Understanding COVID-19 Emergency Financial Benefits in Canada

Emergency Financial Benefits

The coronavirus has brought about a multitude of worries. People are concerned about their health, their jobs and their financial situations. And we know that money worries are the greatest source of stress - more than work, health or even relationships. If your finances have been impacted by the pandemic, know that you’re not alone. So what options are available to you and how do you know what to apply for? Read on below to learn more.

Are you on sick leave because you’re ill, self-isolating or have to quarantine?

If you have to take sick leave because you’re ill, self-isolating or have to quarantine, you are entitled to benefits through the Government of Canada. If you have paid into Employment Insurance (EI) and worked at least 600 hours in the past 52 weeks, you can apply for EI Sickness Benefits and receive up to 15 weeks of payments, worth up to 55% of your usual pay or $573 per week, whichever is less. If you do not qualify for EI, you can apply for Canada Emergency Relief Benefits (CERB) and receive a lump sum of up to $2,000 for every four weeks that you are eligible to a maximum of 16 weeks between March 15 (retroactive) and October 3, 2020.

Are you unable to work because you’re caring for someone that’s sick?

If you paid into Employment Insurance, you could apply for EI Caregiver Benefits. If you have already applied for these benefits but have not received them, you will automatically be assessed for the CERB. If you did not pay into EI, you could apply directly for the CERB.

Have you been laid off?

If you paid into Employment Insurance, you could apply for EI Regular Benefits. If you have already applied for these benefits but have not received them, you will automatically be assessed for the CERB. If you did not pay into EI, you could apply directly for the CERB.

Are you at home because your kids are not in daycare or school and you need money to make ends meet?

Make sure you’re getting your Canada Child Benefit. These benefits will be topped up in May. You could receive up to $550 per child per month plus provincial amounts. You can also apply for the CERB if you have had at least $5,000 in income from work, EI maternity or parental benefits in the past year AND you have had no income for at least 14 days in a row.

Are you self-employed?

If you pay yourself a salary with payroll deductions including EI premiums, you may be eligible for EI Sickness Benefits, but you may want to apply for the CERB because there is a big backlog. If you have children, make sure you are receiving any Canada Child Benefit and the GST Credit that you are entitled to. Depending on your income, you might qualify for the GST Credit or the Canada Worker’s Benefit.

For more information about available benefits, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html. To apply for CERB benefits, apply online with your My Account login through the Canada Revenue Agency ( please hyperlink https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-…), or call the designated 1-800 number which will soon be announced. Service Canada offices are now closed and more information about phone lines will be available in early April.

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