It is tax season again, and there are quite a few tax credit programs offered by the government, which can significantly benefit seniors and their family caregivers. Some of these programs are listed below. If you know a family or senior who could benefit from this information, please share it with them.
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Tax Credits for the Caregiver
Caregiver Amount: If you are the primary caregiver of an individual with a disability, mental or physical, you may be eligible to claim a Caregiver Amount on Line 315 of your tax return.
Amount for an eligible dependent: If you support your parent or grandparent as a dependent, and meet certain other conditions such as that they lived with you in a home that you maintained, you may be able to claim Line 305 —amount for an eligible dependent on your tax return.
Claim Attendant care expenses: If you hire an attendant such as through a home care agency, to assist you to perform personal tasks, you can claim amounts paid for such services including: food preparation, housekeeping, laundry services, personal support worker, salon services, and more.
A family member of a senior can claim attendant care expenses as a medical expense for the senior being cared for.
To be eligible to claim these expenses as a medical expense, the individual receiving the care must be eligible for the disability tax credit or provide a written certification from a medical practitioner which explains that the service is necessary.
Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit
This credit benefits seniors aged 65 and older, and family members who live with them. If you want to make your home safer and more accessible, you can obtain up to $1500 after doing so by claiming up to $10,000 worth of eligible home improvements on your tax return. Your return for these renovations are calculated as 15% of the eligible expenses you made.
Home and Vehicle Modification Program
Seniors with disabilities which restrict mobility may be eligible for funds to make their home and vehicle more accessible. This program aims to allow you to live safely in your own home, avoid job loss and participate in your community. The program guidelines have been established by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Drug Benefit Programs
Did you know that most of the cost of your prescription drugs may be covered by the province of Ontario? Depending on your income, you may be eligible to pay less for each of your prescriptions either via the Seniors Co-Payment Program or the Trillium Drug Program (TDP).
Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant
Seniors who are homeowners could get up to $500 to assist with property taxes. You can apply for the grant each year by completing the ON-BEN Application for the Ontario Trillium Benefit and Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant. This is part of your personal income tax and benefit return, and your tax advisor would be able to explain this credit to you.
Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS)
Ontario seniors 65 years and older who receive the federal Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement payments, could receive up to $83 per month so as to maintain their income above a certain amount.
Assistive Devices Program
Seniors who have long term physical disabilities or require long term oxygen therapy may be eligible to receive personalized assistive devices in order to increase their independence.
The Assistive Devices Program will pay up to 75% of the cost of certain equipment such as orthopedic braces, artificial limbs, breathing aids, and wheelchairs. The program will contribute a fixed amount for other equipment such as hearing aids. Other supplies such as ostomy apparatus, breast prostheses, needles and syringes are paid as a grant directly to the individual. Home Oxygen supplies are generally paid for fully — 100%.