What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support.
CERB Program Period
The CERB Benefit is available for 16 weeks, for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.
Who Is Eligible
The benefit will be available to workers:
- Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
- Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
- Workers who remain attached to their company can receive the Benefit, provided they have stopped working as a result of COVID-19, and expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period.
- For subsequent periods, you expect to have no employment income. They must also meet the other eligibility requirements.
- You can also apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits.
- Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
- Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
EI or CERB - Which One Do I Apply For?
- If you have stopped working because of COVID-19 and you meet the criteria outlined above, you should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), whether or not you are eligible for Employment Insurance(EI).
- Starting April 6, 2020, there will be a single portal (link below) to assist you with the application process. From this portal, you will then be guided through your responses to a few simple questions to complete the application best suited to you (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).
- Canadians who are eligible for Employment Insurance and who have lost their job can continue to apply for Employment Insurance.
- If you became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
- For other EI benefits, including maternity, parental, caregiving, fishing and worksharing, you should also continue to apply for other EI benefits
Already Recieving EI - Can I Apply for CERB?
- No. If you are already receiving Employment Insurance(EI) regular benefits, you will continue to receive these benefits until the end of your benefit period.
- You cannot be paid Employment Insurance benefits and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for the same period.
- If you'r eon maternity or parental leave, it is expected that you will return to work when you are finished collecting maternity/parental or other special benefits under the Employment Insurance Program.
- If work is not available as a result of reasons related to COVID-19 upon conclusion of your maternity/parental leave, you may be eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided you meet the eligibility requirements otlined above.
How much could I Get? When Do I Get it & How?
- If you meet the eligibility requirements, you would receive $500 per week for a maximum pf 16 weeks of Benefits.
- The Benefit is taxable although tax will not be deducted at source. You will be expected to report the Benefit as income when you file your income tax for the 2020 tax year.
- Benefits will start within 10 days of you submitting an application. There is no waiting period.
- Payments will be made through direct deposit or by cheque. You will be paid more quickly if you choose direct deposit.
- Your payments will be retroactive to your eligibility date.
Guidelines for Applying for the CERB to Mitigate Volumes
Whether you apply online or by phone, use the following guidelines:
- If you were born in the months of January, February or March, you should apply for the CERB on Mondays & your best day to apply is April 6.
- If you were born in the months of April, May, or June, you should apply for the CERB on Tuesdays & your best day to apply is April 7.
- If you were born in the months of July, August, or September, you should apply for the CERB in Wednesdays & your best day to apply is April 8.
- If you were born in the months of October, November, or December, you should apply for the CERB on Thursdays and your best day to apply is April 9.
- If you've missed your application day, you can always apply on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays (no matter what month you were born in).
How to apply
There are two ways to apply:
- Online: To apply online, you will need a CRA My Account. To begin the CERB application process, applicants must answer a few simple questions. The answers you provide will help direct you to the service option that best fits your situation.
- Over the phone with an automated phone service:1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041
- Both of these services are available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both services are closed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) for maintenance.
Q&A and more details on the CERB - https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/questions.html