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Can People with Autism Receive the Disability Tax Credit?

August 31, 2013

Autism is a developmental disorder that exists on a spectrum. From mild to severe, and everything in between, each diagnosis of autism is unique. This is why autism, as a disability, does not automatically make one eligible for the Disability Tax Credit Certificate. The spectrum is broad and the symptoms of this condition are sporadic in some cases.


Social skills, language abilities, and behaviour are common symptoms of autism. This can affect how a person with autism interacts with other people. In addition, sensory issues (or side effects of medication) may cause tremors or constant movement.

It can be challenging to know whether or not a person is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. By reviewing the qualifying factors (prolonged, markedly restricted, and life-sustaining therapies) and exploring a few examples, it may clarify if an individual’s case ought to qualify for the benefits program.

Prolonged Disability

Like many types of disability, there is no cure for autism. Once diagnosed, an individual will live with the effects of autism for the rest of his or her life.

Markedly Restricted in Daily Living Tasks

When completing the Disability Tax Credit Certification, it is important to consider how autism affects daily living. For example, some people with autism have difficulty dressing due to sensory issues or ADD-type behaviour. In severe cases of autism, an individual may have language development issues that make it difficult for them to interact in conversations.

Equally important are mental functions (this the term used on the T2201 form). It is necessary to take this phrase into consideration when applying for the Disability Tax Credit.  If there is an issue with mental function, daily living tasks can be compromised.

Life Sustaining Therapy

Life sustaining therapies are usually limited to medical treatments. While there are many assistive therapies for people with autism, this section may not be applicable unless another type of disability is present. However, a lot of therapy options for people with autism will take up to 14 hours or more per week. This will need to be considered on an individual basis.

The Disability Tax Credit is a government program that offers tax breaks to individuals with disabilities. It is possible to back-file taxes up to 10 years and receive large amounts of money (between $1,500 and $40,000) to supplement income and support costs of living. Also, a supporting person can have the Disability Tax Credit claimed or transferred from a child or dependent. This is a great option for parents who care for children with autism.

Autism is not a clear disability. It affects people in different ways. It is important to explore the T2201 form thoroughly in order to ensure the Disability Tax Credit Certificate proves a person has a prolonged disability that markedly restricts him or her and requires life sustaining therapies. Having professional assistance with this matter is valuable. Contact the National Benefit Authority for a free consultation. The most trusted agency serving Canadians with disabilities is available to help get money owed from government.

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