Milburn’s Excellent Guide to Back Dating Disability Credits

So what are we talking about here?

Most of the federal tax credits that I describe on my website are based on the foundation of eligibility of the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). This is granted by the government after a successful filing of the T2201 form.

I will warn you that this is a long post.  If you are not interested in getting a substantial amount of money from the government, please stop reading now! On the other hand if you are like most humans and you like money, read on and I will provide you with some simple solutions.

Many people are unaware that the tax credits in question begin not on the day the DTC is granted, but rather the effective date, which may be many years in the past or ideally birth. Of course, as readers of my website, you obviously consulted my T2201 guide and ensured that birth was the effective date of the disability.  You did read the guide…right? If you were unaware of this, you can certainly re-apply for the DTC with updated information using the form T2201.

Once the DTC eligibility is in hand, many of the tax credits can be back dated to the effective date of the disability, but in most cases, you have to ask for it.

So, one by one, here are some of the tax credits that you can have back dated.  Please don’t dismiss this as too hard.  The process is very easy and can add up to a substantial amount of money. You can do it with only a couple of hours work and the payout can in some cases be worth tens of thousands of dollars of after tax money. Hey, I would love to get a job that pays $5,000 per hour.  Wouldn’t you?

The Disability Tax Credit

This is the only tax credit which can be back dated automatically on request.  The new T2201 form has an election (in other words…tick the box) to have the government automatically calculate the amount for you.  Why it is an election is beyond me.  Why wouldn’t someone want the the government to send them a pile of money?  The DTC is presently worth about $2,300. Multiply that by the years owing and that could turn into a lot of coin.

The Child Disability Benefit

Once you qualify for the DTC, the government will automatically calculate a back dated amount for the current and two previous tax years.  Prior to those years, you will have to make a request. To make this request is dead simple.  Write a letter to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and ask that they back date this benefit to the effective date of the DTC.  It’s just that simple!

At over $2,700 per year for a low income household, this tax free benefit can add up dramatically.

Medical Expenses

All those years of tutoring or therapy can now be claimed.  Use the T1-ADJ form to make the request.  It’s a simple one page form with no calculations required. Make sure you include receipts and invoices to back this up. Refer to for more information.

Attendant Care Expenses

A sub-section of Medical Expenses which may include hiring a nanny for your child. Refer to for more information.

Fitness and Arts Tax Credit

Even though the federal government has phased out it’s program, you can still claim expenses from years past using the T1-ADJ form.  Remember that for each year of DTC eligibility, the government will add $500 to the total just because you have a disabled child. Receipts are required if you have not already submitted them. Refer to for more information.

Child Care Expenses

You did hang on to your receipts from years past, right?  If so, you can now claim up to $10,000 per child eligible for the DTC. Again the T1-ADJ form is the one to use. Refer to for more information.

Canada Caregiver Amount

The Canada Caregiver Amount (which now incorporates the Family Caregiver Amount) can be back dated to 2012 (the inception of the credit) or the effective date of the DTC, whichever is later.  No receipts are required and again the T1-ADJ form is used. Refer to for more information.

Home Buyers Amount

Normally this is for first time home buyers, but if you purchased a home for the benefit of someone who qualifies for the DTC, then you may be eligible for this $5,000 tax credit. The purchase must be made to allow this person to live in a home that is more accessible or better suited to their needs. Once again, use the T1-ADJ form. Refer to for more information

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

If you had home renovations in 2016 for the benefit of someone who qualifies for the DTC, you may claim up to $10,000 of expenses.  Refer to this post for more information.  Once again use the T1-ADJ.


Receipts must be supplied to back up your claims for the following credits/deductions:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Attendant Care Expenses
  • Fitness Tax Credit
  • Arts Tax Credit
  • Home Accessibility Tax Credit
  • Home Buyers Amount
  • Child Care Expenses

Normally when filing a tax return, you would not include receipts, but rather hold on to them in case CRA asks for them.  In this case as you are filing for past credits, you must include them in your letter.  Make sure that they are broken down by year and category.  It should go without saying, but if you don’t have the receipts, don’t claim the credit.

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

OK, so this is a little bit different than the tax credits referred to above, but no less valuable. The RDSP grants and bonds from the government (read that as free money) can be back dated to the effective date of the DTC.  All you have to do, is open the RDSP.  The Disability Savings Bond (up to $1,000 per year) will automatically be back dated. To receive back dated Government Saving Grants, you will have to make appropriate contributions to the account.

That sounds like way too much work!

I agree! Two hours of work to receive thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars is completely unreasonable. Fortunately, Milburn has created an easier solution for you!

It turns out that you don’t actually have to use the form T1-ADJ.  You can just write a letter instead.  Too much work still?  No problem! I have created a template letter in docx format that you can download here and send to the CRA.  You’re welcome!

Anything Else?

For God’s sake don’t pay anyone to do this for you.  So called “Disability Agencies” will charge you an exorbitant amount to do what you can easily do yourself.  Don’t even call them for a quote, unless you enjoy being harassed to use their services.

