… well, frankly, I didn’t care much about the label! So, he shared his application with me which included a letter describing the condition and why diet is an essential component of management. The letter, I think, is key. Let’s face it, not many CRA workers are going to be familiar with PKU or MSUD or any other IEM unless they have been personally touched by it. And that small response box to the “Provide details about how you provide care” question just doesn’t cut it!
In a nutshell, we applied. Our clinic doctor was great about filling out the forms, I crafted a heartfelt explanatory letter, and we mailed it off at the end of May. And we waited. And waited. And waited.
By the time I received a response at the beginning of August, I had almost forgotten about it. But there it was, in my hand: a letter stating that our application had been accepted! The letter stated that we can now claim the DTC until Rosie is 18, and that a reassessment of prior tax years would be forthcoming.
Then, a few weeks later, it happened: we suddenly had an extra $3,000 in our bank account! Cautiously optimistic, I called the CRA for an explanation. I learned that it was an adjustment to our Child Tax Benefit paid over the last three years. For prior years, we would have to request a review in writing. And the same would happen with our income taxes – they would automatically reassess the last three years, but anything before that we would have to request in writing. So we did.
The process finally ended in December 2014. More than 6 months after submitting our application everything had been reassessed and we had received a whopping $25,000 in refunds!
CanPKU realized right away that we needed to help other Canadians make successful applications, and I am thrilled to announce that the CanPKU Disability Tax Credit Information Package is now available. It includes instructions, examples and tips for making a successful application. Remember that retroactive refunds will vary greatly depending on your income and taxes paid over the years but even if you are accepted and don’t receive a refund, you will still pay LESS taxes in future years.
And yes, adult patients should apply. It is important to note that not every IEM patient will qualify – those with high tolerances, either because of Kuvan or without, will likely not be able to satisfy the requirements. The key is illustrating that eligible activities – doing blood tests, tracking phe intake, preparing and administering formula – take 14 hours or more per week. Preparing meal, purchasing foods, traveling to appointments and the hundred other things we spend time on with this condition are NOT eligible.
In the first year since launching our DTC Information Packages, we have given out over 100 packages. Of those who have reported back to us, approximately 50% have been approved. We plan to work with the CRA to educate them about the condition and ensure that the PKU applications are being reviewed fairly and knowledgeably. You can help by giving feedback about your own experience by emailing us.