Expert flags potential for dental-care clawbacks as result of federal program


OTTAWA – A University of Calgary economist warns that the federal dental benefit for children opens families up to the potential for “clawbacks” if they don’t spend all the money on their kids’ teeth.

The government plans to offer cheques of up to $650 to qualifying low- and middle-income families with children under the age of 12 to help pay for their dental needs.

Qualifying families will have to attest that they don’t have private insurance, that they have out-of-pocket dental expenses and that they will keep their receipts.

Lindsay Tedds, an associate professor of economics, says some families covered by provincial programs may not realize they have to use all the money for dental care, while others may lose their receipts – and may have to pay the government back unexpectedly.

The departments of Health and Finance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The legislation to enable payments is expected to be tabled as early as Tuesday, and the first payments are expected to be made in December.