ME/FM Network raises DTC issues with two Canadian ministers

News - CANADIAN NEWS

The National ME/FM Action Network has now written to the federal Minister of Finance requesting changes to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) program.

A number of members of the ME/FM community have applied for the DTC. Some have been successful and others have been turned down. In theory the question should be whether applicants are financially disadvantaged because of disability. In practice the question has become whether they can fit themselves into the categories on the form, whether their health professional will support the application, and how the adjudicator responds to the application. The application process should be much more fair.

You can view the correspondence to the Minister of Finance here.

Because this issue goes to the heart of what disability means in Canada, the same material has been sent to the Minister responsible for persons with disabilities along with a covering letter. You can view that correspondence here.

For people applying or reapplying for the DTC at the present time, note that the application form changed in spring 2017. Nurse practitioners are now allowed to sign, and the examples under the various categories have been dropped. When reviewing the new form, note especially the following statement found on page 2: “assess your patient compared to someone of similar age with no impairment.” This statement applies to children and adults, so it may not apply to seniors. Look carefully at the various categories, especially walking, feeding, and mental functions. Taking walking as an example, consider whether you can walk at all. If you can walk, ask yourself whether you can do so at an age-appropriate level – your answer may be different. If you can't walk at an age-appropriate level, think about why not. Perhaps walking triggers pain or requires you to cut back on other activities. Taking feeding as another example, consider whether you regularly prepare meals. If you simply open canned goods, ask yourself what is preventing you from making more complex meals. It might be because of lack of physical stamina, lack of mental stamina, or dizziness when standing. Discuss your experiences with your health professional and ask him/her to include a thorough description of your experience on the application form. Do not hesitate to complete more than one category since there is a “cumulative” provision.

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