As of September 26, 2020, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has ended. Individuals can retroactively apply for this program until December 2, 2020. In its place, temporary changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program are in effect and for those who do not qualify for EI, three new programs have been introduced.
Temporary Changes to the EI Program
Effective September 27, 2020 for one year, the minimum number of hours required to qualify for EI has been reduced to 120. Additionally, to help individuals qualify, a one-time hours credit will be applied to all EI claims (300 hours for regular benefits and 480 hours if applying for sickness, maternity/parental or caregiving benefits). Those who are eligible for EI will receive a minimum of $500/week or $300/week for extended parental benefits.
Individuals who are ineligible for EI may qualify for one of three new benefits that are available until September 25, 2021:
- Canada Recovery Benefit
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The CRB provides income support to those not entitled to EI benefits and are unemployed due to COVID-19 or have had their income reduced by 50% due to COVID-19. Eligible applicants will receive $1,000 for a two week period. You must reapply after two weeks to continue receiving this benefit for a maximum of 13 periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
The CRA will withhold 10% in taxes, making the net amount payable $900 per period. Recipients of this benefit may owe more or less in taxes come tax-filing season depending on income earned. Working while receiving the CRB is permitted; however, the annual income threshold is $38,000. Those with a net income (line 23600 of your tax return) higher than $38,000 for 2020 or 2021 will be required to repay $0.50 for every dollar over $38,000. Net income includes any CERB, CRCB and CRSB payments received, but excludes the CRB. Any benefit repayment owing will be due at the same time as your income tax return for the year. Late payments will be subject to interest. The CRA will be issuing T4As for benefit recipients.
Individuals can apply for the benefit through the CRA My Account portal. You can apply retroactively for any period up to 60 days after that period ends. The earliest you can apply is the first Monday after the period has ended.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The CRSB provides a weekly benefit of $500 ($450 after tax) to individuals who are unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because they:
- have COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
- are self-isolating for reasons related to COVID-19 as advised by their employer, a medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner, a person in authority, the government or their public health authority
- have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19
You are not eligible for the CRSB if you are:
- receiving the CRB, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), Short-term Disability, Workers Compensation or EI benefits when applying
- are on paid leave from your employer i.e. vacation or paid sick time
Applicants must apply for benefits one week at a time, up to a maximum of two weeks worth of benefits between September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. The two weeks do not need to be taken consecutively. Each eligibility period starts on a Sunday and ends the following Saturday. You can apply retroactively up to 60 days after the period has ended.
Amounts paid under the CRSB program are taxable and must be claimed on your tax return in the year it was received. At the time of the claim, 10% will be withheld in taxes; however, you may end up owing more or less come tax-filing season depending on your net income. The CRA will issue T4As to claimants.
You can apply through the CRA My Account portal. More information may be required once your application is submitted. It may take up to 4 weeks to process from the date that your complete response is received. You will be contacted once the validation process is complete.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The CRCB provides a weekly benefit amount of $500 ($450 after tax) to individuals that are unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because they are caring for a child under 12 years old or a family member that requires supervised care. The person under your care must be at home due to one of the following reasons:
- they are sick with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
- they are at risk of serious health complications if they contract COVID-19, as advised by a medical professional
- they are self-isolating due to COVID-19
- their school, daycare, day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19
- their regular care services are unavailable due to COVID-19
To be eligible, individuals must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020 or the 12 months prior to their date of application. Only one member of a household can apply for the benefit for each affected week. Each household may receive payments for a maximum of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. Households will receive a maximum weekly benefit of $450 regardless of whether or not more than one family member requires supervised care.
Claimants must apply each week that they require the benefit and can apply retroactively up to 60 days after the impacted period. Each week-long periods runs from Sunday to Saturday and applications can be submitted starting the Monday after the period that is impacted. Applications for the CRCB are being received through the CRA My Account portal.
Learn more about all of the above by visiting the Government of Canada webpage on transitioning to new benefits from the CERB.