Recently a friend of mine asked me for advice as his three-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with autism. A couple of years ago he wanted to know about early signs of autism in babies, and I directed him to the Geneva Centre which has a very clear guide to learn the early signs of autism and identify the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching. Now that his daughter has received the diagnosis, he is quite distraught and confused, which is unsurprising as parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder well know, the days after receiving a diagnosis of autism are overwhelming as you try to determine the best course of therapy for your child. You are upset, exhausted, and quickly trying to figure out what to do and what services and funding you can access. The last thing on your mind is how to file your taxes or which forms and certificates you need to apply for credits and benefits.
But there are resources you are entitled to with a diagnosis of autism that you must apply for, and doing so will provide additional funding and support which every special needs family will benefit from. I made him this list of autism services and funding available in Ontario, and thought it would be beneficial to share for others searching for all this information in one place:
Here are the basics for a newly diagnosed family:
DISABILITY TAX CREDIT: REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF INCOME TAX YOU PAY ON YOUR TAXES:
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 open the door to other government programs such as the Child Disability Benefit (see below.) You have to apply for the DTC before you submit your taxes. For more information click here or phone the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.
CHILD DISABILITY BENEFIT: TAX-FREE MONTHLY BENEFIT
The child disability benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to families who care for a child under age 18 with a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions.To get the child disability credit, you must be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (above). To get the DTV, you need a medical practitioner to certify for you Form T2201, the Disability Tax Credit Certificate. (see below.) For more information on the Child Disability Benefit click here or phone the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.
DISABILITY TAX CREDIT CERTIFICATE: FORM T2201
To apply for the Disability Tax Credit, which you need to receive the Child Disability Benefit, you need a doctor to fill out the T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate, which you then send to the Canada Revenue Agency. Click here for that form.
SPECIAL SERVICES AT HOME FUNDING
The Special Services at Home program helps families who are caring for a child with a developmental and/or physical disability. Families will receive a lump sum every year they can use towards paying for special services in or outside your home. You can use this funding to pay for services such as respite support for your family to give yourself a break, or for programs that help your child learn new skills. Click here for info about the Special Services at Home funding, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the application form.
INCONTINENCE SUPPLIES GRANT PROGRAM:
This program is for children and youth between the ages of 3 to 18 years with chronic disabilities (physical or developmental) that result in irreversible incontinence or retention problems lasting longer than six months and requiring the use of incontinence supplies such as diapers, pull-ups or adult diapers like Depends. Keep your receipts as periodically the program will ask you to send them in so they can assess your usage. If you haven't kept your bills and are asked for them, they will give you a period of time to make purchases and collect the receipts. Click here for the info and form for the Easter Seals Ontario Incontinence Supplies Grant Program.
ONE TO ONE SUMMER SUPPORT WORKER REIMBURSEMENT FUND
This fund, provided by Autism Ontario, is intended to help parents pay for a support worker to accompany the child to a camp/program or on community outings. It can also apply to a support/respite worker who is working with your child in your home. The following types of expenses can be approved for reimbursement:
Respite services to support caregivers during the day, evening or weekend, at home or elsewhere (for example, supervision of the child or youth, help with daily living activities or taking child out for an activity); and fees for online or in-person recreational and cultural activities and camp programs that help to promote independence and develop social, communication and life skills (for example sports, arts and music programs, museums, and camps).
You have to apply every year and it's a lottery; you'll be notified if you are chosen and then reimbursed after you submit receipts. Click here for more details.
If I've missed anything you would like to see added to this post, please comment below or e-mail me. Hope this helps. Rosie :)