Claiming your dependant's medical expenses

You can claim a non-refundable tax credit for medical expenses you paid in the year for your dependants.  A dependant can be your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s:

  • Child over the age of 18 (born in 1999 or earlier)
  • Grandchild
  • Parent or grandparent
  • Brother or sister
  • Uncle or aunt or
  • Niece or nephew

In order to be eligible, your dependant must have relied on you for support and lived with you during the year. If your dependant didn’t live with you, he or she must have been a resident of Canada at some time during the year.

Note: The residency requirement doesn’t apply to your or your spouse’s child or grandchild.

How much can I claim?

You can claim the total of the eligible expenses minus whichever is less:

  • $2,268 or
  • 3% of your dependant's net income

You can only claim medical expenses for which you or someone else have not been or will not be reimbursed. For example, if your health insurance plan reimbursed you for 80% of your dependant’s medical expenses, you can only claim the remaining 20% on your return (minus $2,268 or 3% of your dependant’s net income).

Keep in mind, the medical expenses you’re claiming can’t be used to calculate any other credit, including the disability supports deduction.  Additionally, your dependant needs to claim the medical expenses on his or her return first. Any unused medical expenses can then be claimed by you.

You can claim expenses for any 12-month period ending in the tax year for which you’re filing a return. This means, for the 2017 tax year, you could claim expenses paid in 2016 and in 2017.

Tax tip: While it is usually more beneficial for the lower income spouse to claim the family’s medical expenses, when it comes to unused medical expenses from dependants over the age of 18, it might be better for the higher income spouse to claim this amount.

What are some eligible medical expenses?

Some common eligible medical expenses that you might be able to claim are:

  • Medical services provided by qualified medical practitioners
  • Dentist and dental services
  • Prescription drugs and medications​
  • Ambulance service to or from a hospital
  • Prescription eyeglasses and prescription contact lenses
  • Laboratory tests and x-rays
  • Diabetic testing supplies
  • Premiums for private health care plans, including those you paid through payroll deductions (premiums for mandatory provincial health plans, such as the British Columbia medical services plan, are not claimable)
  • Travel expenses
  • Amounts paid as salary for designing personalized therapy plans for people eligible to claim the disability tax credit

Note: This list is not complete. Visit the CRA’s website for a complete list of eligible medical expenses and any supporting documents you’ll need to claim the medical expense.

Where do I claim this?

Follow these steps in H&R Block’s 2017 tax software:

Important: Before you begin, make sure that you’ve told us about your dependants, then follow these steps to claim their medical expenses:

  1. Click the name of your dependant in the left-hand navigation panel. You'll find yourself here:


  2. Under the EXPENSES section, select the checkbox for Medical expenses.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Continue.

  4. When you arrive at the page for Medical expenses, enter your information into the tax software.

I entered my dependant’s medical expenses in the software but don’t see a difference in my refund or tax owing

You’ll only see a difference in your refund or tax owing amount if you have a significant amount of medical expenses. The amount paid in medical expenses must exceed the least of the following amounts:

  • $2,268 or
  • 3% of your dependant’s net income

For example, let’s say your 2017 net income is $30,000. On October 1st 2017, you paid $300 for your child’s prescription glasses and that was your only medical expense for the year.  Since your medical expense is less than 3% of your net income, entering this amount on your 2017 tax return won’t make a difference to your refund or tax owed.

 2017 dependant net income


 Less $2,268 or 3% of dependant’s net income

 (whichever is less)

 - ($15,000 X 3%) = $450 

Allowable medical expenses claim

 $300 - $450 = $150 (a negative amount can’t be claimed)


However, since medical expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in the tax year can be claimed, you might be able to combine the above expense amount with other medical expenses you’ll have next year and claim it on that year’s return.

Let’s say you paid $2,000 for your dependant’s medical expenses from October 1, 2017 to October 1, 2018. Provided these expenses have not been claimed before, you’ll be able to claim the following amount in medical expenses on your 2018 return:

2018 dependant net income


Less $2,268 or 3% of dependant’s net income

(whichever is less)

  - ($15,000 X 3%) = $450 

Allowable medical expenses claim for 2018

 $2000 - $450 = $1,550 -- claimable amount for 2018

Where can I learn more?