Is Diabetes a Disability in Canada (Updated for 2023)
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
Diabetes is one of the most common diseases worldwide. Almost 9% of Canadians are already diagnosed with it. That's over 3 million citizens. Additionally, that rate has been increasing by around 3.3% per year.
People can keep their condition under control and live a perfectly fulfilling life. Even so, diabetes affects your daily life in many different ways.
But is diabetes a disability in Canada?
The short answer is yes. Diabetes is considered a disability in Canada, and you may even apply for a disability tax credit from the government to help cover the constant expenses.
However, not all applications are accepted, and not every diabetic person will get the tax credit.
This article details how Canada looks at diabetes and how you can apply for a tax credit.
According to the Canadian Human Rights Act, any severe mental or physical chronic condition that prevents a person from performing regular life routines is considered a disability.
For example, a person with an amputated leg is usually considered disabled because they can't perform specific daily tasks alone and need unique accommodation at work for the rest of their life.
But diabetes is a bit different since it's not as clear-cut as other chronic conditions.
There are three types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: A condition where the body's immune system starts attacking the pancreas beta cells. It requires daily insulin through injections or needle-free devices like InsuJets to regulate blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes: The body cannot use insulin properly here. It usually presents in adulthood and can sometimes be controlled without insulin intake.
Gestational diabetes is a temporary disease where a woman's body mimics a diabetic condition throughout pregnancy.
The National benefits authority states that “The Canadian government recognizes both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as disabilities, due to its impact on lifestyle, the constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, and the potential risks associated with the condition” Disability Benefits for Diabetes | The National Benefit Authority
Gestational diabetes is only a temporary condition and is not considered a disability. For this reason, the subsequent information will only apply to type 1 and 2 diabetes.
To help offset the costs of insulin medication and lifestyle adaptations, the Canada Revenue Agency provides disability benefits for diabetes like the Canadian Disability Tax Credit (DTC), or Child Disability Tax Credit
People with type 2 diabetes may also be eligible for financial assistance from the Canada Revenue Agency, though they have to meet stricter criteria. They need to show proof of how the condition affects their life.
If you decide to go through the DTC application, you'll need to meet certain requirements and go through a few steps.
Let's begin with the requirements.
You may be eligible for a federal disability tax credit if you:
You need to be officially diagnosed by a certified doctor and have the proper documentation that proves you suffer from type 1 or 2 diabetes.
You should also have a list of medications and supplies that you use to manage diabetes. All this information will help your case and allow your application to be accepted.
When you apply for disability benefits, a commission will carefully review your documents, who'll decide if they approve or deny it.
This is done to prevent those trying to take advantage of these programs from succeeding. As a result, you should provide consistent medical information in your application, like doctor's prescriptions, letters, and medical history.
Could you make sure they are all updated and demonstrative of your illness?
This way, you have a higher chance of approval and ease your financial burden.
While both conditions can affect your life, the extent will vary depending on their severity. If it barely affects you, like if you're pre-diabetic or have a mild case of type 2 diabetes, for example, your application might be denied.
Alternatively, if your diabetes requires insulin, a life-sustaining therapy, your application will have a better chance of being accepted.
To prove your case, attach all your doctor's prescriptions, medication types, frequency of medical appointments, and doctor's letters to your application.
Here's how you can apply for a tax credit either for yourself or on behalf of someone you're taking care of:
You must complete the paper or digital T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate forms. Because processing takes some time, some people apply using both formats.
But this will create a double application and not speed up the process. Choose the best application format for you, and be patient to hear back with the results.
The T2201 form has two sections to be filled; Section A and Section B. You only need to fill out Section A for certified medical practitioners.
After you fill in your part, give it to the doctor who oversees your diabetes treatment to fill out Section B.
If you have the digital version of the form, you can submit it through the official website.
If you've applied using the paper form, you have to submit it through a Canada Revenue Agency center, such as:
Sudbury Tax Centre
Jonquière Tax Centre
Winnipeg Tax Centre
Keep in mind that processing your application may take up to eight weeks. Familiarize yourself with the CRA processing times to set the proper expectations whenever you apply.
If you've done everything correctly up to this point, but your application still got denied, you can:
Your first option would be to ask the commission to review your application again. This is especially useful if you still need to fill in some information while filling out the application.
If so, add the new information and contact the CRA for an application review.
Your second option would be to file an objection if you are sure all your information is correct and the reviewer may have made a mistake while reading your application.
You can file an objection to have a second person review your application within 90 days of getting the denial notice.
If both of the previous options are unsuccessful, reapplying could be the solution.
This option is beneficial if your condition's circumstances have changed or you have acquired new evidence to support your claim.
You may also consider getting a specialist's help.
There could be a mistake with your paperwork or some technicality that could have been noticed, but a lawyer or another professional is trained to spot them.
As long as you're a Canadian citizen who has type 1 diabetes, you automatically meet the requirements for the disability tax credit, according to JDRF Canada. All you have to do at that point is to submit your application.
Although the Canadian government considers both types of diabetes as disabilities, type 1 applications have much better chances of being accepted, as type 2 can sometimes be handled without insulin and may not have that big of an impact on someone's life.
No, you can't. The financial assistance you get from the CRA is a non-refundable tax credit. For instance, let's assume you're eligible for $2,000 worth of assistance, but your tax form is maxed out at $1,800.
If so, your tax refund will be capped at $1,800.
If you're a Canadian citizen with diabetes, you may be entitled to financial support from the CRA to help you with your expenses - if you can prove the condition is affecting your daily life.
You can start by signing in to the official CRA website, choosing your preferred application format (paper or digital), filling out the application, and submitting it.
Please ensure that your information is correct and that you have proof that the condition is impairing your daily life, and you're good to go.