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Claiming all of your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) medical expenses

September 24, 2018

Many people are unaware of the amount of CRA allowable medical expenses you can claim, which can have a big impact on your tax bill. This post explains how to claim the maximum allowable by the CRA.

A lot of medical equipment, drugs, hearing and vision aids, as well as costs related to receiving medical treatment and renovations for mobility purposes, can all be claimed on your tax returns.

How do you claim CRA medical expenses?

There are two spots on your Schedule 1 tax return where you can claim CRA medical expenses.

You would use line 330 for yourself, your spouse or dependent child under 18. Use line 331 if you’re claiming for other dependents, such as close family members or older children you care for.

How much can you claim for CRA medical expenses?

When claiming on line 330, you can claim the total amount of your eligible medical expenses for that year, minus either $2,268 or 3% of your net income, whichever is the smaller amount.

If you’re using line 331, it’s calculated in the same way as above, except you would deduct 3% of your dependent’s net income.

For example, let’s say you spent $2,500 in eligible medical expenses over the year and your net income (the amount on line 236 of your return) was $35,000. You would deduct 3% of your net income ($1,050), from $2,500, which equals a total claim of $1,450.

The most common allowable CRA medical expenses

The full list of CRA medical expenses is quite extensive — see them all here. Below are the most common medical expenses that Canadians over 55 are likely to qualify for. For many of these expenses, you’ll need a prescription to make a claim.

1. Medical treatment

Expenses incurred for eligible, necessary medical treatment, which isn’t covered by your provincial health plan, can be claimed. Treatment must be received by medical practitioners who are recognized and authorized to practice in their jurisdiction (such as doctors, surgeons and registered nurses).

If you travel abroad to receive medical treatment, you can also claim that as a medical expense as long as you were treated by an authorized medical practitioner in a public or licensed private hospital.

2. Attendant care in your home or a facility

If you, your spouse or dependent are in a nursing home or other institution providing full-time care, all fees are eligible, including food and accommodation.

For retirement homes and care in your own home, however, you can only claim the salaries and wages for attendant care services.

3. Hearing and vision issues

Most equipment for people with hearing issues is eligible, including audible signal devices, hearing aids (including repairs and batteries) and captioning equipment.

Similarly, you can claim expenses for vision issues, including eyeglasses, laser eye surgery, contact lenses and reading services.

4. Medical equipment

You can claim any qualifying medical equipment you’ve bought for your home. This includes heart monitoring devices, kidney machines (including repairs), oxygen tents, pacemakers and phototherapy equipment.

5. Non-medical equipment

If your condition requires special equipment, this can be claimed. This can include air purifiers, assisted breathing devices, electrotherapy devices and lifts.

6. Mobility aids

Scooters, wheelchairs and wheelchair carriers are all CRA-allowable medical expenses, as are walking aids. You can also claim up to 20% of the cost of a van to transport wheelchair users (maximum $5,000).

7. Drugs

Prescription drugs and vaccines are eligible. However, you cannot claim for over-the-counter drugs or most vitamin supplements.

8. Travel for medical services

You can claim your public transit expenses for travel over 40km for medical treatment and also your accommodation, meals and parking if travelling over 80km.

9. Renovations and household mobility aids

If you need to make some structural changes to your home to help with mobility issues, these expenses can be claimed on your taxes. These can include bathroom aids, stair chairs and renovations that accommodate wheelchairs.

Managing to afford your medical costs

While claiming CRA medical expenses on your tax returns is a great financial benefit, you still have to find the money to pay for them.

If you need expensive prescription drugs, medical equipment or renovations to be able to stay in your home, it can be very expensive and difficult on a fixed income.

If you own your own home and you are 55 or older, a CHIP Reverse Mortgage® can provide the money you need to cover your medical expenses, without having to make any regular mortgage payments.

To find out how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage® could help you pay for your medical expenses, call 1-866-522-2447.

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