In 2017 alone, 22% of Canadians over the age of 15 had at least one disability. That’s roughly one in five people.
Being a caregiver to someone with a disability is an enormous responsibility. Besides having the normal duties of family life, a caregiver must go above and beyond to provide for their loved one. These caregiving costs add up quickly, from accessibility improvements to extra health insurance.
If you’re in this position already, you know how much of a challenge it can be. But did you know there’s a special caregiver tax credit you may qualify for?
The Canada Caregiver Credit, or CCC, is a recently simplified benefit for disabled Canadians and their caregivers. To learn more about this program, including the Canada caregiver amount you may be eligible for, keep reading.
What Is the Canada Caregiver Credit?
What is the CCC, exactly?
The Canada Caregiver Credit is a new tax credit available to Canadians. It replaces three separate credits that were available before: the Caregiver Amount, the Amount for Infirm Dependents, and the Family Caregiver Amount.
Instead of having to qualify for these old credits separately, the new Caregiver Credit merges the benefits each of the old credits had. This is great news for caregivers, because the rules for claiming the old credits differed greatly from one another. This led to increased confusion for caregivers and their families.
With the new Canada Caregiver Credit, finding out whether you qualify for a tax credit is much easier. There’s only one set of requirements for the CCC, so either you qualify or you don’t.
How to Qualify for the Caregiver Tax Credit
How do you know if you’re eligible for the Caregiver Tax Credit?
There are a few different scenarios caregivers can fall into which may qualify them for the CCC. These include the following:
- You may be able to claim this tax credit if your spouse or partner has a physical or mental impairment and you support them
- You may also qualify if you support your spouse or partner’s child or grandchild
- Finally, you may qualify for the CCC if you support your spouse or partner’s parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew
What It Means to Support a Disabled Relative
Of course, you would surely show support to any loved one who has a disability. But what does it mean to support them in the context of the caregiver tax credit?
According to the eligibility requirements, an individual is considered dependent on you for support when they rely on you frequently and consistently to give them some or all of the basic necessities of life. This can include food, clothing, and shelter.
The Tax Credit Amounts You Can Claim
You probably feel that any help with saving money is a welcome change. But just how much can you expect to save thanks to the CCC?
As you might have expected, the amount you’re allowed to claim on your taxes depends on a few different factors. Some of these factors include:
- Your relationship to the person you’re a caregiver to
- Your loved one’s net income
- Whether any other credits are being claimed for your loved one
- Your specific circumstances
You may be eligible to claim an extra amount if the disabled person is your spouse or partner or a dependent over 18 years old. It’s also important to note that the amounts you can claim may change from one year to another.
If your loved one is a dependent under 18, additional rules may apply if you have shared custody of them or pay child support.
Documents to Support Your Claim
What documents might be needed to support your CCC claim?
You might need to show the Canada Revenue Agency a signed statement from your loved one’s doctor about their disability. The statement should indicate when the impairment began and how long it’s expected to last.
If your disabled loved one is under 18, the statement should also say that they will likely continue to depend on others for an indefinite duration. This means they need significantly more assistance for their personal needs compared to other children at their age.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t submit the doctor’s statement with your tax return. Instead, keep it nearby in case CRA asks for it. If the CRA has already approved your Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, you won’t need a signed statement.
Restrictions and Conditions
As with most tax credits, there are certain limitations and conditions which can apply to the Canada Caregiver Credit.
Some people think they can qualify for the CCC if they’re supporting an elderly parent or grandparent who lives with them. However, they are only eligible for the credit if their loved one is considered to be infirm.
You also cannot claim the CCC if the dependent is someone you’re required to pay child support for.
Saving Money for the Long Term
With that, you now know everything you need to take advantage of the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit.
While this benefit helps financially, it may not be enough support to finance the additional costs you may incur, for example, in the event of a sudden need for funds due to an accident or emergency.
Having a health insurance plan is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from financial despair due to a sudden disability.
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