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Long-term Caregiver Denied Disability Tax Credit Benefits

October 30, 2014

Hope-for-Treatment-of-Aggressive-MS-Disability-LivingEdith Ryan cannot reap the benefits of the Disability Tax Credit on her own. Even if her legal blindness and immobility did not prohibit her from independently filing an application, she does not work. And nobody expects her to; Edith is 104 years old.

With severe and prolonged disabilities, and no way to earn an income, how does this lifelong Canadian citizen support herself?

Sharon Ryan supports Edith. But despite the two women sharing a last name, Canada Revenue Agency denied Sharon’s request to claim Disability Tax Credit benefits on behalf of Edith. This is because Edith is Sharon’s grandmother in-law. And, sadly enough, Edith’s grandson, Sharon’s husband, passed away many years ago.

Before Jim Ryan passed away, he asked Sharon to take care of Edith for the rest of her life. Sharon agreed happily but in recent years, her vow has gotten more challenging. Edith was recently diagnosed with cancer and her medical bills have been adding up. In seeking financial relief, Sharon submitted an application for Edith, requesting the Disability Tax Credit. To her surprise, she was denied retroactive payments for Disability Tax Credit benefits. The denial letter informed Sharon:

“You can transfer the disability amount from a dependent only when the dependent is you or your spouse or common-law partner, parents, grandparents, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. However since the dependent is your spouse-partner’s grandmother you are no longer considered related beyond a year of the death of your spouse.”

This note was quoted in an article written by Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun. The article goes on to report that Sharon has spoken with some “sympathetic” people at the Canada Revenue Agency, the government agency responsible for the Disability Tax Credit. She has appealed her claim and hopes to receive a different verdict.

However, this story raises an important point; it emphasizes how a person who is entitled to money from government may be denied rightful benefits.

Numerous Canadians are unable to work because of their disabilities. Oftentimes, these individuals rely on family members and caregivers to support them financially. However, this can put a strain on the family, draining them of the resources they need for daily living. As a solution, many families apply for the Disability Tax Credit so they can receive annual tax breaks and retroactive payments. Unfortunately, not all families fit the descriptors accepted by the Canada Revenue Agency. Therefore, they are not allowed to claim benefits on behalf of their family members with disabilities.

In Edith’s case, she is 104, legally blind, immobile, and has cancer. Unfortunately, her primary caregiver has been denied benefits that can relieve the financial burden of supporting a person with severe and prolonged disabilities. This same situation plays out with people who are younger than Edith but struggle with severe disabilities and are unable to work.

When family caregivers seek the Disability Tax Credit on behalf of family members they may be met with resistance. This does not mean the person with disability is not eligible for the Disability Tax Credit; it means special attention needs to be given to the application process.

The National Benefit Authority knows the Disability Tax Credit inside and out. Benefit specialists have helped thousands of people get the money they are entitled to from government. They are aware that many cases are unique and are equipped to help people explore their benefit options. If you or a person you care for has a disability, contact the National Benefit Authority to learn more about claiming the Disability Tax Credit through a family member. Call 1888-389-0080 or click here for a free consultation.

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