Friday, November 25, 2011

$1500 tax break for seniors doing renos? Big whoop

Living conditions for some seniors

McGuinty Government's Tax Credit Would Boost Economy, Create Jobs
Ontario is proposing a new tax credit that would help seniors stay in their homes longer and help create jobs.


The Credit, Up To $1,500 Each Year, Would Be Available To Senior Homeowners And Tenants, And People Who Share A Home With A Senior Relative.
The Credit Would Be Effective October 1, 2011.
Examples Of Eligible Improvements Would Include Stair Lifts, Walk-In Bathtubs And Ramps.
Unused assistive device

    The notion is to keep seniors in their homes longer. It is an interesting notion, but one that fails to grab me, if you'll excuse the pun. If all it takes is a chair lift or a walk-in tub to keep a senior at home, then one is sadly mistaken.

    It'll cost the Ontario government 60 million dollars. Money better spent delivering services to those who need them, or assisting seniors in getting to appointments, finding respite care. I did a bit of research and one quote for a walk-in bathtub was $1899. A chair lift: $1349. Seriously. I don't know that that includes installation!
    Mechanical lift in my late father's LTC

    It is a laudable initiative, but there are many seniors who live in small apartments who need a broad range of services. How much farther would $60 million go if seniors, or their families, could hire paid caregivers, as in the initiative out west? In 2010, Saskatoon Health Region set up the Direct Client Funding Program - a pilot project that provides a way for unpaid caregivers to get paid. 

    Seniors, in Ontario, benefit from a number of tax credits. This works fine, if a senior has an income.
    But for low-income seniors, especially the ones on a pension, it is a drop in the bucket. In the meantime, seniors who are high income earners can do renos to their heart's content, while the rest of help carry that tax burden.

    Addictions, filth, despite CCAC delivery of services
    There are many place to go for assistance with chair lifts and railings. Any local mobility and assist specialist can advise you on special programs that will financially help a senior with a debilitating or chronic care issue (e.g., MS, MD, March of Dimes, cancer societies; brain injury associations, arthritis, Parkinson, Easter Seals; see CCAC's PDF file), to install assistive devices. The walk-in bathtub, to my mind, is misleading. There are many seniors who should not be taking a bath alone. This is what Home Care, through the CCAC, should be paying for, and does pay for, should you require them. See the Assistive Devices Program.

    Assistive Devices Program: Product Manuals and Approved Prices

    The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit provides up to $1,044 to seniors, and the Ontario Sales Tax Credit provides up to $265 a year for each person in a low- to moderate-income family. Both were enhanced in 2010 to better reflect circumstances facing low-income seniors. Senior couples receiving the guaranteed minimum level of income from governments can receive the full benefit of these credits.

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