Although the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program has ended, CRA continues to accept and process applications retrospectively until December 02, 2020. The CERB provides financial support to employees and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19. It is important to know that the CERB will give you a taxable benefit in your 2020 tax return. The T4A tax slip will be made available for the 2020 tax year in the CRA My Account under Tax Information Slips.
Important Points of the CERB
Following are some of the important points of the CERB program that you need to be familiarized with before initiating your application under this program:
- If you are eligible, you can receive $2,000 for a 4-week period, i.e. the same as $500 a week.
- You can only apply retroactively for periods between March 15 and September 26, 2020.
- CRA is accepting Retroactive applications for the CERB.
- The CRA will verify your eligibility for the CERB through T4 slips
- CERB doesn’t renew automatically.
The CERB applications can be submitted for the following applicable periods:
- Period 01 – March 15 to April 11, 2020
- Period 02 – April 12 to May 9, 2020
- Period 03 – May 10 to June 6, 2020
- Period 04 – June 7 to July 4, 2020
- Period 05 – July 5 to August 1, 2020
- Period 06 – August 2 to August 29, 2020
- Period 07 – August 30 to September 26, 2020
Each CERB period consists of a 4-week period and August 30, 2020 to September 26, 2020 is the last applicable period under the CERB, i.e. Period 07. Periods 5 to 7 can be applied using the CRA My account portal whereas periods 1 to 4 can be applied over a phone call with the CRA Agent. The CRA agent will ask you certain verification questions for security purposes for over-the-phone applications.
For every emergency program of the CRA, the Government of Canada has established pre-qualification criteria and the eligibility will be determined accordingly. The eligibility criteria for the CERB is as follows:
- If you neither apply nor receive any funds under CERB or EI
- You didn’t quit job voluntarily
- You reside in Canada and your age should be at least 15 years
- You earned a minimum of $5000 gross in the last 12 months or 2019 either on employment income or through self-employed income
One of the following:
- Your work hours reduced due to COVID
- You stopped or will stop working due to COVID
- You are unable to work due to COVID
- Did you receive EI benefits for at least one week since December 29, 2019? If yes, you’re eligible for CERB. You may also be eligible for the CERB if you have used your entitlements for EI in the past.
First time application – If you have stopped or will stop working or working with reduced hours and you don’t expect to earn over $1000 for at least 14 days in a row, you may be eligible for the CERB.
Subsequent application – You are not working or working with reduced hours, and you don’t expect to earn over $1000 during the entire 4-week period, you may be eligible for the CERB.
Can I receive financial support under CERB even if I am not a citizen or a permanent resident?
Yes, as long as you are residing and present in Canada during the period for which you are claiming the benefits and meet the other eligibility criteria, you can apply for CERB benefits. The CRA will review your application as per the eligibility criteria and provide you the required financial support.
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