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REGISTERED DISABILITY SAVINGS PLAN

When I started Mirella Muses my intention was to provide a variety of information to disabled individuals; I have to admit that I don’t know everything about the disabled community that I am a part of, that is why I make Mirella Muses  available to individuals who are experts in certain areas.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting with a gentleman that assists individuals with disabilities and their families apply for the Registered Disability Savings Plan.   In an effort to Enlighten Engage and Empower; I would like to introduce you to Steven Williams, RDSP Specialist; the following is his blog post for this edition of Mirella Muses.

Why do we do this when the compensation is, what some would call meager it is simple. It must be done for everyone that has a Disability Tax Credit, especially for those that are on provincial Income Support so that their retirement can hopefully be more comfortable.  Some have asked why I am so passionate about this program.  My response is as follows:

I have really good friends that wondered what the RDSP was as their son has Autism and asked me to look into it further.  I researched it for 3 months to make sure that I understood all of the ins and outs, the benefits and the ways around the shortcomings.  In my research I found that there were only a few people across Canada that even knew what it was so I found that there was a gap in service for people that need the RDSP.  Because of that gap, I decided to make it a personal mission of mine to make sure that everyone is aware of what is available and to help people open the RDSP to ensure that they have it.  I look forward to everyday that I get to help open a RDSP for someone.  It is my happy place.  When I get to help people, it is not work, it is pure enjoyment.

If you qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), you must open an RDSP

There are qualifying criteria to opening a RDSP and they are:

  1. Live in Canada
  2. Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  3. Qualify for the DTC
  4. Be under the age of 60. (49 to collect the free money that the government has)
  5. File your taxes from age 16 or 2006.

That is it; the biggest hurdle is the DTC.  Get it done!  If you think you qualify for it, try and try again if you don’t succeed the first or second time.

I have a client that is missing both of his legs.  His parents tried when he was a kid but CRA turned them down for whatever reason.  We got him to try again, and he ended up getting over $16,000 in tax refunds and now is collecting grants in his RSDP!

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tends to deny the DTC if they don’t understand the situation.  In the example above, yes, he can walk with the use of prosthetics; however, he has limited times to be able to wear them and is confined to a wheelchair for the other times that he cannot wear the prosthetics.  CRA denied him originally because the doctor wrote that he was able to walk with prosthetics, but did not explain that it was only for limited periods of time, so it was denied.

The other issue with getting the DTC is the doctors…some just don’t understand it and need to be educated.  I have had some clients come back and say that their doctor would not sign the form as they would need to basically be a walking zombie for them to sign it.  If this is the case, find another doctor.

Because the DTC is a tax credit, there is a lot of money involved in possible tax refunds. This is why the difficulty in getting it sometimes.  In Alberta the tax credit is currently (2015) worth $2,589.85 for adults and $4,335.20 for kids.  Qualifying for the DTC and being able to go back to 2006 to adjust the refunds can be as much as $23,033.86 for an adult or $38,243.93 for a child.  Every province has a different value for their credits, so the value of the DTC refund will change depending on the province.

Now that the DTC is out of the way and approved, OPEN an RDSP as soon as possible!

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is for anyone under the age of 60.  For those between 50 &60, it might not be the best option to save money, however, it is a great place to put an inheritance, etc. that would put you over the threshold amounts if you are on a provincial subsidy like AISH, ODSP.

For those under the age of 49, the RDSP is an absolute must have!

For those on provincial subsidies like AISH or ODSP, etc., no money needs to be put into the account.  The government will put in $1,000/year in Canada Disability Savings Bonds, up to a maximum of $20,000.

For those that can put some money into their RDSP and whose income is under $90,000 (roughly as this number changes every year) they will be matched 3:1 for the first $500 and 2:1 for the next $1,000 deposited.  So for $1,500, the government will put in $3,500 in Canada Disability Savings Grants!

If the income is over $90,000, then the government matches 1:1.  $1,000 for every $1,000 deposited each year.

The maximum amount of grants is $70,000! And what is even better…we can go back to 2008 to collect grants and bonds that we missed out on for not opening the RDSP right away!  That is a lot of money to collect!

