Boost Your Income
Income Benefits To Replace CERB: CRSB, CRB & MoreOctober 24, 2023
Not sure what benefits are available now that CERB has ended? Here’s a round-up of all the federal assistance you could have qualified for and some you still can today.
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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) came to a close on September 27 2020, but the effects of the pandemic continue to ripple across the country. Canada still has 1.1 million fewer paid workers than it did before COVID-19 struck and many more are working less than they usually do. To ensure people continue getting the support they need, the federal government has allocated billions of dollars to strengthen existing benefit programs and create new ones.
From the modified EI program and new recovery benefits to classic monthly payments like the Canada Child Benefit, here is a complete list of all the federal benefits you could have collected when CERB has wrapped up, and some federal benefits that you could still be eligible for.
Modified Employment Insurance (EI) Program & New Recovery Benefits
Once the CERB ended, Canadians who still required support were transitoned to the modified EI program.
Who qualified: Unemployed workers with at least 120 hours of insurable employment received a one-time hours credit to ensure they qualify for EI. There was a 300-hour credit for regular benefit claims (job loss) and a 480-hour credit for special benefit claims (sickness, maternity/parental, compassionate care or family caregiver). See full eligibility requirements.
How much you can get: On this modified EI program you could collect a minimum of $650 per week for 50 weeks or $390 per week for extended parental benefits.
How payments are calculated: Average weekly earnings determine EI benefit rates, however the minimum benefit rate has been established as the COVID-19 pandemic may have negatively impacted weekly earnings since March.
Maximum income levels: If you earned money while on EI, you could keep 50 cents of your benefits for every dollar earned, up to 90% of your previous weekly earnings (about four and a half days of work). Your EI benefits were deducted dollar-for-dollar if you go over this cap. You no longer qualify for EI if you work a full week, regardless of how much money you make. This is the same premise for current standard EI benefits.
How to apply: Once the CERB ended, you should have been automatically transitioned to the updated EI program if you met the new eligibility criteria and received benefits through Service Canada. If the CRA administered your CERB payments, you would have needed to apply for EI through Service Canada.
If you didn’t qualify for EI, you may have be eligible for three new income support programs:
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): Self-employed individuals or workers not eligible for EI could collect $500 per week for up to 38 weeks. The CRB follows similar eligibility criteria as the CERB, but allowed workers to earn more self-employment income while collecting the benefit. Recipients will need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for every dollar earned over $38,000. They must also reapply for the benefit every two weeks to confirm they’re still meeting eligibility requirements. If you were eligible for this benefit but didn’t apply, retroactive applications ended December 23, 2021. You will no longer be able to claim these.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): Workers who were sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 could get $500 per week for up to four weeks. No medical certificate was needed, however workers must have missed a minimum of 60% of scheduled work in a week to claim the benefit. Retroactive applications for this benefit closed July 7, 2022 so you will no longer be able to claim them if you missed out.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB): Canadians who couldn’t work because they had to care for children or other dependents may receive $500 per week for up to 38 weeks per household. Two people living in the same household couldn’t receive the benefit for the same period. Just like the other benefits listed above, retroactive applications are closed. As of July 7, 2022, you are no longer eligible to get any missed benefits.
How to apply: You could apply for these taxable benefits through your CRA account once the CERB ended. The new recovery benefits were effective for one year from September 27 2020 and you could apply until the retroactive applications closed. Check here for the latest updates.
Learn more about the modified EI program and new recovery benefits.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
The Canada Child Benefit helps eligible families offset the costs of raising children under 18 years old. The tax-free monthly payment may include the Child Disability Benefit and other provincial and territorial programs such as the Ontario Child Benefit or the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit. These are current benefits that you can still apply for today.
Who qualifies: Families with low to modest incomes – see full eligibility requirements.
How much you can get: You can receive a maximum of $7,437 per year ($619.75 per month) for each child under six years old and up to $6,275 per year ($522.91 per month) for each child between six to 17 years of age. Use the child and family benefits calculator to find out how much you could be entitled to.
How payments are calculated: Payments are based on the number of children you have, how old they are, your marital status, and your adjusted family net income (AFNI) from last year’s tax return.
Maximum income levels: Benefits start gradually reducing if your AFNI is more than $34,863.
Learn more about the CCB, including when payments are issued and how the benefit works with related provincial and territorial programs.
Old Age Security (OAS)
Old Age Security is Canada’s largest pension program that provides seniors with a taxable monthly payment. Unlike the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), OAS benefits are not tied to employment history, so seniors can still receive payments if they’re working or have never been employed. OAS recipients and their spouses may also qualify for three additional benefits: the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Allowance, and Allowance for the Survivor.
Who qualifies: Seniors aged 65 and over – see full eligibility requirements.
