Feds open application process for new benefits

Many people are still being impacted by COVID-19 and require temporary income support.

To ensure that Canadians continue to have the help they need the Government of Canada has introduced three new benefits, delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

Today, Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, opened the application process for the CRSB and the CRCB.  Applications for the CRB will be accepted as of October 12, 2020.

Recognizing that many Canadians continue to face difficult times, the CRA is providing a simple and efficient application process similar to the one that millions of Canadians relied on to access Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Eligible people can apply for these benefits online through the CRA’s My Account portal or by phone through our automated toll-free phone line.

To ensure that the recovery benefits provide more targeted support for those people who continue to need it, the application process includes new elements, such as:

  • shorter eligibility periods of one week for the CRSB and CRCB and two weeks for the CRB;
  • retroactive periods, meaning that people will be required to apply after the period has ended;
  • a 10% tax withholding at source; and
  • a three-to-five day window to receive payments for applications made by direct deposit, and a 10-12 day window by cheque by mail.

The CRSB provides $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions that would make them more susceptibleto COVID-19.

The CRCB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible people unable to work because they must care for a child under 12 years old or other family member requiring supervised care, who is unable to attend their school or regular care facility, due to COVID-19.

The CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This benefit supports people who have stopped working due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50% or more. These workers must be available and looking for work, and must accept work when it is reasonable to do so.

People may earn income of up to $38,000 for the calendar year while receiving the CRB.  People will have to reimburse $0.50 of the CRB for every dollar of net income earned above $38,000, up to the maximum benefit they received. This will be calculated and repaid as part of their income tax return filing when they do their taxes for the year.

To be eligible for any of the recovery benefits, people must have earned at least $5000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months prior to applying.

People cannot apply for or receive, for the same period, more than one recovery benefit, Employment Insurance benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or Québec Parental Insurance Plan benefits.

The Government is committed to having safeguards in place to protect Canadians from fraud and non-compliance.  To this end, the CRA is taking steps to implement additional verification and security measures up-front, to help ensure that we deliver benefit payments only to people who are entitled to receive them.

In some cases, people might be asked to provide additional information to help verify their eligibility before their application can be processed.  As with the CERB, people who have received benefit payments but are later found to be ineligible will be required to repay the amounts.

To apply for these benefits, Canadians are encouraged to sign up for CRA’s My Account, ensure that personal information with the CRA is up-to-date, and register for direct deposit.  People should also file a 2019 tax return, if they haven’t done so yet, as this will reduce the likelihood that additional information will be needed to process an application.

For information about these benefits including eligibility requirements, how to apply, and eligibility period dates, visit the CRA’s webpages.

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