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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-25-2016, 01:42 AM
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Default Obese Disability Tax Credit

I'm doing some research for my Sister who is presently going trough a divorce. Basically her husband left her six months ago and he completely wiped his hands clear of her, offered no support, left her trying to find a way to pay her mortgage. My sister does not work due to obesity. She is following in the genetic footsteps of our Mother, aunts, cousins on my Mom's side, who are all obese. My sister has not been able to work for the last ten years due to her size and the depression that comes with being obese.

After 15 years of marriage, she is left with no income and no way and unable to work. To make matters worse, her husband got laid off shortly after he left her, so the idea of spousal support is not promising. We have been wonder if she would qualify for the disability tax credit due to obesity. I am hearing conflicting things about it and I"m wondering if anyone here has any experience with this topic.

THanks
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:21 AM
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Sorry to hear this. I would say that your sister should at the very least put in writing (if she hasn't already done so) request for spousal support from her husband. He may not be unemployed forever. If/when he is back on his feet earning a living wage she would then have proof that she did indeed request support. Often SS is retroactive back to the date that someone requested it. Some people put this off for years, their ex ends up employed, and their request for SS is turned down by the court because they did not pursue it at the time. A delayed request for any sort of support can be argued as a "windfall."

Your sister should have medical documentation of her condition and be under the care of a physician who can manage her condition. She may have genetic predisposition to obesity but should be following a strict medically-supervised diet/exercise regimen. The medical "team" can address depression. Extended family can play an important role in supporting and encouraging your sister's road to good health.

The matter of support with welfare can be addressed by social services. She can make an appointment with a case worker. I doubt very much that welfare will pay enough to cover a mortgage payment. As a single adult she would likely not receive very much. If your sister cannot afford her mortgage payments, and has no income, then she will have to look at selling her home and moving to low-income housing. In most Canadian cities there is a waiting list so I wouldn't delay in getting her name on the list.

Without SS your sister will have to get used to the idea of going to food banks. Your family can assist by driving her there. She can also ask her welfare worker about subsidy for paying her utility bills.

Getting your sister out in the world will likely be your biggest challenge. Start getting your family to think in terms of not having gatherings around large meals but rather gathering at community sports complexes for a family swim day. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercises for obese. Exercise has long been known one of the most effective ways to combat depression.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tophat View Post
Basically her husband left her six months ago and he completely wiped his hands clear of her, offered no support, left her trying to find a way to pay her mortgage.
The other party is not obligated to pay support. Spousal support is determined based on a number of criteria. Unlike child support it is not mandatory. The government only provides "guidelines". Ultimately it falls on your sister to apply to the court and provide the necessary evidence. If the other party is not willing to settle on the matter the only recourse is to bring the matter to court.

If your sister has no income then she would qualify for Legal Aid possibly. I would recommend you get your sister to inquire if she qualifies.

Note: That if a house is involved in the matter and your sister is married then that asset will have to be equalised. Just because someone moves out of a home it doesn't mean they have abandoned the asset. The other party in this matter may be entitled to their equity in the home. In addition your sister could face having to pay occupational rent for residing in the home. But, the other party would have to pay half the mortgage and utilities generally (I think) to be successful on this claim.

Divorce is "no fault" and you didn't mention if any children were involved. If children are not involved this matter falls down the importance list at Legal Aid and in the court system.

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Originally Posted by tophat View Post
My sister does not work due to obesity... My sister has not been able to work for the last ten years due to her size and the depression that comes with being obese.
Just be forewarned that in a 15 year relationship even if your sister is awarded SS the court may have an expectation for her to find employment. SS is not a "slam dunk" situation.

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Originally Posted by tophat View Post
After 15 years of marriage, she is left with no income and no way and unable to work.
Unless your sister is immobile she can work. Depression is the bigger issue relating to her possible disability. There are many physically challenged individuals who work and do not require the support of the government. Depression can also be a transitional impact to ones health but, there are treatment programs to address both issues.

The court may expect your sister to demonstrate efforts to resolve both issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tophat View Post
To make matters worse, her husband got laid off shortly after he left her, so the idea of spousal support is not promising.
All the more reason you and the rest of your family should be focused on your sister's need to resolve her personal health issues. You can't depend on another person today to support you. You need to provide your sister with the proper tools to support herself. It isn't impossible but, it takes time and the proper clinicians to do this for her. I would encourage you to focus on improving her situation as the other party to this matter may be facing their own personal health issues that resulted in the layoff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tophat View Post
We have been wonder if she would qualify for the disability tax credit due to obesity. I am hearing conflicting things about it and I"m wondering if anyone here has any experience with this topic.
That question is best asked of a lawyer that is experienced with disability claims. Again, if your sister qualifies for disability they will expect her to work towards resolving her personal health issues.

Depending on another person to support you is not advisable in 2016. In an equal society we are all expected to work towards being self sufficient. Your sister may not be able to do this currently but, there is an excellent health care system that is in place to help her. Your encouragement and support will greatly increase her having a positive outcome in her treatments and in life.

Good Luck!
Tayken

THanks[/QUOTE]
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:34 AM
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Great quotes from Tayken in their post above

1.
Quote:
You can't depend on another person today to support you.
2.
Quote:
Depending on another person to support you is not advisable in 2016. In an equal society we are all expected to work towards being self sufficient.
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Old 10-25-2016, 12:30 PM
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If someone you are married to for 15 years is deemed medically ill and unable to support themselves then you very well may be responsible for supporting them. The court considers many factors.

Yes even in 2016 SS still exists. This is evidenced by recent case law which you can reference on CanLII.
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:06 PM
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The question here is whether the sister is medically unable to work (obesity itself is not a disease, although it can be a symptom of a disease, like a metabolic disorder) or whether, with appropriate treatment, she can get into the labor force. That's why people are recommending a medical evaluation and a plan to get into employment before any decisions are made about whether or not to pursue spousal support.

The disability tax credit has to be supported by a form from a medical practitioner stating that the disability is severe and prolonged. It takes the form of a reduction in the income tax the individual pays, so if the sister is unemployed and does not pay income tax, a tax credit would not be of use to her.

The disability tax credit is meant to offset some of the additional costs associated with a disability (having to purchase special equipment not covered by insurance, for instance) - it is not meant as a source of ongoing financial support.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tophat View Post
...We have been wonder if she would qualify for the disability tax credit due to obesity. I am hearing conflicting things about it and I"m wondering if anyone here has any experience with this topic...
Are any of these things you're hearing, coming from the medical professional involved (doctor, psychologist, etc.)? Has your sister spoke to them - as they would be the only ones that could probably answer that. Them, and depending on what they say, Canada Revenue Agency.
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:06 PM
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Good questions being asked here...easy for emotions to run amok and cloud judgement.

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Originally Posted by dad2bandm View Post
Are any of these things you're hearing, coming from the medical professional involved (doctor, psychologist, etc.)? Has your sister spoke to them - as they would be the only ones that could probably answer that. Them, and depending on what they say, Canada Revenue Agency.
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