CAUTION – if you are 46-49, you MUST get your RDSP open and funded (if you want the grants) NOW!  As soon as you are in the year that you turn 50 there are no more grants or bonds.  To be clear, if your birthday is December 15th and you turn 50 that day, it is too late to collect the government money.

Do not delay; get it opened as soon as possible!  Where do you get it opened?  The simple answer is give us a call 1.844.292.RDSP (7377) and we will arrange for someone to come and see you to get it done.  No cost and it takes about an hour.  (We get compensated from the financial institution that we work with, just like the banks would on any investment product like a RRSP or TFSA.  There are charges on each mutual fund that the financial intuition take to get paid themselves and then a portion gets sent to our office basically as a thank you for bringing the client to them.  This is the reason why not many do the RDSPs is due to the average compensation is about $6/month/client, this is why there is no cost to you.) Done.  We even do the follow up if there is something that is not absolutely perfect with the paperwork.  There are other places to go, however, learn from the experience of others that have tried…don’t do it.  There are many components of the RDSP that need to be taken care of to ensure that you get the money that is entitled to you for your retirement. We offer all our RDSP clients that are on income support complimentary tax preparation.

Steven Williams, RDSP Specialist

www.RDSPlan.ca

1.844.292.7377 (toll free)

Head Office

101, 11500 – 29 St SE

Calgary, AB T2Z3W9

 

 

INCOME SUPPORTS APPLICATION OR APPEAL PREPARATION CHECKLIST

The following is a list of suggested documents that can accompany application forms or appeal forms for any income supports programs:

Prescription medication list for the last year from pharmacist.

Letters from doctors: General Practitioner and any Specialists that have been seen.

Receipts for medical expenses such as walking aids or continence supplies that have been paid for by applicant.

Hospital Emergency Room, Admission and Operating Room records.

If disability was diagnosed at birth include birth records.

Any information in regards to disability, diagnosis or illness.

Records of treatment that has been utilized such as physical, occupational therapy or acupuncture. Request letter from therapist.

When trying to obtain documents you may be asked to pay a fee; inform the hospital or individual that you are applying for income supports or have low income and request that the fees be waived; you may be required to provide proof of income.

***PLEASE NOTE: Make copies of all documents and keep originals for your records in case department loses or misplaces documents; it is a really good idea to scan documents and save them on a memory stick or other external device.

***DISCLAMER: The above information provided is only intended to be general summary information for your use.

Journey Through The Healthcare System

I have had many experiences over the years within the healthcare system, but none quite like my last one.

A few years ago I had what would be considered Ovarian Cancer Symptoms; however at the time I didn’t know that’s what I was experiencing, I did express concern to my doctor at the time but my concern was all but ignored.  I eventually decided that it was time to seek out a new Doctor; at around the same time I started to experience pain in my right hand fingers.  The new physician wanted to investigate further before prescribing Cortisone injections.  I did a bone scan, the results came back that I have arthritis but also that my right and only kidney was refluxing.  I went to my Urologist and was then sent to get an ultrasound, when the results of the ultrasound came back not only was my kidney refluxing but it appeared that I had a very large abdominal mass (14cm).

My urologist then sent me to get a cystoscopy, which once again confirmed the kidney refluxing and the large abdominal mass; the physician who performed the cystoscopy was very confident that once I get the abdominal mass removed that the refluxing would stop.  I then was sent for an MRI to rule out cancer; cancer was ruled out and you could have heard my sigh of relief in the North Pole. However there was another mass so I actually had 2 abdominal masses one that was approximately 14 cm and the other that was approximately 8 cm.

I was then referred to a Gynecologist who sent me for a blood test called a Cancer Antigen Test (ca125).  The ca125 test came back elevated, being proactive as I am I proceeded to do research and found out that the elevated ca125 can mean many things not just cancer.  I discovered that the ca125 can be elevated due to high levels of blood sugar and if you have a condition referred as a fatty liver, which intern makes the pancreas react to the high sugar levels.

I made a point of staying off sugar for a time; went back to my doctor and requested a blood fasting test and also test for my liver.  I did this and what do you know my ca125 levels where very low; the gynecologist then referred to a physician at the Cross Cancer Institute; I know what’s with all this cancer stuff right, well I was thinking the same thing and really frightened.

