Tax Deductibility of Incontinence Supplies

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January 4, 2018
With tax time right around the corner many caregivers and individuals are wondering if their incontinence supplies are tax deductible. With over 18 million people in the US having urinary incontinence this is not only a valid question, but one that gets asked often.


Unfortunately the answer is not cut and dry, as most IRS guidelines are, there are some conditions that need to be met, and some qualifications that have to be considered before you can use incontinence products as tax deductions.

According to the guideline, incontinence supplies can be tax deductible if you can show they are needed for a specific disease. According to IRS guidelines, "You cannot include in medical expenses the amount you pay for diapers or diaper services, unless they are needed to relieve the effects of a particular disease." However, it is often better to seek reimbursement through your health savings account or FSA if you can get a letter from a physician explaining the reason you need the products. 

There are a few ways you could get your incontinence supplies covered, and in each case it will depend on the circumstances, so you may want to visit your local county office for the aging to get more information on how to get reimbursement or use these products as a deduction. 

In most cases, the cost of incontinence supplies can be covered through an insurance plan, a government program, a flexible spending account or a health savings account. 

Government Programs: Some government programs will provide reimbursement for qualified medical expenses through a local level using country offices, or on a state level through Medicaid. Unfortunately the definition of what qualifies as a medical expense will vary from program to program, so it is important to talk to someone to help insure your needed supplies are covered. 

Insurance, HSAs, and FSAs: If you are trying to get health insurance to cover the cost of incontinence supplies you will likely need to submit receipts for the products, and then it is up to the provider as to whether or not they will reimburse for the product and supplies or not. With both HAS and FSA accounts, the process is similar. You buy the products, submit receipts to the plan admin, and then get reimbursed later.

Another option is diaper banks. These are a place where those in need of diapers, but can’t afford them, can get them. While often for babies, adult products are also included in many banks, and are usually distributed not directly from the bank, but through non profit organizations such as churches, family resource centers, and food banks. 

No matter how you seek reimbursement for your incontinence supplies, be sure to keep all receipts and ask your doctor for a letter explaining your need. This will help expedite the process! 

And be sure to get the right types of supplies for your needs.