The cost of caring for a child with a disability is a multifaceted expense for families. It’s estimated that half of the time, the disability impacts the parents’ ability to retain employment. In many situations, families must work extra to afford necessary supplies and services. From medications to nurses to accommodations such as wheelchairs, the costs add up.
In some cases, the disability is of such severity that it requires around-the-clock care. Through no fault of their own, families suffer economically due to job loss and reduced employment opportunities, simply due to caring for a disabled child. The Child Disability Benefit is meant to bridge the financial gap, ensuring those with disabilities (and their families) a reasonable quality of life.
What Is The Child Disability Benefit?
The Child Disability Benefit, a tax credit determined based on annual taxes paid, is designed to help Canadians who are raising disabled children. It is available whether or not you have taxable income. The CDB is available for any parent who is the primary caretaker of an impaired child under the age of majority. Should both parents be caretakers, only one can claim the benefit.
Child Disability Benefit Payment Dates
The payment is issued monthly and is typically directly deposited into the account. It is paid alongside the Canada Child Benefit for those who are eligible. To get the Child Disability Benefit, you must qualify for the Disability Tax Credit. However, if you are receiving the Canada Child Benefit (and you qualify for the Disability Tax Credit), then you automatically receive the Child Disability Payment. The payment dates are as follows:
|Payment Dates in 2021|
|January 20, 2021|
|February 19, 2021|
|March 19, 2021|
|April 20, 2021|
|May 20, 2021|
|June 18, 2021|
|July 20, 2021|
|August 20, 2021|
|September 20, 2021|
|October 20, 2021|
|November 19, 2021|
|December 13, 2021|
These dates correspond with the payment dates for the Canada Child Benefit, making it easier to budget for families relying primarily on this income to care for the disabled child.
How Much Child Disability Benefit Can You Get?
The amount of Child Disability Benefit you receive is determined based on three factors. The first is the number of children eligible for the benefit in the household. Secondly, your marital status is taken into consideration. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, is your adjusted family net income. Together, these parameters paint a picture of fiscal need and are used to determine how much credit you get each year.
Your adjusted family net income is your net earnings less benefits including the Universal Child Care Benefit and Registered Disability Savings contributions. This is to offer real numbers about how much income your household is working with. The marital status informs the situation as to the number of available caretakers and earners. Based on the financial and personal aspects of the household situation, along with how many disabled children are under the care of the household, the Child Disability Credit is calculated.
How Is it Calculated?
The maximum benefit per child is $242.91 per month, and is then reduced as net income increases. The following chart details how the benefit varies based on the number of children in the household and adjusted family net income.
|Adjusted Family Net Income ($)||One Eligible Disabled Child ($/month)||Two Eligible Disabled Children ($/month)||Three Eligible Disabled Children ($/month)|
|Less than $69,395||$242.91||$485.83||$728.75|
Who Is Eligible For The Child Disability Benefit?
In order to be eligible for the Child Disability Benefit, you must be eligible to receive both the Canada Child Benefit and the Disability Tax Credit. Both of these programs offer supplemental benefits to the Child Disability Benefit; though to qualify, you must meet the criteria for each program. Provided you do, there is no separate application for the CDB; you are automatically enrolled in the program.
In order to qualify for this credit, the disabled person must meet at least one of the necessary criteria.
- Legal blindness, declared on record by a qualified medical professional
- Be noticeably restricted in one or more basic activities of day-to-day life
- Require life-sustaining therapeutic treatment
Additionally, to qualify, the disability for which the person is seeking eligibility must meet all of the following requirements:
- Disability must be prolonged in nature, defined by its lasting (or having lasted) for a continuous period of at least 12 months
- Disability must present itself through symptoms no less than 90 percent of the time
Provided the child, or children, meet the above criteria, and there is substantiating documentation to prove it, you qualify for the DTC.
This is the standard benefit available to parents across Canada; and, to qualify for the disability benefit, the caretaking parent must also be eligible for the Canada Child Benefit. This means meeting all the following criteria:
- Living with a child younger than 18 years of age
- Be the party primarily responsible for the child’s care
- Be a Canadian resident for the purposes of taxation
- Either the applicant or the spouse must be one of the following:
- Citizen of Canada
- Permanent resident of Canada
- A person under protection
- Temporary resident living in Canada for the previous 18 months, where there will be a permit valid for the subsequent month
- An indigenous person pursuant to the relevant legislation
There is no opportunity to receive the Canada Child Benefit for fostered children during any period where special allowances were paid. However, you can qualify for the CCB should you care for a child under a close relationship program as long as CSA is not paid.
How Do You Apply For The Child Disability Benefit?
The application process is extremely straightforward. For those receiving the Canada Child Benefit for a child that is also eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, you are automatically enrolled for the CDB program. However, if you are not already enrolled for either of these benefits, you must file paperwork with the government, and actively enrol yourself.
To apply for CDB, the first step is filling out the Child Disability Tax Credit application. Commencing with Form T2201, the application is split into two key sections. The first (Part A) is filled out by the taxpayer who would be receiving the benefits. It covers all the basic personal information of the applicant, and covers details about the disabled party. There is a short-essay portion, where the applicant details the regular and consistent support you offer. It is your opportunity to showcase the impact of the disability on your time and money.
The second section of the application (Part B) is filled out by a medical practitioner. It is where the medical expert certifies the disability and explains its impact. This is essential to accessing the CDB and DTC. However, it often comes with a fee to get the medical report completed. Depending on where you live and the clinic you use for regular care, there will be a (usually) three-figure price to get the report.
To ensure that you continue to get the tax credit, you must ensure that you remain eligible to receive the DTC. In order to continue benefits, ensure that your taxes are filed before the deadline. Regardless of whether you have taxable income, you still must file annually. The data received by the government is used to calculate the amount you receive in the form of benefits. Finally, if any of your personal information changes, you must inform Revenue Canada immediately. Provided you do this until the child reaches the age of majority, you will continue to receive the benefit.
How long does it take to see if I qualify for the CDB?
What form do I need to apply for the CDB?
What’s the maximum CDB amount I can get?
The cost of caring for a disabled child is significant, particularly considering that the CDB is there for those who present symptoms for at least 90 percent of the time. From visual aids to life-saving treatments, though we have a socialized health care system, it does not cover everything. Government-issued benefits are meant to lend support to caregivers, bridging the financial gap often resulting from the situation. If your child qualifies for the benefit, it is better to apply sooner rather than later. Since it is a slow process from the point of application to the point of benefit receipt, the best thing to do is to start early.
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