Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – New Updates

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What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?
The CERB is a taxable benefit that will provide $2000 for a 4-week period (equivalent to $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks for workers who lose their income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB is a combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.

Who can apply?
The CERB will be available to workers who:
  • Are residing in Canada who are at least 15 years old;
  • Have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits;
  • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application and
  • Are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial 4-week period.
Note that the $5000 income may be from a combination of any of the following:
  • employment
  • self-employment
  • maternity or parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program

New update: Changes to Eligibility Rules as of April 15, 2020

The Federal Government has announced changes to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19

Note:  These changes will be retroactive to March 15, 2020. 


Who is NOT eligible?
If you have not stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the CERB.

How can you apply for CERB?
Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency are working together to deliver the CERB. 

Canadians who would generally be eligible for EI benefits will be directed to apply for the CERB through Service Canada.

Canadians who would generally not be eligible for EI benefits will be directed to apply for the CERB through CRA's MyAccount or CRA's automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019.  

To get started on your application process, you will need to answer a few questions.  Click here to begin your application: CERB application

For general information or to speak with an agent about CERB, you can call 1-833-966-2099. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: To manage the number of applications, the Government has set up a schedule on when you can apply (whether online or by phone).

  • If you were born in January, February or March, apply on Mondays
  • If you were born in April, May or June, apply on Tuesdays
  • If you were born in July, August or September, apply on Wednesdays
  • If you were born in October, November or December, apply on Thursdays
  • Anyone can apply on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays
When can you expect your CERB benefit payment?
Once you apply, you can expect to receive your payment in 3 business days if you have signed up for direct deposit and approximately 10 business days if haven’t signed up for direct deposit and will be receiving a cheque in the mail.

Note that each payment of the CERB covers a 4-week period beginning March 15, 2020. It is a single payment for the 4-week period.

What if your situation continues after you apply for the CERB?
If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods).

Sources:
https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/releases
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html
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