Financial Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities

disabled-728522_640Tip #1:

Parents need to avail themselves of all the unique funding available for them within their province, and from federal sources. Each province provides their own initiatives to try and support parents of children with disabilities. One very good program is this:

Provincial Assistive Devices Program (ADP) This program helps people with physical disabilities. It provides financial help for many kinds of equipment and supplies, like:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers
  • Strollers
  • Hearing aids
  • Artificial limbs
  • Personal FM systems
  • Communication boards

Tip #2:

If you have a child with special needs, the Disability Amount Tax Credit (or the ‘Disability Amount’) is a non-refundable tax credit that can be transferred to a family member who supplied some or all of the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing to the person. This credit can potentially save $1,500 a year in income taxes. Have your child’s doctor fill out the T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate. You can also check out this comprehensive guide on Child Disability Tax Credit.

Who may apply for this tax credit?

Parents or legal guardians may apply for the DTC, if their child:

  • Has a severe and prolonged impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, and
  • Has effects of an impairment that fall into one or more of the following categories:
    • Vision
    • Life sustaining therapy
  • Basic activities of daily living: (Walking – Speaking – Dressing – Hearing – Feeding – Eliminating (bowel or bladder functions) – Mental functions – The cumulative effect of significant restrictions.

Tip #3:

  • Other ways to save money:
  • Devices or software designed to be used by someone who is blind or has a severe learning disability to enable them to read print.
  • Note-taking services used by someone with a physical or mental impairment and paid to someone in the business of providing such services. A medical practitioner must certify in writing that this expense is necessary.
  • School for people with an impairment in physical or mental functions, which requires a medical practitioner to certify in writing that the equipment, facilities or personnel specially provided by that school are required because of the person’s mental or physical impairment.
  • Tutoring services: the cost of hiring a tutor to help your child learn.
  • Talking textbooks – prescription required.

Tip #4:

The Easter Seal Society Toll Free: 1 (800) 668-6252

  • Children and youth with physical disabilities are eligible
  • Financial assistance for the remaining 25 % portion, not covered by Assistive Devices Program Home and vehicle modifications
  • Camp fees for Easter Seal Society camps
  • Community camp experience

Tip #5:

Consider working with a financial adviser or financial consultant. There are non-profit organizations across Canada that can provide free advising/consulting on how to manage the family’s finances.

Tip #6:

Consider opening a registered disability savings plan (RDSP) for your child. Families can “obtain very generous government assistance in form of the Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSG) and the Canada Disability Savings Bonds, which are only available if you have set up an RDSP.”

Tip #7:

Keep the future in mind. Parents need to provide a lifelong source of funding for their son or daughter with a disability. There are ways to accomplish this. Along with the RDSP above there are provincial programs (e.g. the Ontario Disability Support Program).  Families also need to think about protecting the needs of a disabled individual in the event of a parent’s death.  This can be done through disability and life insurance, and by considering a Henson Trust. This special trust allows a trustee full discretion on how much income, if any, the beneficiary (the disabled person) receives. This ensures that the trust assets are not part of the disabled person’s assets, and does not affect government disability benefits.

These are just a few of the things families can do. Perhaps the best option is to meet with a financial adviser, consultant or contact companies like Disability Credit Canada for assistance.

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