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ESIA does not help you get the maximum GST rebate!

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

I rarely have contact with other recipients of assistance but when I do encounter another, I always ask if he or she is aware that they may not be receiving the maximum GST rebate if the only income they claim is what is printed in box 11 of the T5007 form, commonly referred to as the T4 slip. However, thanks to my discovery of this great website dedicated to posting issues related to Employment Support & Income Assistance (ESIA), among other things, I hope many more will know.

For a single person on ESIA for reasons of disability, that box will show an amount of $9696.00, which is $808.00 for twelve months. However, if you are receiving special needs, this is not reflected on the T5007 form.  I caught onto that the second year I ever received extra money on my cheque above the basic amount. The first year, box 11 included my full income but the second year it did not. I immediately called my caseworker and asked why the special needs amounts were missing. She said that only the basic amount was included. I told her that my full income was in box 11 last year. She still insisted special needs amounts never had been included and that the Department of Community Services would not issue a corrected T5007 form. I was very annoyed and upset as I realized this meant my GST rebate would be based on a lower amount, so I photocopied all twelve of my cheque stubs and sent them off with my tax return. I included a note to explain why the amount on the T5007 form was less than the amount of income I reported on line 145 of the return. I requested that my GST rebate be based on my full income so that I may receive the maximum benefits to which I am entitled. I am happy to say that every year, for the last 15 years, Revenue Canada has indeed based my GST rebate on the higher amount.

As my health problems worsened, my special needs amount increased, and so did my GST rebate. How sad and how ironic that one must get sicker to get more money.  I’m not sure what my GST rebate would be if I only claimed $9696.00 but given that my special needs used to add over $5700.00 to my yearly income, it would be much less. However, ESIA cut my cheque by nearly $200 a month back in June, so my special needs amounts added only about $4200.00 onto my income for 2015. Consequently, my GST rebate will be less from July of this year to April of next year, and it will be even less the following year, as my lower income will apply for the entire year of 2016.

It makes me rather furious that these forms do not include the full income of everyone on ESIA. No one cares to fix this serious oversight. It’s as if they are conspiring with the federal government to ensure people who are already living in abject poverty receive a GST rebate that is less than what they should be receiving.  Therefore, I encourage everyone on ESIA who receives special needs to base your tax return on the total money you received, not what’s in box 11 of your T5007 form. Let us thwart their callous disregard for us by sending in our cheque stubs and claiming a higher income. Get a bigger GST rebate and give the government a run for its money!

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