Today, I’ll be explaining the much I’ve found out about one of the COVID Benefits – Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). [Updated 13.12.2020]
What is the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)?
The CRB is for Canadians, permanent residents and refugees who have lost their jobs because of the COVID virus.
Each period is made up of 2 weeks and you can only apply after the period has passed. For example, If you did not work between the 27th of September 2020 and 10th October 2020, you can only apply after the 10th of October 2020.
Who qualifies for the Canada Recovery Benefits(CRB)?
So, the qualification requirements for the CRB are quite similar to the Canada Emergency Recovery Benefit (CERB) but there are some slight differences:
To qualify for this benefit, you should:
- Have a social insurance number
- Be at least 15 years old, we can’t have any babies asking for money.
- Live in Canada and be here for the period you’re applying for
- You can’t apply from prison or any other place where you’re on lockdown, or they check how many times you went on potty breaks.
- Have earned at least $5k in 2019, 2020 or in the past 12 months. Plus, that money must have come from running your own business, working for someone aka employment or maternity/paternity leave.
- You can’t receive any other benefits while receiving this.
- You cannot work at least 50% of the time. So, this means you’ve got a job but can’t work at all or have reduced your work hours by at least 50%.
- You must not be eligible for EI (Employment Insurance). Now, on this one, I hear there are some changes on how many hours you now need to have worked to be eligible for EI, so call Service Canada to find out. The link to their website and phone number is in the description below.
- You did not quit your job or reduce your hours intentionally.
- You must have been actively looking for work. Have proof to show this.
- You did not turn down a job offer for the period you’re applying for.
- File your taxes for at least 2019 and 2020.
- If your total amount earned in 2020 is more than $38,000, you will need to pay back some or all the CRB money received.
You’ve got 60 days to apply for each period on this one, after that, you can’t apply for the period you missed anymore. If you don’t qualify, check other benefits or call the Employment Insurance (EI) at Service Canada. The wait times are atrocious but, it is what it is.
Note: About your Income
- If your income came from self-employment, it is best you go with the net income (this is income after you have removed expenses) on your tax return. The CRA currently states the $5000 should be net and not gross until they are told otherwise.
- According to the CRA, earning 50% or less of your income is calculated based on the total income of your 2019 returns. For example, if you earned $10,000 in 2019. Calculate $10,000 divided by 52 weeks in the year. This will give you your weekly income based on your 2019 total income. Then divide the amount you get as your weekly income by two or half. This will give you 50%
$10,000/52 weeks = $192.30. per week. Then, 192.30 per week/2 = $96.15 per week.
96.15 is 50% of $192.30. So, earn that or less if you made $10,000 in 2019.
Problems With the CRB
The Employment Insurance (EI) Problem.
If you qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) or Service Canada thinks you are qualified, you cannot qualify for the CRB. Service Canada/EI blocks the CRA from being able to apply for CRB. Sometimes you have to call EI/Service Canada to remove this block or ask them to send you a letter.
The Identity Fraud Problem
People don’t seem to update their addresses and bank details on their CRA account easily. And even if you can, you will encounter problems trying to apply for the CRB if you changed this information recently. The CRA is trying its best to prevent fraud so, you might have to call in to verify your identity.
When does the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) start?
The CRB started October 12 with payments of $1000 for every 2-week period. The first period, however, spanned between September 27, 2020 – October 10, 2020.
How to Apply for the CRB Benefits
You can either apply through your CRA Account, the automated phone lines or, call the CRA for an agent to apply on your behalf once you can get through security. Plus, make sure your address and bank details are up to date with the CRA. Also, make sure you file your taxes or that you have evidence showing that you have earned $5000 or more in 2019 or 2020.
Note that there is a 10% tax withholding at source. So if you’re expecting $1000, you’ll get $900.