Who can apply for CERB Emergency Response Benefit announced in response to Corona Virus Outbreak ?


The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global economy making businesses go bankrupt, oil prices plunge, shelves empty in the grocery stores and countries locked down. Every country is trying to help its citizens in the best way possible to cope with this deadly virus.

This morning Prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau announced a huge emergency fund- CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) for Canadians to help cope with the after-effects of the Corona Virus outbreak. The fund includes $27 billion in direct support and $55 billion to help support businesses for paying their employees and in tax deferrals.

"No matter who you are or what you do, this is a time where you should be focused on your health, and that of your neighbors, not whether you're going to lose your job, not whether you're going to run out of money for things like groceries and medication," Trudeau said.

These funds will help families pay for their rent, groceries and their bills. On the other hand, businesses will be able to use these funds towards employee payrolls, taxes and monthly bills and help economy stabilize in the coming months after Corona Virus has been dealt with.

Below are the main benefits announced today

1. Child Care Benefits(CCB) 

The Government has proposed an increase in the monthly Child Care benefits per child for upto $300 for only the year 2019-2020 payments. Families will receive this additional amount in their May payment from CRA.

This additional fund support will deliver up to $2 billion dollars to almost 3.5 million families with children who also require additional support.

2. Goods and Services Tax  Credit(GST Credit)

The Government is proposing to provide a one-time special GST payment to the low and modest-income families who require additional help financially to support their families. This credit will increase the income of the individuals to $400 and $600 for couples.

Together the GST credit and the CCB may add up to $1500 income temporarily for a single parent with two kids.

3. Tax Payment Flexibility

To provide flexibility for individuals who might be struggling during these tough times, the CRA has postponed the dates until June 1, 2020. If any taxpayer has a tax amount owing towards CRA, they will have until after August 31, 2020, to pay.  This relief will apply to tax balances as well as the installments. No penalty or interest will be charged on these amounts during this period. 

CRA is also encouraging all taxpayers to avoid personal meetings with any CA representatives and use the online services where possible. 

4. Benefits for Self-Employed workers

Emergency benefit fund of $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks has been identified for self-employed individuals who are :
  • Either quarantined or sick with Corona Virus; Or
  • Taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19; Or
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision because of school and day-care closures; And
  • Not eligible for EI benefits 

5. Employment Insurance Benefits(EI)

The government has waived the one week waiting period for individuals who are sick or quarantined and who are eligible for EI sickness benefits. This temporary benefit will be in effect from March 15, 2020.

No medical certificate will be required to receive this EI sickness benefit as it used to be a mandatory requirement previously.

6. Students

The Government of Canada is placing a temporary interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Student Loans. This applies to all individuals who are currently repaying their student loans.

7. Seniors

For seniors Registered Retirement Income Funds(RRIFs), there is a minimum required amount set every year by the carrier of RRIFs, which can be an Insurance company, Bank, Company or Trust. This amount is set based on the person's age or their spouse's age at the beginiing of the year. You can withdraw more than this minimum amount but not less than that. 

To minimize the impact of Corona Virus on the senior's savings, Government of Canada is reducing this minimum withdrawal amount by 25% for the year 2020. The same will apply to citizens who are receiving variable payments under the Registered Pension Plan. 

How to Apply?

Application for EI Benefits: Residents who are eligible for EI benefits can go ahead and apply for the EI payments starting March 15, 2020. There is no waiting period to avail  EI benefits. 

Application for Emergency Benefits: This benefit is called CERB by Canada Government and the portal is now available to apply starting April, 6. Everyone applying for this benefit will have to prove that they meet the eligibility criteria as mentioned above(point#4). They will be required to keep providing this proof every 2 weeks in order to keep receiving the benefit funds. 

The application form can be completed using any of the following 3 ways:

1. By logging into your CRA Account
2. By logging into your Service Canada Account
3. By calling a toll-free number and following the automated application process

To avoid any website issues due to high traffic of applicants, CRA has divided the application date based on their month of Birth. Here is the list for your reference to apply for CERB :


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