How much you can get: As of October 2023, the maximum monthly payment you can receive from OAS is $778.45. This amount is adjusted quarterly in January, April, July, and October based on changes to the Consumer Price Index.
How payments are calculated: Payments are determined using your marital status, annual income reported on last year’s tax return, and how long you have lived in Canada since turning age 18.
Maximum income levels: You will have to repay some or all of your OAS payments if your income is higher than $86,912.
How to apply: In most cases, you don’t need to apply for OAS. Service Canada will automatically enroll you if you’re eligible and send you a notification letter the month after you turn 64. If you receive a letter stating you may qualify for OAS or don’t get a letter at all, you’ll need to apply online through your My Service Canada Account or by mailing in an application.
Learn more about OAS, including payment dates and tips on how to minimize OAS clawback.
Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
The Guaranteed Income Supplement is a non-taxable monthly payment provided to low-income seniors. It’s a supplement to OAS which means you need to qualify for OAS first before you can get the GIS.
Who qualifies: Low-income OAS pensioners – see full eligibility requirements.
How much you can get: As of October 2023, the most you can get from the GIS is $1,057.01 per month if you’re single, widowed, or divorced. The maximum monthly amount ranges between $636.26 to $1057.01 if you have a spouse or common-law partner. Just like OAS, GIS amounts may fluctuate throughout the year depending on changes to the Consumer Price Index.
How payments are calculated: Your income and marital status are used to calculate your personal amount.
Maximum income levels: Your annual income must be below $21,456 if you’re single, widowed, or divorced. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, your combined income has to be below $28,320 if your partner receives the full OAS pension, $51,408 if your partner does not receive an OAS pension, and $39,648 if your partner receives the Allowance.
How to apply: Service Canada should automatically enroll you if you’re eligible, however, there are some instances where you’ll need to apply.
Learn more about the GIS, including payment dates and how the benefit works with other pension programs such as the CPP.
GST/HST Tax Credit
The goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit is a tax-free payment issued four times per year. It helps low- to modest-income individuals and families offset all or part of the GST or HST they pay.
Who qualifies: Individuals considered a Canadian resident for income tax purposes the month before and at the beginning of the month in which the CRA makes a payment – see full eligibility requirements.
How much you can get: The maximum you can receive from the GST/HST credit is $496 if you’re single, $650 if you’re married or have a common-law partner, and $171 for each child under the age of 19.
How payments are calculated: Your family net income and the number of children you have registered for the credit are used to determine your personal amount.
Maximum income levels: Single individuals making $52,255 or more (before tax) are not entitled to the credit. A couple with four children cannot exceed an annual net income of $69,015. Find out more about maximum income levels and use the child and family benefits calculator to get an estimate of how much you could receive.
How to apply: There is no formal application – all you have to do is file your taxes every year, even if you have no income to report. If you’re a new resident, you’ll need to apply for the credit by submitting Form RC66 if you have children or Form RC151 if you’re single.
Learn more about the GST/HST Tax Credit, including payment dates and what situations may trigger GST/HST payment changes.
Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)
The Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit that supports low-income workers and their families. It’s sent out on the fifth day of the month in April, July, October, and January. The CWB also includes a disability supplement for eligible Canadians.
Who qualifies: Canadian residents who are 19 years of age or older on December 31 – see full eligibility requirements.
How much you can get: For most Canadians, the maximum CWB amount per year is $1,428 for individuals and $2,403 for families. The maximum payment for the disability supplement is $720 for individuals and families. Payments will vary for residents in Alberta, Nunavut, and Quebec.
How payments are calculated: The amount of your CWB payments are impacted by your marital status, province or territory of residence, working income, net income, eligible dependents, and eligibility for the disability supplement.
Maximum income levels: For individuals, the benefit is gradually reduced when net income is more than $23,495 and not paid when net income is over $33,015. For families, the benefit decreases when family net income is over $26,805 and not paid when net income is more than $43,212.
How to apply: You can claim the CWB when you do your taxes.
Learn more about the CWB, including detailed steps on how to apply and how to request advance payments.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC)
The federal Disability Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit for people with disabilities and their caregivers. It’s meant to offset the additional living costs related to having a disability by reducing the amount of taxes owed. You can claim the credit for yourself or on behalf of your dependent, spouse, or common-law partner. The credit also includes a supplement for children under age 18 at the end of the year.
How much you can get: The maximum disability amount for 2023 is $8,986. The maximum supplement for children under 18 is $5,242.
How to apply: Submit Form T2201 – a medical practitioner has to complete Part B and certify that you have a severe and prolonged impairment that makes daily living difficult.
Learn more about the DTC, including the medical conditions that qualify for the credit and other benefits you may be eligible for.