What next?

Once you have completed all of the above, there are three very important steps that you must do:

  1. Firstly, congratulate yourself for being so clever.
  2. Secondly, go out and celebrate your good fortune.
  3. Thirdly, post your experience on whatever parent message board you are using.  Let other parents know how valuable this is and encourage them to do the same.

30 thoughts on “Milburn’s Excellent Guide to Back Dating Disability Credits”

  1. We have been unable to get our assessment back dated to birth. They will not change it from the date of diagnosis. Is there another way to have this done without fighting with people that did the assessment?
    I’m hoping to start up an RDSP this year for my little guy and that it can be backdated is good to know going into it.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. It is a shame that some doctors are so unwilling to back date to birth. Your choice now is to either accept what you have or find another doctor who will back date it to birth. If you have already submitted your T2201, then you will have to go through the whole procedure again.

      I recommend that you contact other parents in your area and find out which doctors are more cooperative.

  2. Thank you for the sample letter re: backdating of credits and benefits, Milburn.
    The creation of this website and all your experience and contributions are inspirational and encouraging to me.
    Question: I am currently composing a letter to the CRA requesting solely the backdating of the CDB. The DTC was declared eligible for the 2004 to 2023 tax years. Do I request the backdating to 2004 or 2007, or? We automatically received the most recent years, as is typical.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and congratulations on getting approved for the DTC!

      As with most tax issues, the most that you can back date is 10 years. That would be the 2004 tax year, although having said that if you apply for previous years, the worst that they can do is to say no.

      If you have used the latest T2201 form (that has been out for about a year now), the DTC itself will be automatically back dated if you requested it on the form.

      Good luck and let us know how it turned out!

  3. Hello – great post!
    My question is how to I fill out a new TD-1 and TD-1-BC? Is it “#11 Amounts transferred from a dependent?” And what amount do I enter?

    1. Excellent question! Now there is someone who is thinking ahead.

      Yes, #11 is the correct line. You may claim $8,113 (for 2017) as the basic disability amount and add a supplement of $4,732 (for 2017) for taxpayers under 18 years of age.

      Please note that this supplement may be reduced if you have child care and/or attendant care claims.

  4. Hello, After years of our son struggling, he was given a diagnosis of ADHD in October 2017.

    Today, 6 months later, his pyschiatrist had stated that it may actually be Autism.

    Since he is 19 can we apply for back dating of benefits he would have, possibly been , available before he turned 18?

    Also, approx 7 years ago, my son was complaining of sever headaches. He had a MRI looking for tumors which, thankfully, he did not have. Would the MRI be beneficial to plead his case. Because of his deamenor he was never
    seen as a problem in school. There was no formal assessment for Autism done during his school years. He was actually assessed in grade 9 & was found to be above average of intellect There are years of grade reports commenting on his functional skills & abilities lacking in cognitive behavior. Should I request that info from the school board. Do you think that might support his claim?

    Thank you for all the info that you have made available!

    1. Hi Lynda

      Thanks for posting. It’s not actually the diagnosis that matters in the application for the Disability Tax Credit. It is how a condition impacts his daily life. CRA has different “Activities of Daily Living” such as speaking, walking, mental functions necessary for everyday life and a few others. Have a read through my T2201 guide to see if these may apply to your child. Also you can read the CRA website for more information and
      Good luck

  5. Hi there, we have asked for back dating to be automatic on the T2201 and got approval back in January. We have received confirmation of the CDB for the past two years (and letter in for previous years), but haven’t received anything for the Disability Tax Credit yet. Do you know if it takes time for disability tax credit to arrive? I’m about to submit fitness receipts and wondering if I should mention the DTC credit but I don’t want to confuse the system! Do they just automatically give it to the parent that is listed on the T2201? Thank you,

    1. Hi. That is an excellent question. I don’t know how long it will take to come your way, but if you did select it on the T2201, the payment should be coming your way. It should go automatically to the parent selected on the T2201 form.

      I would submit the other receipts for back dating. You can also add the Disability Tax Credit later.

  6. Hello,
    I wished I found your site a few months back when I initially applied for the DTC for my 13 yr old daughter who is hard of hearing. It would have saved me lots of headaches as she was denied the first time.
    She recently got approved for 2010 and future tax years. I am planning to request back dating of credits since her birth.
    I’ve been applying in her behalf but the appeals officer told me that it should have been my husband applying as he has the higher income and I’m only part time.
    Is it too late to change it? What should be my next step?
    Thanks for your help

    1. Hello
      Congratulations on getting approved for the Disability Tax Credit!
      It’s hard to give you a definite answer because I don’t know exactly what you have submitted to CRA, but the appeals officer may very well be correct.
      If your income is low, you may not be able to take advantage of some of the tax credits. You should read this page for more guidance on which spouse should claim expenses
      You raise a very good question, but I don’t know if you can change this after the fact. You could try submitting a T1-ADJ form requesting that the credit be changed from one spouse to another, but there is no guarantee that CRA will do this.
      Let us know how it turns out.
      Good luck!

