Definitions for the disability tax credit

Basic activities of daily living

The basic activities of daily living are:

Blind

See vision.

Cumulative effect of significant restrictions

Cumulative effect of significant restrictions means:

Example 1

Gerry can walk 100 metres, but then must take time to recuperate. He performs the mental functions necessary for everyday life, but can concentrate on any topic for only a short period of time.

The cumulative effect of these two significant restrictions is equivalent to being markedly restricted, such as being unable to perform one of the basic activities of daily living.

Example 2

Maria always takes a long time for walking, dressing, and feeding. The extra time it takes her to perform these activities, when added together, is equivalent to being markedly restricted all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time).

Dressing

A person is considered markedly restricted in dressing if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices:

  • he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to dress himself or herself and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Devices for dressing include specialized buttonhooks, long-handled shoehorns, grab rails, safety pulls, and other such devices.

Dressing oneself does not include identifying, finding, shopping for or otherwise procuring clothing.

Example 1

Due to pain, stiffness, and decreased dexterity, Paul takes an inordinate amount of time to dress himself on a daily basis.

Example 2

Peter cannot dress himself without the help from another person.

Eliminating (bowel or bladder functions)

A person is considered markedly restricted in eliminating if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices:

  • he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to personally manage bowel or bladder functions and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Devices for eliminating include catheters, ostomy appliances, and other such devices.

Example 1

Sarah needs a device (ostomy appliances, catheters) which causes her to take three times the time that a person who does not have the impairment would take to manage his or her elimination.

Example 2

Albert is incontinent of bladder functions, all or substantially all of the time. He needs an inordinate amount of time to tend to his elimination, as he needs incontinence pads.

Feeding

A person is considered markedly restricted in feeding if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices:

  • he or she is unable or requires an inordinate amount of time to feed himself or herself and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Feeding oneself does include preparing food, except when the time associated is related to a dietary restriction or regime, even when the restriction or regime is required due to an illness or health condition.

Feeding oneself does not include identifying, finding, shopping for or otherwise procuring food.

Devices for feeding include modified utensils, and other such devices.

Example 1

Patricia needs tube feeding, all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time).

Example 2

Michael takes an inordinate amount of time to prepare meals and to feed himself on a daily basis, due to significant pain and decreased strength and dexterity in the upper limbs.

Hearing

A person is considered markedly restricted in hearing if, even with the use of appropriate devices:

  • he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to hear so as to understand another person familiar with the patient, in a quiet setting and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Devices for hearing include hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other such devices.

Example 1

Elaine must rely completely on lip reading or sign language, all or substantially all of the time, to understand a spoken conversation, despite using hearing aids. 

Example 2

John's medical practitioner must raise her voice and repeat words and sentences several times, and it still takes John an inordinate amount of time to understand, despite using hearing aids.

Inordinate amount of time

This is a clinical judgement made by a medical practitioner who observes a recognizable difference in the time required for an activity to be performed by a patient. Usually, this equals three times the time a person who does not have the impairment needs to complete the activity.

Life-sustaining therapy

You must meet both of the following criteria:

  • the therapy is needed to support a vital function, even if it eases the symptoms
  • the therapy is needed at least 3 times per week, for an average of at least 14 hours a week

You must dedicate the time for the therapy – that is, you have to take time away from your normal, everyday activities to receive it. It includes the time you spend setting up a portable device.

If your therapy requires a regular dosage of medication that needs to be adjusted daily, the time spent on activities directly related to determining and administering the dosage does count toward the 14-hour per week requirement (for example, monitoring blood glucose levels, preparing and administering the insulin, calibrating necessary equipment, ketones testing, or keeping a log book of blood glucose levels).

If a child cannot perform the activities related to the therapy because of his or her age, the time spent by the child’s primary caregivers performing and supervising these activities can be counted toward the 14-hour per week requirement. For example, for a child with Type 1 diabetes, supervision includes having to wake the child at night to test his or her blood glucose level, checking the child to determine the need for additional blood glucose testing (during or after physical activity), or other supervisory activities that can reasonably be considered necessary to adjust the dosage of insulin.

