Organizations

Tax Tips for Workers with a Disability

  

Thanks to the Tax Detective, here are some tax tips for the person with a disability who decides to work, even for a low amount of income. There are incentives to work, some new, some old, in the tax system. Some government benefit programs are dependent on the calculation of net income and may be affected by increased net income, but there are several claims for expenses that may reduce the calculation of net income. 

A program for the working poor, Working Income Tax Benefit will actually pre-pay benefits if you can figure out how to claim. More information: Line 453 WIT

Medical Expenses

By claiming medical expenses you may find a supplement you are entitled to, a credit of a bit over $1,000 per year…see Line 452: Refundable Medical Expense Supplement

Child Care
If you work and pay for Child Care, child care is usually only deductible by the lower income spouse, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as a parent in school, infirm, jail or hospital.  The result of claiming child care is to lower net income. If the claimant is a person with a disability, reducing their net income will aid in preserving tax credits for a claim by a supporting spouse or other family members and may also reduce the impact on other government benefit programs that rely on the calculation of net income, such as Persons with Disability Benefits, Pharmacare and MSP premiums.

Disability Supports Expense
If a person with a disability works and has specific medical expenses that qualify, including attendant care and various devices and equipment,  they may be claimed on Line 215 to reduce net income. All qualifying medical expenses are listed HERE.

A benefit of disability supports expense claims is other credits such as the disability tax credit may still transferrable to supportive family because net income is lower than the total of other credits.
The family may also claim other credits such as the caregiver or infirm over 18 tax credits. These credits are all dependent on the calculation of net income, so it makes sense that if the disability supports reduce net income, this is a good thing.
Normally medical expenses don’t reduce net income. They are reported on Line 330 as a medical expense credit and the taxpayer must deduct 3% of their net income or on Line 331 if paid by the supportive relative net of 3% of the net income of the person with the disability who is supported.
Only the person with the disability can claim Disability Supports on Line 215 and only for the calendar year. There is no carry over for 24 months in year of death or flexibility of claiming any 12 months that end in the year, or having their spouse claim instead if it’s more advantageous, all of which are possible with medical expenses, both on Line 330 for self, or if paid by someone else on Line 331 net of 3% of the supported persons’ net income.
Eileen Reppenhagen, CGA, ACG, CL
www.taxdetective.ca

Top Ten Tips for a New School Year

  

*upated 2012*

1. Be patient, the start of a new school year is always a challenge until things settle down and order gets established.

2. If you have a child with challenges, try to meet with the teacher as soon as possible.

3. Inquire early in the school year about your child’s IEP – try and have it done before the end of October. Advocate that it been done asap. This is important because it sets the stage for the whole year.

4. Read the BCACL’s booklet on Inclusive Education it is well-written and informative. The E Book has great live links.

5.  Introduce yourself to the principal. In my experience, the principal sets the tone for the school. Do your best to get their support.

6. In advance of the school year, plan what you think your child needs and ensure that it is encapsulated within the IEP

7. Remember your child has a right to be in school. It is the law.

8. Get to know the organizational structure in your school system so you know who to go to if issues arise. Who does the principal report to? And who in turn do that person report to? and so on…

9. Share information with the teacher and EA that they will need to support your child. If you require a formal meeting ask for one.

10. Work on building relationships with people at the school, talk to other parents, and get support from an advocate if you need it.

IEPs… What do I need to know?

  

*updated 2012*

The IEP (Individual Education Plan)is an important way to get input into your child’s education. The important thing to know is that as a parent have a right to participate in the IEP process.

An IEP has three stages:

  1. developing and writing the plan
  2. implementing and evaluating the plan
  3. reporting on student progress toward the goals in the plan

This is an evolving process: as the student’s needs change, the IEP should change.  

Your school district will most likely have a "template" for the IEP that they would prefer to use.  Remember, these are just guides to make the process easier.  Ask for a change if you do not like the template that is offerred.

 

Learn about Student Support Services in your district:
Student support services could include: learning assistance, counseling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language services. However, these may or may not be applicable to your child.

Different school districts may name or deliver their support services in slightly different ways. For information on school district services start by looking at your district website:

http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/schools/bcmap.htm

 

The Basics of the IEP:

The British Columbia Ministry of Education provides some basic information about IEPs that you can reference to get started.  There is also a Ministy resource page that has some disability specific suggestions and guidelines. Make sure you understand the difference between adaptations and modifications.