The physician at the Cross and my Family Physician both told me that it was very unlikely that I have cancer, so again what is with all this cancer stuff.  But I did relax somewhat. It was decided that the course of action would be to remove the masses; the gynecologist at the Cross thought it would be beneficial if there was a Urologist present for the surgery.      To everyone’s amazement I had the surgery on a Friday and was home by the following Monday.  Six week later I went to the follow up appointment, because there were to physicians present there were two Operating Room reports the Gynecologists report said that there was a stint placed in my abdomen but the Urologists report didn’t make mention of the stint, the gynecologist recommended that I contact the urologist to confirm whether or not there was in fact a stint in my abdomen; the urologist sent me to get an X-Ray because he didn’t remember if he placed a stint in my abdomen or not.  I went for the X-Ray and there was no stint in my abdomen; moral of the story is don’t panic, get good care, ask questions and do your homework.

BOOK REVIEW-RICK HANSEN MAN IN MOTION

By Rick Hansen & Jim Taylor

D&M Publishing Inc.

Biography and Memoir

Ever wonder what really went on during the Man in Motion Tour; well here is your chance.  Rick Hansen was born August 26, 1957 in Port Alberni, British Columbia Canada.  Rick was a healthy and athletic young man; until one day in 1973 when he was paralyzed at the age of 15 in a motor vehicle accident.

This book is categorized as a Biography and Memoir, as you read on you realize that it is also a diary and a love story; what’s a book without a love story right? It is a thorough account of the Man in Motion tour that Rick embarked in March 1985 in order to bring disability accessibility awareness to the world; in Rick’s own words.

I enjoyed this book immensely; this book is thought provoking, will make you laugh and cry; it will make you question everything you thought you knew about individuals with disabilities; it may even give you hope.  It carries the reader flawlessly from Rick’s injury right to present day; if you have suffered a spinal cord injury please read this book; it will fill you with inspiration to achieve great things in life.

Rick Hansen has lived and continues to live an exceptional life; he made the decision early on following his accident to participated in life and not sit on the sidelines and watched it go by, RICK HANSEN MAN IN MOTION is sure to enlighten, engage and empower the reader.

Alberta Homecare

One week post-surgery and already being told by homecare that I can’t get what I need.  The real insult is that they don’t have a problem walking into my home with their shoes on when they could and should be placing healthcare issue blue disposable booties that they could wear over there shoes.  If there employer won’t provide them at least they have the option of filing a grievance with their union and/or professional association.  What option do I have; the option of contacting my MLA.

I tried to participate and engage all party leaders about disabilities issues during the last provincial election when I sent all of them a questionnaire and not one of them responded. One could say I attempted to Enlighten, Engage and Empower. I will be watching all the goings on for the next 4 years; I hope they don’t underestimate me.

BOOK REVIEW-Cam Tait Disabled? Hell No! I’m A Sit-Down Comic!

Cam Tait Disabled? Hell No! I’m A Sit-Down Comic!

By Cam Tait & Jim Taylor

Harbour Publishing  2015

Biography and Memoir

Cam Tait was born December 10, 1958 in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  Born with Cerebral Palsy during a time when children with disabilities were not accepted in society as full citizens. Some would say that is still the case even today but I am not here to split hairs I am here to write a book review.

This book is categorized as a Biography and Memoir but it is so much more; it is a chronicle of a life well lived; it is a man’s tribute to people who helped him become who he is today; more importantly it is  a tribute to his parents who never gave up on him.

I enjoyed this book immensely; this book is thought provoking, will make you laugh and cry; it will make you question your preconceived notions of a person with a disability.  It carries the reader seamlessly from Cam’s birth to present day; it stresses the importance of volunteering as Cam benefited from people volunteering to do something called patterning that his parents learned from The Institutes for The Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in the USA; from Cam’s days as a NAIT student to his sit down comedy you will not be disappointed.

If you are a parent of a child with a disability please read this book it will inspire you to do more for your child then you ever thought possible.

Cam Tait has had a remarkable life but wait because I have a feeling Cam’s journey isn’t over yet.  This book will definitely enlighten, engage and empower the reader.