Manitobans living with Type 1 diabetes could face extra financial burdens

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WATCH: Manitoba has the most people in the country living with diabetes. More needs to be done by provincial and federal governments. Global's Zahra Premji reports – Oct 23, 2017

Manitoba sits at the top of the list of Canadian provinces when it comes to numbers of people impacted by diabetes per capita.

Those living with diabetes call it a silent and costly disease that requires the help of both the provincial and federal government.

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“It’s a 24 hour, 7 [days a week] disease that you’re managing every single day, every hour, every minute of the day,” Andrea Kwasnicki, Regional Director for Manitoba for Diabetes Canada said.

She said the disease can cost the an individual $15,000 annually and therefore every dollar counts when it comes to the help they can get from the government. This is why most Canadians battling Type 1 diabetes rely on the disability tax credit that can provide them with $1,500 annually.

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But since May, people living with the disease have noticed their tax credit applications have been rejected.

READ MORE: Liberals hitting diabetes patients with tax grab, Conservatives and health groups say

“By removing or restricting the disability tax credit, what’s going to likely happen is that people will not be testing as often as they should, which is going to impact the overall management of their disease,” Kwasnicki said.

She said in order to get the tax credit people have to prove they need more than 14 hours per week of insulin therapy and a qualified doctor confirming this for them.

Monica White has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 27 years and she said in 2011 she applied for the credit and had no problem. This time, she hasn’t heard back since applying in August.

“Type 1 diabetes it doesn’t ‘poof’ disappear. I would like it to, but it doesn’t just go away,” White said.

She said if the tax credit is taken away entirely from Type 1 diabetes patients like herself, it could mean a compromise in health care for the nearly 12,000 Manitobans living with Type 1.

She said she feels the federal government doesn’t understand the severity of her disease and that while it may be silent, it can be deadly.

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“I still need insulin, I still need to do those blood tests, otherwise if I don’t do that I die,” White said.

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