Skip to main content

Why are Neediest Disabled Canadians Receiving Least Benefit

  • Published: 2016-06-12 : The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary (ucalgary.ca).
  • Synopsis: Report provides evidence of limitations of the Canada disability tax credit and presents potential reforms which would raise their incomes 27%

Main Document

Quote: "Designing the support as a tax credit means that only those Canadians with disability who earn enough income to have them owing taxes can take advantage of it."

When the government establishes a social program whose primary purpose is to help provide support to low-income people with disabilities, its success should be measured on how well it achieves that purpose.

Unfortunately, there are reasons to seriously question the usefulness of Canada's disability tax credit (DTC) since it is helping so very few of the people it is intended to support. In fact, the credit is helping only a small number of Canadians with disability who qualify for it, and least of all those in the poorest families who receive an average of only $29 annually.

The School of Public Policy with authors Wayne Simpson and Harvey Stevens has released a report that provides evidence of the limitations of the DTC and presents potential reforms, including an enhanced refundable disability tax credit that could provide benefits to every family with a disabled person below the low income cut-off, which would raise their incomes 27 per cent.

According to the report "Designing the support as a tax credit means that only those Canadians with disability who earn enough income to have them owing taxes can take advantage of it. The unfortunate reality is that people with disability are often at low incomes precisely because their disability leaves them unable to work in full-time, well-paid jobs. Thus, the very people who need this support most are the ones least able to take advantage of it. The neediest disabled Canadians are receiving the least benefit. Far from being a successful policy, the results of the disability tax credit can only be described as disappointing."

Can this be rectified?

Yes. By making the disability tax credit refundable.

Along the same lines as a guaranteed minimum income, or negative income tax, those low-income Canadians with disabilities who qualify for the credit but lack sufficient income to benefit from the credit could simply be made eligible for a refund of the amount they cannot claim. Simply doing that, turning this non-refundable credit into a refundable credit, would increase the average benefit for Canada's poorest families with a disabled person from $29 to $511 increasing their total income by 4.1 per cent.

An even more effective option is the enhanced refundable DTC which can raise their incomes a far more consequential 27 per cent.

The paper can be downloaded at www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=research

Related Information:

  1. Tax Tips for Canadian Families - Canada Revenue Agency
  2. Disability and First Home Buyers Tax Credit - Canada - Canada Revenue Agency
  3. Claiming the Canada Disability Tax Credit - H&R Block Canada


Information from our Disability Tax: Laws & General Information section - (Full List).

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





  1. New Peer-reviewed Journal 'Autism in Adulthood' Launching in 2019
  2. People Want to Live Longer - But Only If in Good Health
  3. Canada's Aging Population Signals Need for More Inclusive, Accessible Transportation System
  4. Britain's Unproductive Disabled: A Continuing Moral Panic?

Citation



Disclaimer: Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.