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What is the difference between a Marked Restriction and a Significant Restriction?

January 11, 2017

You’re considering if you qualify for the Disability Tax Credit and come across the terms “marked restriction” and “significant restriction” in the T2201 form. Perhaps your doctor can clarify the distinction, but they’re not medical terms – the terms are used by the Canada Revenue Agency to qualify a disability for the Disability Tax Credit.

Does the Canada Revenue Agency recognize a marked restriction or a significant restriction as a disability?

Actually, both restrictions may qualify for the Disability Tax Credit because they both refer to limitations to one’s ability to perform Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADL). However, the CRA considers one more severe than the other.

Marked restriction

To qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, a person must have either a physical and/or mental impairment that is severe and prolonged. The impairment must restrict a person’s ability to perform Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADL) – such as dressing, elimination, feeding, mental functions necessary for daily activities, speaking, or walking. Life-sustaining therapy may also qualify as an impairment. This impairment must affect a person at least 90% of the time.

To the Canada Revenue Agency, severe means a person is either unable to, or it takes them 3 times as long to perform one or more of the BADL – even with the use of medication and devices.

What the CRA means by prolonged, is the person must have been affected by their impairment within the last ten years and have lasted, or is expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months.

When a person’s impairment to a BADL meets the criteria above of severe and prolonged, the Canada Revenue Agency consider this a marked restriction.

Significant restriction

Someone with a marked restriction may qualify right away for the DTC. However, a person can also qualify for the DTC even if they do not quite meet the severity of the marked restriction criteria.

If a person is affected in 2 or more of the BADL and these BADL are affected together at least 90% of time then that person may still qualify for the Disability Tax Credit under what is classed as a significant restriction.

Examples of marked and significant restrictions

An impairment to any of the BADL, affecting a person 90% of the time, and is severe and prolonged is a marked restriction. For example, consider a person who uses a wheelchair. Although this person may be able to accomplish daily activities independently, mobility may still be difficult every day.

When a person has impairments to 2 or more areas of daily functions (at least 90% of the time) then that person is significantly restricted. An example of this is if someone who has limited mobility and visual impairments. Or, a person who has difficulty with certain mental functions and has trouble feeding him or herself.

Why does the type of restriction matter?

Since doctors are experts of medicine, they tend to offer their expertise in a diagnosis of medical conditions and diseases. Meanwhile, the Canada Revenue Agency looks for whether an applicant meets the requirements for either a marked restriction or significant restriction.

Make sure that your medical practitioner knows how to apply these CRA definitions to accurately complete your Disability Tax Credit application form.

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If you need more information about transferring the Disability Tax Credit or Disability Tax Credit eligibility, schedule a call with us and we’ll tell you how it works.

For more information about the DTC, please visit our dedicated information page here.