Some good basic guides:

BC Association for Community Living Parent’s Handbook on Inclusive Education.

BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils: Individual
Education Plans A Guide for Parents

BC Ministry of Education: A Resource Guide for Teachers

Making the IEP work:

The core of the IEP is the goals. Once there is an IEP in place, you also need to think about what your child needs to support the outcomes in the IEP in terms of support: Education Assistant (EA), speech therapy, augmentative communication resources or behaviour and communication support.

Go to the IEP meeting prepared by knowing what you want and be prepared to ask for it. You may have to request a formal meeting to resolve differences.

 


RDSP Resource Centre

  

The RDSP Resource Centre has a website and help desk to assist people in understanding, qualifying for, and setting up their RDSPs. You’ll find news, detailed information, tips and discussion.  

If your question isn’t answered on the website, call or email.

Telephone: 604-630-0333 or toll free 1-855-773-RDSP (7377)

Website: www.rdspresource.ca 

What to do if government payments to your RDSP are delayed

  

The payment of Canada Disability Savings Bonds and Grants – the federal government contributions – are sometimes delayed in being deposited into people’s RDSPs.  Usually the problem is not serious, however, it also usually won’t be rectified if you don’t do anything about it.

I recently did a detailed post on why government payments are delayed and what you can do about it.  You can read it here:  http://rdspresource.ca/index.php/2011/09/delays-in-the-payment-of-grant-or-bond/

CO-OP Housing

  

Co-operative Housing is a great alternative to a traditonal rental situation, whereby, you have a landlord.  Co-op’s create a "close knit" and family-oriented living environment where everyone knows one another and participates in maintaining and operating the building.  The participation time which is required is minimal.  Applicants & families must go through an interview and other screening including a credit check.  A one-time lump sum of money called shares is also required and is refundable when you move out.

For my handicapped brother and I it has been a wonderful quality of life and alternative to a traditional rental.  Everybody knows you ,holds the door open for you and is there if you have an emergency.  We have resided in one for over five years now and I would highly recommend it.

Check out the website chf.bc.ca for further information. 

 

How to Complain about CLBC Services

  
How do you request an investigation into the abuse of an adult who is supported by a CLBC contract?
If you suspect abuse you should contact the RCMP or local police. Once there is the involvement of police all other processes should stop pending the outcome. If you feel that the CLBC investigation has not been sufficient and you have concerns about harm done and/or safety of a person then involving the police is appropriate. The involvement of the police is not a matter of choice for CLBC or any other body, agency or service provider.

Below are some links to the mechanisms that
currently exist, which may provide relief.
  

What can I claim as a medical expense on my taxes?

  

What can I claim as a medical expense?

You can claim the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse or common-law partner; or
  • Your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children born in 1992 or later and who depended on you for support
  • Your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child who was born in 1991 or earlier, or grandchild; or
  • Your
    or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parent, grandparent, brother,
    sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew who was a resident of Canada at
    any time in the year

Along with prescribed medications, medical expenses you can claim
include travel expenses for medical services, respite care expenses,
homeopathic services, tutoring services, ambulance transport, and costs
associated with seizure response dogs. Below is a list of medical
expenses you can and cannot claim in your tax return.

Expenses you can claim: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/llwbl-eng.html

Expenses you cannot claim: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/330/ntllwbl-eng.html

An authorized medical practitioner must prescribe expenses and
original receipts must support claims. Eligible expenses must have been
paid in the claim period and any reimbursements from insurance
companies, work medical plans, etc. must be deducted from the amount
claimed.

For more information about medical expenses, read this Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) webpage.

Save even MORE money with your child’s RESP

  

Canada Education Savings Programs (CESP)

If you are saving for a child’s education, the Government of Canada will help you with special saving incentives that are only available if you have an RESP.   See more at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/resp-reee/cesp-pcee/menu-eng.html

Get help filing your return

  

Get help filing your tax return:

If you qualify for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program and have a simple tax situation, a trained volunteer will help you complete your income tax and benefit return.

To maintain an individual’s eligibility for the RDSP they must file a tax return.

To receive your GST rebate, you must file a tax return.

For more information, go to:

www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer

For clinics in BC Click on the LINK to Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinics.