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CRA Policy Change Prompted Diabetes Tax Credit Denials, Health Groups Allege

CRA policy change prompted diabetes tax credit denials, health groups allege

CRA policy change prompted diabetes tax credit denials, health groups allege

OTTAWA – Diabetes advocates are voicing new concerns over the government's eligibility criteria for the federal disability tax credit, after getting their hands on an internal document that shows the Canada Revenue Agency appears to have changed its process when it comes to approving adults with Type 1 diabetes for the tax rebate.
At a press conference in Ottawa, Diabetes Canada and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Canada said the documents they’ve obtained through the federal access to information system clearly show a change in policy, after the federal government insisted there hadn’t been.
The change has made it nearly impossible for most adults with Type 1 diabetes to be eligible for the tax break, despite previously being able to, the health groups said.
It contradicts National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier’s prior assertion that there had been no rule change at the CRA, after Diabetes Canada and JDRF Canada first raised concern in October that hundreds of Canadians with Type 1 diabetes were being denied the disability tax credit.
"There’s either been a terrible breach in communication between the CRA and the minister, or the minister has been expressing false information," said Diabetes Canada Director of Federal Affairs Kimberly Hanson. The groups say the government has been using a nuance to say there has been no change in law, while the memo shows there has been a change in practice.
"If I sent a memo like this to my staff at an organization, I would expect them to follow it," President and CEO of JDRF Canada Dave Prowten said.
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Quiz - As Diabetes Increases Worldwide, a Vegetable Could Help

Quiz - As Diabetes Increases Worldwide, a Vegetable Could Help

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.
Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease on the rise around the world. And, not everyone can take the medication that treats it. However, researchers have discovered that a compound found in a common vegetable might help treat diabetes.
In 2016 the World Health Organization published its Global Report on Diabetes. It says the number of diabetic adults rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
Diabetes happens in two ways. If the body does not produce enough of a hormone called insulin it is called Type 1. Type 2 diabetes is when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Insulin controls levels of sugar in the blood.
Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. It can lead to an early death.
India is one of the countries that could be facing a public health crisis as cases of diabetes increase. Amit Jain is a children's doctor in that country. He says obesity is one of the main reasons people get Type 2 diabetes.
However, children who are not obese can also get diabetes.
Rohin Sarin is a regular 15-year old kid. He goes to school. He likes sports. But unlike most children, four times a day he has to take a shot of insulin.
Rohin has type 2 diabetes.
"Sometimes it affects me negatively like if I just play a lot and I don't eat my food properly; then my sugar goes down. So, then I feel dizzy and I am not able to play the sport properly."
About 300 Continue reading

How dogs can sniff out diabetes

How dogs can sniff out diabetes

A chemical found in our breath can be used as a warning sign for dangerously-low blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 diabetes - and dogs can be trained to detect it.
A golden Labrador called Magic, from Cambridge, has been trained by charity Medical Detection Dogs to detect when his owner Claire Pesterfield's blood sugar levels fall to potentially dangerous levels.
Hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar – can cause problems such as shakiness, disorientation and fatigue. If the patient does not receive a sugar boost in time, it can additionally cause seizures and lead to unconsciousness. In some people with diabetes, these episodes can occur suddenly with little warning.
Following on from reports of dogs alerting owners to blood glucose changes, researchers at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, wanted to study whether certain naturally-occurring chemicals in exhaled breath might change when glucose levels were low.
In a preliminary study to test this hypothesis, the scientists gradually lowered blood sugar levels under controlled conditions in eight women, all with type 1 diabetes. They then used mass spectrometry – which looks for chemical signatures – to detect the presence of these chemicals.
This revealed levels of the chemical isoprene rose significantly at hypoglycaemia – in some cases almost doubling. Dogs may be sensitive to the presence of isoprene, and the researchers suggest it may be possible to develop new detectors that identify elevated levels of isoprene in patients at risk.
"Low blood sugar is an everyda Continue reading

DTC eligibility for taxpayers with Type 1 diabetes

DTC eligibility for taxpayers with Type 1 diabetes

The CRA has been finding people living with Type 1 diabetes ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), on the basis that one of the requirements is you need 14 hours of life-sustaining therapy per week, on average, to qualify.
An internal CRA clarification letter from May said adult diabetics don’t require that much time, explaining that 14 hours per week to manage insulin therapy is only required in “exceptional circumstances.”
The agency faced criticism from diabetes support groups, disability advocates and opposition parties for denying the DTC claims of people with Type 1 diabetes who had previously qualified. Though it says it never changed the eligibility criteria, CRA announced earlier this month that it would revert to the pre-May clarification letter.
The agency stated it would review all applications that had been refused since May 2017. Applicants are not required to present new or additional information, unless the CRA requests that they do so.
In reality, the number of therapy hours for people living with Type 1 diabetes varies based on the person’s condition. Even with CRA returning to its original clarification, it’s likely that very few cases will satisfy the criteria of 14 hours. To address this, Finance Canada would need to change the legislation.
Read: All about the disability tax credit
For now, it’s important to understand what qualifies as essential therapy for people with Type 1 diabetes under the act.
Therapy rules
First, to be eligible for the DTC, a taxpayer’s impairment must be severe and prolonged (i.e., it must last longer tha Continue reading

Artificial sweeteners could increase risk of diabetes in just two weeks

Artificial sweeteners could increase risk of diabetes in just two weeks

Using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar could increase the risk of diabetes in just two weeks, new research suggests.
The study shows that the supplements can change the body’s response to glucose, heightening the risk of the condition which is suffered by almost 4 million Britons.
Previous studies have linked high intake of sweeteners to a greater risk of diabetes,
The new research, presented at a conference in Lisbon, investigated the mechanisms behind the association.
This study, led by the Adelaide Medical School in Australia, involved 27 healthy people who were either given sweeteners - the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink, or an inactive placebo.
At the end of two weeks, tests were carried out examining levels of glucose absorption, blood glucose, insulin and gut peptides.
The team found that those given supplements such as sucralose - which is commonly marketed as Splenda - saw a heightened response across all fronts.
None of these measures were altered in the volunteers who were given a placebo.
The study determined that just two weeks of sweeteners was enough to make a difference.
Lead author Prof Richard Young said: "This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body's control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes."
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.
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