In the past couple weeks, the Senate released its report on the status of the Disability Tax Credit and Registered Disability Savings Plan and its recommendations on how to make it better. https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/421/SOCI/Reports/2018-06-18_SS5_RDSP-DTC_FINAL_WEB_e.pdf This report was received by the Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier. I personally received a letter this week stating the Minister had reviewed my daughter's file and reversed the decision made by the Canada Revenue Agency.
The following is the reply I sent to her and the members of the Senate who created the report.
July 10, 2018
Dear Minister Lebouthillier,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to review my daughter Skylar More's appeal for the reconsideration of the decision made regarding her Disability Tax Credit. As you read, her diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder markedly restricts her ability to set goals, make judgments, problem-solve, use adaptive functioning and working memory 100% of the time. We fully recognize that she will live an interdependent life with us and others for the rest of her life. To know that we now have the means to provide for her after we pass away alleviates a great concern for us and we thank you for that.
We did read with great interest the Senate report that was released a couple weeks ago regarding the CRA's handling of DTC applications. We also appreciated the time and effort the committee took to understand where the issues are and believe the recommendations they made would certainly have a positive impact on this process going forward.
Your announcement of the establishment of an Advisory Committee going forward is what caught my attention and in part why I am writing to you today. Health Canada recognizes FASD as a permanent neurological disability which always markedly restricts goal setting, judgment making, problem-solving, adaptive function and working memory 100% of the time and will for the entire lifetime. It is now the second most prevalent neurological disability amongst our Canadian population behind only dementia/Alzheimer's with over 1 million individuals living with this disability and twice as common as Autism. I would encourage you to include a FASD neuropsychologist on your advisory committee as it is a very complex disability which requires four different specialists working in collaboration.
I do appreciate you taking the time to review my daughter's application and reversing the determination. We were not looking forward to having to go to tax court as that would have been a highly stressful situation for my daughter. We do hope you will reached the same conclusion when you review my son Jacob's application and my daughter Cassie who needs to submit for consideration again next year since her three years will be up.
One item we would ask going forward is regarding the frequency of reapplication regarding our children. While we appreciate your decision to give us five years before having to reapply for my daughter, FASD is a permanent lifetime disability with no cure. We also know that Tax Court has established case history stating the same fact and has ruled that no reapplication is necessary when the diagnosis is FASD. Canada Health states the same fact and the Ontario Disability Support Program agrees as well. We would ask going forward that our three children, Skylar, Cassie and Jacob More, all of whom have been diagnosed with FASD would receive a lifetime exemption to reapplication for the Disability Tax Credit.
I look forward to your reply.