However, some activities do not count toward the 14-hour per week requirement, such as:

  • the time a device takes to deliver the therapy, if you receive therapy by a portable or implanted device (such as an insulin pump, a CPAP machine, or a pacemaker)
  • activities related to dietary restrictions or regimes, even when these activities are a factor in determining the daily dosage of medication (such as carbohydrate calculation)
  • activities related to exercising
  • travel time to receive the therapy
  • attending medical appointments (other than appointments where the therapy is received)
  • shopping for medication
  • recuperation after therapy

Examples

  • Chest physiotherapy to facilitate breathing
  • Kidney dialysis to filter blood
  • Insulin therapy to treat Type 1 diabetes in a child who cannot independently adjust the insulin dosage

Markedly restricted

A person is markedly restricted if, all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time), he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to perform one or more of the basic activities of daily living, even with therapy (other than life-sustaining therapy) and the use of appropriate devices and medication.

Medical practitioner

The table below lists the medical practitioners and which type of impairment each can certify.

Type of impairment each medical practitioner can certify:
Medical practitioner: can certify:
Medical doctor all impairments
Optometrist vision
Audiologist hearing
Occupational therapist walking, feeding, dressing, and the cumulative effect for these activities
Physiotherapist walking
Psychologist mental functions necessary for everyday life
Speech-language pathologist speaking

Mental functions necessary for everyday life

A person is considered markedly restricted in performing the mental functions necessary for everyday life (described below) if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices (for example, memory aids and adaptive aids):

  • he or she is unable or requires an inordinate amount of time to perform them by himself or herself and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Mental functions necessary for everyday life include:

  • adaptive functioning (for example, abilities related to self-care, health and safety, abilities to initiate and respond to social interactions, and common simple transactions)
  • memory (for example, the ability to remember simple instructions, basic personal information such as name and address, or material of importance and interest) and
  • problem-solving, goal-setting, and judgment, taken together (for example, the ability to solve problems, set and keep goals, and make appropriate decisions and judgements)

A restriction in problem-solving, goal-setting, or judgement that markedly restricts adaptive functioning all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time) would qualify.

Example 1

Agnes is unable to leave the house due to anxiety, all or substantially all the time, despite medication and therapy.

Example 2

Gerald is independent in some aspects of everyday living; however, despite medication and therapy, he needs daily support and supervision due to an inability to accurately interpret his environment.

Example 3

Terry cannot make a common, simple transaction without help, such as a purchase at the grocery store, all or substantially all of the time.

Example 4

Bridget experiences psychotic episodes several times a year. Given the unpredictability of the psychotic episodes and the other defining symptoms of her impairment (for example, lack of initiative or motivation, disorganized behaviour and speech), she continues to need daily supervision.

Example 5

Richard is unable to express needs or anticipate consequences of behaviour when interacting with others.

Prior years maximum disability tax credit federal amounts

Maximum disability tax credit amounts
Year Maximum Disability Amount
2015 $7,899
2014 $7,766
2013 $7,697
2012 $7,546
2011 $7,341
2010 $7,239
2009 $7,196
2008 $7,021
2007 $6,890
2006 $6,741
2005 $6,596

Prolonged

An impairment is prolonged if it has lasted, or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Significantly restricted

This means that although the person does not quite meet the criteria for markedly restricted, his or her vision or ability to perform a basic activity of daily living is still substantially restricted all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time).

Speaking

A person is considered markedly restricted in speaking if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices:

  • he or she is unable or takes an inordinate amount of time to speak so as to be understood by another person familiar with the patient, in a quiet setting and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Devices for speaking include tracheoesophageal prostheses, vocal amplification devices, and other such devices.

Example 1

Anita must rely on other means of communication, such as sign language or a symbol board, all or substantially all of the time.

Example 2

Cedric's medical practitioner must ask him to repeat words and sentences several times, and it still takes Cedric an inordinate amount of time to make himself understood.

Vision

A person is considered blind if, even with the use of corrective lenses or medication:

  • visual acuity in both eyes is 20/200 or (6/60) or less, with the Snellen Chart (or an equivalent) or
  • the greatest diameter of the field of vision in both eyes is 20 degrees or less

Walking

A person is considered markedly restricted in walking if, even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices:

  • he or she is unable or requires an inordinate amount of time to walk and
  • this is the case all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

Devices for walking include canes, walkers, and other such devices.

Example 1

Rose must always rely on a wheelchair outside the home, even for short distances.

Example 2

Abder takes an inordinate amount of time to walk 100 metres (about one city block), all or substantially all of the time, since he needs to stop because of pain and shortness of breath.

Example 3

Natalie experiences severe episodes of fatigue and problems with coordination and balance. Several days at a time, she cannot walk more than a few steps. Between episodes, she continues to have these symptoms, but to a lesser degree. However, these symptoms cause Natalie to take an inordinate amount of time to walk, all or substantially all of the time.

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