After your precious child receives an autism diagnosis your emotions can be unpredictable. No one can prepare you for how the words, ‘your child has autism!’ will affect you as a parent. It’s one of the most impactful, bitter-sweet moments of your life. You finally realize it’s not your parenting, but it’s also not something you can control. Your child is different, but then again aren’t all children different?
You realize that to help your child achieve his or her potential, they will need some support. It’s time to navigate through the various treatment options, and to do that you will need money. Fortunately the government provides autism funding and various tax-saving programs for families with a child on the autism spectrum.
Some good places to start:
Take a look at the following four steps and you will be well on your way to getting on track with funding!
Step 1: Get your Autism Funding in order
As tedious as administration is, it needs to be completed to get financial support. Call your local Ministry of Children & Family Development for Children & Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) to set up and Autism Funding meeting. Your designated Social Worker will help you set up your Autism Funding supplied by the Government of British Columbia.
- If your child is diagnosed between the ages of 0-6 years, your child will be funded by The Autism Funding Unit BC with up to $22,000 per year to support Early Childhood Development Services
- Once your child is age 6-18 years the funding reduces up to $6,000 per year. *
*NOTE: The reason for the dramatic funding drop is due to public/homeschooling funding through the Ministry of Education. The education funding in public school supports your classroom CEA & Resource teachers.
Ministry of Children & Family Development for Children and Youth with Special Needs
Serving: Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland
107-1664 Richter St. Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 8N3
Serving: Vernon, Lumby & Armstrong
3007 35th Ave, Vernon, BC V1T 2S9
Serving: Penticton, Osoyoos, Keremeos, Summerland, Oliver, Princeton, Cawston, Naramata
104-1873 Main St. Penticton, B.C. V2A 5H2
Step 2: Disability Tax Relief
Once the funding is in place many families qualify for the Child Disability Tax Credit.
The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting persons reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. Being eligible for the DTC can also open the door to other government programs. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/dtc or phone 1-800-959-8281.
This process can also be long and tiresome, just realize that if your family does qualify it can literally pay back. The Canada Revenue Agency website gives you step by step instructions on how to apply. You will have to include your GP or specialist confirmation of disability and signature.
Many times when applying for the disability tax credit, the government will challenge the request. Be persistent and patient and try again… this is how our government works. Wait a few months before any confirmation or rejection.
If your request comes back excepted, congratulations!
Next, you will want to claim the following:
- Child Disability Tax Payments: If your child is over 3 years old the government will only re-assess your Child Tax payments back by three years to include the Child Disability Tax payments. With that said, for a child over 3, you will have petition a letter stating that they reach back your child’s disability tax credit and have it dated back to your child’s year of birth.
- Income Tax Child Disability Amount: You’re now able to reassess your income tax returns to include the child disability tax amount, back-dating to the year your child was born. You will have to fill out the tax adjustment request form, one for each year.
- Fill out Part A (identification), and Part C (adjustment details)
- State a simple explanation of your child’s diagnosis and acceptance of disability tax in the “Other Details or Explanations” part of the form.
- When you’re ready to mail in these requests, also include a copy of your child assessment from IHCAN and your child’s acceptance letter stating they have qualified for disability tax relief.
Step 3: Other Tax Credits for this year onward
- Children’s Fitness Tax Amount: You can claim to a maximum of $500 per child the fees paid relating to the cost of registration or membership for your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of physical activity. Learn more here.
- Family Caregiver Amount: For 2013 and subsequent years, if you have a dependent with an impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be eligible to claim an additional amount of $2,040 for one or more of the following amounts. Learn more here.
Step 4: Set up a RDSP
A registered disability savings plan (RDSP) is a savings plan that is intended to help parents and others save for the long term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
Contributions to an RDSP are not tax deductible and can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59. Contributions that are withdrawn are not included in income for the beneficiary when they are paid out of an RDSP. However, the Canada disability savings grant, the Canada disability savings bond, investment income earned in the plan, and rollover amounts are included in the beneficiary’s income for tax purposes when they are paid out of the RDSP. Learn more...
Congratulations… you’ve tackled funding!