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Are you eligible to qualify for CERB and how to apply

on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 16:30

*Updated on April 28, 4:45pm - updated details
*Updated on April 25, 9:15pm added tax treatment on CERB
*Updated on April 20, 9:36am - updated program expansion details from News releases from Prime Minister Office
*Updated on April 16, 9:45am - updated program expansion

So, we now have more information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.... 

First of all, who qualifies?

- You have to be 15 years old or up;
- You have to be residing in Canada;
- You have stopped working because of COVID19 whereas you didn't quit your job;
- You had at least $5,000 income (gross) in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application; AND
- You had earned <$1,000 (net) employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days initially to start AND expect to have less than $1,000 income for ENTIRE (it it was only for another 14 days within) specific future four-week periods to continue to receive the benefit.

Note that also, four-week period is not *any four-week period, it has to fall under the following periods....
The maximum you can get is 16 weeks or 4 out of these 7 weeks' periods....

Based on the information from the PMO, benefit period will extend to October 3, 2020.

Also, based on the same press release, the program also extended to stay home parents (no matter they qualify for EI before or not), as long as they need to stay home and take care of kids because of day cares closures.

These people will get $900 biweekly (instead of $1,000) for maximum of 15 weeks (probably has its own benefit periods??)

It seems that the Canadian government will work with the provinces to just simply "top up" income of "essential workers" to $2,500... but why just "essential workers"??

Be aware that you are cannot earn more than $1,000 for an entrie 4 weeks period to be eligible to qualify. <-- This could be harder for some people, it is hard to say, but at least, now, people can work a bit and still be able to get something.

One stupid thing is that although the CRA had stated that they extended the 2019 tax filing deadline, but you still need to file tax (in order to show whether you had more than $5000 income to be eligible for the benefit) and the application is next Monday (even though you probably don't have to submit any proofs at the time of application, you will need to submit that one way or another). We don't know if the government will hold onto your benefit amount till they get your proofs (like how CRA holds onto your Child Tax Benefits until you file your income tax), if they do, then CRA extending the filing deadline is nonsense too...

Regardless, if you are one of the lucky ones, application process can be start at the CRA's My Account page (starting Monday April 6, 2020). If you have yet to register online to set up your CRA My Account, follow this post (although it could be a bit outdated) it will take some time. BUT, you can also access it through Service Canada's My Account :) or you can call to apply. Phone number is: 1-800-959-2019

Since we all know what will happen when everyone go onto the same web site on the same day... the system will crash, so CRA likes to see that you can route yourselves to apply on another day base on your birth month:

For workers who are eligible to apply to EI or already had applied for EI, you no longer need to apply to CERB. If you still haven't apply for EI and would like to apply for it, here is the direct link to the application.

If now you realized that you need to file your tax much sooner than you thought, you can also contact us for your tax filing needs.

Lastly, I got many questions on:
 If the $5000 income requrement is gross income or net income
- CRA always refer to gross income (before tax)
CERB taxable
- Yes, it is taxable 
How much should you set a
- How much tax you need to pay on CERB depends on how much you earn in the year of 2020, you can reference your income level from 2019 in case you are so lucky that you get back to normal right after the pandemic.

Good luck everyone not to be infected by the virus and stay healthy!! We can always keep connected.


Helna's picture

Hi, I do have a doubt about CERB eligibility because the statements mentioned on the CRA website is little confusing me. My situation is I lost my full time job on December 31st 2019 after my company was laid off due to financial crisis. In the mid of December I find a job in long term care home (causal position) won't meet the hour of part time (this position is still active)I won't meet the eligibility for ei because am on my work permit. Last year I met more than $5000 and now am not able to find a full time job due to covid. Could you please help me? Am I eligible for the CERB? 

trufinancial's picture

Are you still working now? hours cut? work permit still active? 

K's picture

Do you need to re-apply every time?

or just log into your CRA account and sign in to YOUR SIGN IN PARTNER (bank)??

trufinancial's picture

After you have got your first payment of $2000, you do need to reapply every 4 weeks by logging into CRA or through the sign-in partner.

Jack's picture

Hello, I am stuck in India because I came here in Jan,2020  and was about to come back on March 31, 2020. But there is no international flight to come back. So I am stuck here due to covid-19. Do you think I am eligible? As I left my job before coming here because my company did not allow me to take vacation for more than 3 weeks.


trufinancial's picture

Hi there, did you mean you quit your job for a vacation? If that's the case, you are not eligible for CERB as you have to be laid off.... sorry....

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