How to apply for Canada's new $500 per week COVID-19 benefits

The application process opened yesterday

How to apply for Canada's new $500 per week COVID-19 benefits

The Canadian government has introduced three new $500 per week benefits to provide temporary income support for Canadians impacted by COVID-19.

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The programs are designed to be more “nimble and flexible” than the previous Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

“Canadians can continue to count on the CRA to provide them with the support they need to stay safe and healthy during this challenging time,” National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier said.

The application process for the CRSB and the CRCB opened on October 5. The CRB opened on October 12. 

Eligible people can apply for the benefits online through the CRA’s ‘My Account’ portal or by phone through an automated toll-free phone line.

Who is eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit?
To be eligible applicants 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 (EI) benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or Québec Parental Insurance Plan benefits. 

How much is the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit?
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 susceptible to COVID-19.

How much is the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit?
The CRCB pays $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 members requiring supervised care who are unable to attend their school or regular care facility due to COVID-19.

How much is the Canada Recovery Benefit and how long does it last?
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. It supports people who have stopped working due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50 per cent 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.

The application process includes new elements:

  • 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 per cent tax withholding at source.
  • a three-to-five-day window to receive payments for applications made by direct deposit, and a 10 to 12-day window by cheque by mail.

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