Canadians with disabilities could be waiting months for money owed by Canada Revenue Agency

June 28, 2018

More than half of Canadians with diabetes who were rejected for the disability tax credit (DTC) between May and December last year have now been approved — a clear indication, critics say, that the Canada Revenue Agency was applying the eligibility rules improperly.

However, most of those whose DTC rejections were overturned are still waiting for the money they're owed. And they've been told the wait could be up to 30 weeks, said Kimberley Hanson, director of federal affairs for Diabetes Canada.

"So it's a real burden for many people with all forms of disability, including diabetes, to be without that money," she said.

"This is money that is the difference between Canadians with disabilities being able to care for and protect their health and not (doing that)."

Many disabled Canadians, including people with diabetes and autism, noticed a spike in DTC application rejections by the CRA last year between May and December 2017.

It turned out that the agency had quietly changed how it applied the eligibility criteria.

The public backlash led to National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier announcing in December that there would be a review of rejected applications under the life-sustaining therapy category, which mostly covers diabetics.

The agency reviewed 2,267 of the rejected applications and subsequently approved 1,326 of them, according to the CRA.

The agency continues to reject the remaining 941 applications. Hanson said that troubles her.

"We're hearing from hundreds of Canadians who have been rejected, sometimes really cruelly, hearing from analysts at the CRA that they're 'just not disabled enough,'" she said.

Following media reports on the spike in rejections, the Senate committee on social affairs decided to study problems with the government's two principal support programs for people with disabilities: the DTC and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Canadians cannot qualify for the savings plan unless they also qualify for the tax credit.

Read more: Canadians with disabilities could be waiting months for money owed by Canada Revenue Agency