The Canadian Disability Tax Credit for Hearing Loss
For Canadians with hearing loss ranging from noticeable to total, the disability tax credits in Canadian taxation laws may provide a means by which to relieve the inevitable costs associated with their disability. The disability tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit intended not to bring in a larger refund (hence being a non-refundable tax credit) and instead lowering the amount of taxes a citizen or their supporting persons have to pay. To claim this tax credit, Canadian citizens with hearing disabilities must first qualify for the disability tax credit.
In order to qualify for this tax credit, a person with hearing loss or most any other disability must fill in and get their medical provider to also fill in Form T2201 in order to certify that a person has a long term and fairly severe form of physical impairment, as well as describing the effects of the impairment. For Canadians with hearing loss, this will also involve describing the full depths of their difficulties with hearing loss, as well as an overview of what they must do to treat their hearing loss. Whether this involves a simple medical grade hearing aid for damaged hearing or a full fledged transformation of one’s life for total hearing loss, the hearing loss and its treatment must be accounted for on Form T2201.
However, claiming this tax credit for people with hearing loss in particular can be difficult, largely because of the problematic and severely restrictive rules surrounding the qualification standards to receive the disability tax credit for hearing loss. Canadian courts have laid down a number of restrictions physicians must labor under when filling out Form T2201E. Among other stiff restrictions on Canadians with damaged hearing, the physician filling out the form can not take into account how heavily their patient can rely on compensations for hearing loss, such as sign language and lip reading skills. The main qualifying factor for getting this tax credit lies solely in how much of an impact a patient’s hearing loss has on their daily life, requiring that to claim the tax credit, functions of daily living must be severely negatively impacted, or require a great deal of time and effort for a person to perform a function that somebody with undamaged hearing can easily accomplish.
On the plus side, the courts have ruled that physicians must account for their patients’ hearing problems not in an intensely silent place such as a doctor’s office or hearing clinic, but in a “quiet setting” more akin to daily life, such as a house with other people or a professional setting without much noise. However, the courts have ruled that physicians do not need to account for loud, noisy settings that could also occur in day to day life, simply the sort of reasonably quiet settings where there is a level of noise but not so much as to hinder even the fully able. The intent of the court ruling was to strike a middle ground between the settings of daily life and the quiet places of a doctor’s office.
There are a number of issues with the wording of Form T2201E that has driven many doctors in the field to sign off on the form only when their patient can not function without sign language and devices offer very little or essentially not real benefit to their patients. Though there is a movement to expand the definition of the hearing loss standards in the Canadian revenue laws to account for the differing shades of hearing loss, at the moment, the standards are somewhat restrictive. Still, for citizens who are severely disabled from hearing loss, the disability tax credit does offer a means by which to financially manage their condition.