The Federal Government has introduced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to aid those impacted by COVID-19. The CERB benefit will ensure that employees who may not have met the requirements of EI still receive an income while on temporary leave. To simplify the application, the CERB has been incorporated into the original Employment Insurance (EI) application.
Who is eligible for the CERB?
- If you have lost your job due to COVID-19, quarantined or sick, or are a parent who is at home with no pay taking care of children.
- Employees, contract workers, self-employed individuals, and employees who have also not been receiving any income but not officially yet laid off.
- Individuals who have had an income of $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.
Who is not eligible for the CERB?
The CERB benefit is only available to those who have lost their employment due to COVID-19. Individuals must show that their job loss occurred on or after March 15, 2020, in order to qualify. This means any persons who were already unemployed, laid off seasonal workers will not be eligible for this benefit.
When and where can I apply?
Eligible individuals can apply through the Government of Canada’s myCRA portal or automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019. Please remember you will be required to provide you SIN and postal code to proceed with the automated phone application. If you are calling on behalf of someone else, you must be an authorized representative. To ensure that all applications are processed in a timely manner, applications will be staggered based on the month of year individuals were born. Please refer to the chart below to find out when you can apply for the CERB.
If you were born in the month of
Apply for CERB on
Your best day to apply
January, February, or March
April, May, or June
July, August, or September
October, November, or December
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays
How much will I receive and when will I get paid?
Beneficiaries will receive a $2,000 benefit paid once per month for up to four months. This benefit will be backdated to March 15, 2020. The CERB benefit will run between March 15 – October 03, 2020. It is important to note that the monthly benefit will not be taxed directly, but you will need to claim this on next year’s income tax filing.
If you have signed up for direct deposit, you can expect to receive payment within 3 business days. For those who have not enrolled into direct deposit, you should receive a cheque payment within 10 business days.
I have already applied for EI, can I apply for CERB benefits?
If you are currently on EI and meet the requirements of the CERB benefit, your EI claim will automatically transfer over to the new CERB benefit.
Do I need a Record of Employment (ROE) to apply?
No, you do not need an ROE to apply for the CERB benefit. However, it would be best to retrieve one if you are to apply for regular EI benefits at the end of the CERB term.
I am still unemployed after the CERB benefit period, what are my options?
Should you find yourself still unemployed or laid off after October 03, 2020 and have eligible EI insurable hours you can apply for regular EI benefits. You will require an ROE at this point.
What is the difference between the CERB benefit and regular EI benefits?
CERB benefit is for those who have been directly affected by COVID-19 and may not have met the same requirements for EI. Depending on your salary, EI may be a better choice as EI pays 55% of your lost income while the CERB will pay $2,000/month. You cannot apply for both at the same time.
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