Caring for a child who has severe mental or physical disabilities is a lot—both emotionally and financially—and we applaud you. If your family cares for a disabled child, then you may qualify to receive monthly financial help from the government.

It’s called the child disability benefit (CDB). This benefit is tax-free, meaning you do not include it as part of your taxable income. And it’s available to any family—regardless of whether you’re the parent, grandparent, or foster parent—who cares for a child who is disabled and under the age of 18.

Key Takeaways
  1. Canada’s child disability benefit (CDB) provides monthly income to families who provide care for a physically or mentally impaired child.
  2. The maximum monthly benefit per eligible child from July 2023 through June 2024 is $264.41.
  3. Qualifying disabilities include those that interfere with quality of life, including physical impairments and mental disabilities such as ADHD and autism.

What determines Canada’s CDB eligibility?

To get the child disability benefit, a medical professional must certify that a child has a severe and long-term disability that prevents them from operating in full form from a physical and mental perspective. The medical professional must fill out Form T2201 certifying the child has prolonged and severe physical or mental impairments.

You must be also be eligible for the Canada child benefit (CCB) and your child must be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC).

If you are already getting the CCB for your child who is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC), you do not need to apply for the CDB, because you will get it automatically.

What types of disabilities qualify?

Any physical or mental disability that is severe and prolonged can qualify for monthly CDB payments. Often parents are still left with questions, however, particularly about mental disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. Let’s answer them.

1. Is ADHD a disability in Canada?

Yes, the CRA recognizes ADHD as a disability in Canada. Since this disability presents itself in various forms and levels of severity, it may or may not qualify your child for the CDB.

The ADHD must be prolonged—a problem for at least 12 months—and it must be severe enough to interfere with day-to-day activities. A child with severe ADHD may not be able to concentrate long enough to dress themselves, for instance, or control impulses appropriately to attend school.

2. Is there a child disability benefit for autism in Canada?

Yes. Due to the extensive effect autism can have on a child’s quality of life, autism is covered under the child disability benefit. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects and impairs communication and social interactions. Some children may be completely noncommunicative or unable to eat or sleep properly. These disabilities have a significant impact on the child and caregiver.

How much is the child disability benefit?

The monthly child disability tax benefit is based on your household income. From July 2023 to June 2024, the benefit maxes out at $264.41 per month per eligible child, or $3,172.92 annually ($264.41 x 12 months = $3,172.92).

Your child disability benefit payments are calculated from July of one year to June of the next year using the following information:

The benefit starts being reduced when the AFNI is more than $75,537. The reduction is calculated as follows:

  • For families with one child eligible for the benefit, the reduction is 3.2% of the amount of the AFNI over $75,537.
  • For families with two or more children eligible for the benefit, the reduction is 5.7% of the amount of the AFNI.

Is the child disability benefit retroactive in Canada?

Yes, the CDB is a retroactive benefit. The first time you receive it, the CRA will automatically calculate your payments for the current and two previous benefit years. To continue receiving the CDB, you must remain eligible for the CCB and your child must also remain eligible for the DTC.

Filing your taxes each year ensures no delays or interruptions in your benefit payments. That’s why it’s important to do your taxes each year, even if you had no income at all or your income is tax exempt.

If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also need to do their taxes every year. The CRA uses the information from your joint income tax and benefit return to calculate your benefit and credit payments.

Is the CDB the same as the DTC?

No, the DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that may reduce the amount of taxes you pay. This tax credit is designed to help offset some of the financial burden that comes with caring for a person who has physical or mental disabilities.

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