  7. I can’t thank you enough for your valuable information. We just received notification that approves our submitted DTC. The Psychologist who completed the assessment would only date the application back 2 years, our GP thought us greedy to ask for anymore than those two years. We went to the Pediatrician who was very familiar with the process and back dated it to birth. It was costly – emotionally as well as financially, but with your encouragement we did not give up. Thank you.

  8. I just received confirmation that my 21-year-old son has been approved for the DTC for the years 2010 through 2024. We did not fill out the section with me claiming his disability amount because he is functional enough to be able to sign for himself; however, on my 2018 taxes I did claim the caregiver credit and asked for them to transfer his DTC to me if he was eligible. Since I did not fill out the information for myself on his T2201, will this make it difficult for me to get credit for previous years?

    1. It makes it a bit more difficult if your name does not appear on the T2201. Whose name did appear as his parent/guardian? You should be able to request backdated credits to 2010 if you had custody of your son. Does he have income now? Do you need to transfer the credit moving forward? If there are no custody issues, you should be able to request having the DTC given to you going back to 2010.

    2. We didn’t put anyone as parent or guardian even though I filled out the form for him. He is not autistic but this website has been very helpful for me. I did claim the caregiver amount and ask for the credit to be transferred to me for the 2018 tax year and I see on his tax return (processed) that they didn’t include it on his, so I assume they are including it on mine (not yet processed).

      No custody issues; he has no income; he will still be dependent on me for the foreseeable future.

  9. OK, got it. You should be able to claim the DTC amount transferred from a dependent, if you are also declaring on your taxes that he is dependent on you for the basic necessities of life.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!! Your website is very impressive.
    I am now only confused with…
    The lower income earner (myself) should claim CCB and CDB.
    The higher income earner (my husband) should claim the DTC, which we did.
    How do these all get married up? We just received DTC approval for our son (who is listed on my CRA account for CCB). How do I now claim the CDB if the T2201 is in my husband’s
    name? Do they figure it out or need to send letter? Thank you!!

    1. HI. You are over thinking this one. CRA knows that you are the parents. Just have your husband claim the DTC while you claim the CDB and all is well.

  11. I really can’t thank you enough for all your time spent giving us parents easily digested information. To think of all the lives you’ve changed is nothing short of amazing.
    Now that my sons DTC is backdated to birth (yay) I will be opening up his RDSP. Now, I understand that the government will match me up to $1000 per year according to my financial situation but do you know if I need to place the total amount to be matched in on opening? My son is eight so that would be $8,000 deposited by me and matched to C$16,000 by the government. Or, would I be able to deposit $4,000 this year and $4,000 next year… and still have the government match me to $16,000?

    1. Hi. Congratulations on getting the DTC back dated to birth! That is a big accomplishment and now comes the reward. I am assuming that you are in a higher income household in which case you would be correct about the matching. You may split the payments between years and the government will match each contribution.

  12. Hi Milburn – love all your advice! I am divorced (not amicably) and my ex earns a considerable amount more than me. Is there any benefit in me applying for the DTC or will all the benefits go to my ex husband? Thank you!

    1. Hi Jo. I’m sorry to hear about your divorce. It’s difficult to say without a detailed look at your finances to know if you would equally benefit from collecting the DTC.
      What I would say is that as part of the divorce proceedings, an overall financial plan should be constructed taking all factors into account including the DTC. Also, keep in mind that only one party can claim the DTC. If you both try to claim it then both claims will be denied.
      The bottom line is that as unpalatable as it is, you need to work with your ex and come up with a plan.

  13. Hello!
    Our son was approved for the DTC in early 2019 and it was back dated to age 1 (so awesome!), he was almost 8 when diagnosed in Dec 2018. I am the higher earner but my husband applied for it under his name. Should we try to go back and transfer it to my name as the higher earner? Going forward on our taxes, I believe they just give the max amount as they know we are married. How do we move forward with switching it over if this is what we should do to get the max amount of money? Thanks! Jill

    1. First off congratulations! You have a lot of claims to make now and you will likely get a sizeable amount from the government.
      On the T2201 form there was an option to have the government calculate the back dated DTC automatically. It may or may not be a big deal who claims the money. If one parent has a high salary and the other has zero then obviously the higher income earner should claim it. If you both earned good money and paid taxes, there is a good chance that it will not matter. The amount of the transferred credit will not change based on the parents salary. The key point is that the DTC is a non-refundable tax credit which means it cannot reduce your tax below zero.
      Going forward, each year you may choose while doing your taxes, which parent will receive the transfer. It is just as easy as ticking the box in your tax software and choosing the parent. It is not complicated in the least.
      Good luck with all the back dating requests. It is nice to have a win sometimes.

  14. Can the parent that stays at home with the child The mother get the cdb and the dad who work get the DCT who pays taxes they both have Separate bank accounts the mom get the child tax credit in her bank account

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