- DAVE GORDON
AKIVA MEDJUCK: President and Founder The National Benefit Authority TNBA "FOR THE BENEFIT OF
Akiva Medjuck saw firsthand what it was like to deal with
physical challenges, from relatives coping with disabilities, including a brother and a sister, both born deaf.
Life's hurdles were already difficult for the family, yet there was another source of frustration that did not seem fair.
He sought to help his relatives when he discovered that the Canadian government offers financial assistance to those with disabilities, via the disability tax credit -- a non- refundable tax credit used to reduce your tax payable which the disabled, or their family members, can claim.
Akiva quickly discovered the applications to be complex, complicated and confusing. Even a single, small mistake could invalidate the claim, he found.
Undeterred, he sought advice from accountants, doctors, and even the Canada Revenue Agency – all, however, had little additional information to offer.
It was then he resolved that no one else should have to overcome extra unnecessary stumbling blocks in life – like the application process, which
ironically was designed to help disabled Canadians.
Medjuck was inspired to found the National Benefit Authority (NBA), a centre of excellence where specialists navigate the rough terrain of bureaucracy so the disabled don't have to.
“Every Canadian should have access to a trusted expert in dealing with their disability claims with CRA,” says Medjuck, referring to the Disability Tax Credit.
Complicated forms notwithstanding, the process itself can take several arduous months, he adds, something that NBA navigates on behalf of its clients, who only pay if the application is successful.
Twenty five per cent of those whom have called NBA have already attempted the process on their own, and were rejected; or were approved but did not get money, he explains.
“We walk them through the process to make sure they get approved, and we ensure they get all of the money they are entitled to. The process is often complicated and lengthy.”
In fact, NBA examines the family situation as a whole; for instance, parents of children with disabilities can apply on behalf of their children, and additional amounts for children under 18 are available. The Disability Tax Credit can
be transferred to one’s spouse, common-law partner, or any other assisting family member.
NBA has won claims for a vast number of disabilities, both physical and mental,including depression, addiction and anxiety.
“One of the biggest challenges is defining disability. You think of someone with a disability who is missing a limb, blind, deaf, or in a wheelchair. There are many other conditions which one would not define per se as a disability but yet may qualify for this credit. Maybe it’s Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or a senior with difficulty walking. Medjuck adds that it’s likely up to sixty per cent of Canadians who would be entitled to these benefits, are not receiving them”.
“We’re here to ensure that no one with a disability, or a family member with one, is left out.”
Whether one is able to work, or not work, has zero effect on an application, he adds.
“Another amazing aspect of what we do, is that we don’t stop fighting for our clients.
We have appealed more than a thousand cases and we have a more than 66% appeal success,” he says.
After seven years in business, the company employs some 150 Canadians. The NBA continues to grow, having processed more claims than anyone in the country, except the CRA, according to Medjuck. NBA currently fields over
3,500 calls a day, more than half from referrals, and has successfully assisted more than 30,000 Canadians receive a refund through the disability tax credit program.
In what amounts to thank you cards by the mailbag, more than
a thousand clients have written how NBA has changed their lives.
“In one of very many examples, we helped a family receive money they used to cover the cost of a prosthetic limb, when one was desperately needed, as OHIP only covers replacement costs every three years – which is too long
time to wait for a healthy growing child. We’ve made a real difference.”
NBA isn’t just giving those with disabilities a better chance at a better life, but also gives back to fellow Canadians in many ways.
Among the countless philanthropic endeavors over the years, NBA has donated a wheelchair bus that helps mentally challenged adults, was a key sponsor for an organization that helps kids get off the streets, and is supporting Canada’s Para Olympic Volleyball team.
NBA is also lending support to the True Patriot Love organization, which is assisting those in the military and their families.
“We’re happy to help these individuals who are overcoming a number of challenges,” says Medjuck.
Indeed, Akiva’s personal mission NBA could not be summed up better.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.
THE NATIONAL BENEFIT AUTHORITY
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