by Maureen Horton
Tax time can be the one time of the year you don't mind having HNPP as it can give you a raft of tax deductions if you itemize. The following is some general information only and some things to think about. Please consult with your tax advisor and your physician about these.
The IRS states, in Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses (Rev. 11/97) that "Medical care expenses include amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. Expenses for solely cosmetic reasons generally are not expenses for medical care. Also, expenses that are merely beneficial to ones general health ( for example vacations) are not expenses for medical care."
With HNPP, one has a great susceptibility to nerve damage from pressure, stretch and repetitive use. This means that common everyday items or things that may seem like luxuries, are more necessary. For instance :
In a car: power windows, automatic transmission, power steering, seats to prevent repetitive motion and power seats due to the susceptibility to leg and buttock numbness and a need to change positions frequently. Cruise control could also be considered.
In the kitchen: A dishwasher and a food processor to cut down on the repetitive use. Any machine that would stop repetitive use. Larger handled knives and other utensils.
In the shop: almost any power tool. Remember, that one still needs to watch out from pressure due to continuously squeezing the power switch.
IRS publication 502 for Medical and Dental Expenses
IRS publication 524: Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled
Work Related Tax Deductions -"If you are disabled and have expenses which are necessary for you to be able to work (impairment related work expenses), take a business deduction for these expenses, rather than a medical deduction" (Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses (Rev. 11/97)). These impairment related work expenses are NOT subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income.
These publications can be downloaded from the IRS web site: http:// www.IRS.gov
Last updated: 2/99, Last reviewed 4/08