This question has been coming up a lot lately as more and more people apply for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to become eligible for the Registered Disability Savings Plan in 2008. We’re hopeful that the RDSP will be available in 2008, and it is important that people sign up for the DTC as it can take longer to be processed and there will probably be a greater number of people applying in the coming months. By signing up for the DTC early you can ensure that you are eligible to receive the RDSP as soon as it is available.

Having spoken with people who currently receive the DTC, it has become apparent that there is a wide variety of time requirements when it comes to reapplying. While some people have been able to receive the certificate for a number of years without a requirement to re-apply, others have had to re-apply on a more regular basis. This led us to question what the guidelines were for the Canadian Revenue Agency when they evaluate the amount of time a DTC certificate will be valid before a recipient needs to apply again.

I spoke with someone at the Canadian Revenue Agency and they told me that the application for the DTC is first processed to see whether the applicant fits the guidelines outlined in the DTC criteria for eligibility. After identifying that an applicant is eligible, the application is then reviewed by the Canadian Revenue Agency Medical Board. This review generally takes 3-6 months to be completed, but varies greatly depending on the complexity of the case.

Following the review process the CRA Medical Board will assign an amount of time in which the certificate will be valid. The CRA outlined that this time designation is based on certain factors related to the disability, but would not comment on what these factors were and implied that they were dealt with on a case-to-case basis. They identified that the average time allotted to a DTC certificate is generally 3-4 years, but that this length can vary greatly depending on the Medical Review Boards recommendations.