DTC Fee Stories
Last October, Access RDSP did a call out for stories about the barriers people with disabilities face when applying for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). We asked to hear from you about fees charged by medical practitioners or application fees or requests for a percentage of your return by a for-profit company. This year, in honour of RDSP Awareness Month, we would like to share these and help raise awareness of these barriers.
The following are some of the stories we received from clients:
“I recently renewed [my DTC] and my doctor charged me $40 to fill out her part of the form…which was basically what she had said the first time.”
“I had to pay 15% to [a for-profit company] five years ago. On my renewal this past year, I had to pay $80 to my doctor for DTC. Very unfair against persons with disabilities!”
“I was charged $75 by my GP to do the form, and the accountant also charged fees that meant nearly all of the benefit was absorbed. I know that in future tax years I will have that DTC in place, but it was distressing to have hundreds of dollars absorbed by the admin.”
With stories like these, we can see how important it is to break down these barriers that contribute poverty and hardship to people with disabilities. At DABC, we continue to advocate for the removal of these barriers and urge people to help us raise awareness of these injustices. If you or anyone you know has had to pay fees to access the DTC, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for Disability Tax Credit Fee Stories!
Everyone should be talking about barriers to the DTC!
Our Access RDSP advocates have heard from many clients about the financial barriers that have made it more difficult for them to apply for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Barriers to the DTC (and, by extension, the RDSP contribute to poverty amongst the disability community in BC. We continue to advocate for the removal of these barriers.
While applying for the Disability Tax Credit, if you dealt with:
– A fee from your medical practitioner that you couldn’t afford
– A company that charged you an application fee or percentage of your return
We want to hear from you! You can reach us by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 1-800-663-1278 to share your story.
If you haven’t applied for the Disability Tax Credit, and you would like help, contact us the same way.
Why Connecting Patients with DTC/RDSP Matters: A Physician's Perspective
By Dr. Gary Bloch
A 48 year old with multiple sclerosis, a 24 year old with leukemia, an 18 year old with Down’s Syndrome, a 35 year old with recurrent bouts of severe depression. These are all patients of mine, each one with a unique story, each one working hard to improve their health and standard of living despite their disability. And each one has a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).
I am a family physician, not a financial advisor. My training prepared me to deal with MI, RA, MDD and CRF – not EI, CPP, DTC, or RDSP. But years of working with people who experience disability, and most of whom live in poverty and without secure housing, have convinced me that I must address their social situations directly to improve their health. Conversations about “treating poverty” through accessing income supports have expanded to the inclusion of a Social Determinants of Health Committee and income security specialists in my family health team.
At the foundation of my work on addressing poverty, however, lies a basic intervention: connect my patients with the income support systems that will improve their income security, and that will prevent them from falling into deeper poverty. The disability income security system in Canada is large and complex, but there are certain key benefits that require a physician’s input to access. These include provincial social assistance disability support programs, Canada Pension Plan-Disability, and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).
We see applications for these programs on a regular basis. What we often don’t recognize, however, are the programs people with confirmed disability qualify for that can have a major impact on income and life security. One of the most important, and under-accessed, of these programs is the RDSP. Like an RRSP, but for people with disabilities, this program allows individuals living with disabilities to save money for the future and to access heavy government subsidies. Any individual who qualifies for the DTC can open a RDSP.
While some outreach has been done by government and disability advocacy organizations, many people living with disabilities have no idea RDSPs exist. This is where front line health providers can play a huge role in guiding their patients to this program. First, complete an application for the DTC. Once qualified, advise patients to open a RDSP. Very low income patients can access large grants to build their savings. People able to contribute their own funds can access up to a 300% match in government funds.
We often find ourselves caught up in the day-to-day struggles of our patients who live with disabilities. But we can also enable our patients to look to and plan for their futures. Approaching middle and older age with a disability and no financial security will decrease health and wellbeing. Disability income support programs, and especially forward-looking, subsidized savings programs like the RDSP, offer stress relief, security, and ultimately increased hope for a comfortable future.
Gary Bloch is a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital and Inner City Health Associates, and an Associate Professor with the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine.
Gary created the Poverty Tool with the Centre of Effective Practice, which is designed to guide primary health care providers in income interventions: www.cep.health/poverty
Use the DTC tool for your client’s applications: www.disabilityalliancebc.org/dtc-app
For financial planning tools, including Financial Benefits Navigator: www.prospercanada.org/Resources/Online-Tools.aspx
For the RDSP calculator: www.rdsp.com/calculator .