The Family Cost of Raising a Child with ADHD and the Disability Tax Credit

CADDAC National Director

According to a new study on the Family Burden of Raising a Child with ADHD the cost of raising a youth with ADHD was more than five times greater compared to raising a youth without ADHD. The total economic burden per child with ADHD was $15,036 US compared to $2,848 per neurotypical child on average. This cost difference remained even after additional disorders such as intellectual impairment, oppositional defiant disorder symptoms, and conduct problems. Costs for medication and the direct treatment for ADHD were not included in these costs.

These additional costs were due:

  • Private tutoring and other learning services,, summer classes, computer software
  • Lost belongings and school supplies requiring replacement
  • Extracurricular activities from which they were dismissed and missed lessons and activities after parents had already paid fees or purchased equipment
  • Higher rates of car accidents resulting in costs for damaged vehicles, fines, tickets and increased costs of automobile insurance
  • Higher rates of delinquency resulting in costs for legal defense
  • Loss of parental income due to being fired and changed job responsibilities, missed work and additional childcare expenses
  • Increased costs for the treatment of parent's mental health concerns
  • It was also noted that caregivers also experienced increased socio-emotional burdens including strained relationships between parenting partners, difficulty engaging in pleasurable social activities, high parenting stress, and substance or alcohol problems

These findings will not be surprising for families of children or grown children with ADHD, but having hard data could be very helpful in our Disability Tax Credit advocacy efforts.

CADDAC and CADDRA are currently in communication with the federal government about CRA’s handling of Disability Tax Credit applications. In a recent letter to Senator Jim Munson and Diane Lebouthillier, the Minister of National Revenue, CADDRA stated that a recent survey of ADHD medical professionals reported that they had experienced an increase in requests for additional information even when that information was present in the original application. This has resulted in the filling out these forms becoming an onerous task taking away time spent more appropriately on patient care. CADDRA members also indicated that they felt that CRA was not respecting their expertise as qualified health care practitioners. Also in this joint letter, CADDAC reported that a recent survey of individuals with ADHD and their families found that 63% of patients with ADHD were denied the DTC even when their physicians found them markedly impaired in keeping with the DTC criteria.

The letter went on to say that while CADDRA and CADDAC appreciated the work done in recent reports, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology: “Breaking Down Barriers, a critical analysis of the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan” and the “Disability Tax Credit: Medical Practitioners’ Report”, October 2018, both these reports lacked vital input from neurodevelopmental organizations such as CADDRA and CADDAC. Both organizations offered our expertise both in general and with respect to disability assistance to the government.

For additional information on the study access

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