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Coronavirus: CERB payments - how much, who's eligible, how to apply

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers financial help to Canadian residents who have lost their income due to the Covid-19 crisis.

(FILES) In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence in Ottawa, Canada on March 23, 2020. - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he did not know if he w

Established in March as part of a 73-billion-dollar wage subsidy scheme aimed at helping Canadian businesses and workers overcome the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides pay-outs of 500 dollars per week for a maximum of 16 weeks.

How does the CERB work?

CERB payments are a benefit made available to employed/self-employed workers who lost their income due to the coronavirus pandemic after 15 March this year. If you qualify for CERB payments, you will receive 2000 dollars (500 a week) for a pre-set, four-week period*.

These periods are:

Period 1: 15 March 2020 to 11 April 2020

Period 2: 12 April 2020 to 9 May 2020

Period 3: 10 May 2020 to 6 June 2020

Period 4: 7 June 2020 to 4 July 2020

Period 5: 5 July 2020 to 1 August 2020

Period 6: 2 August 2020 to 29 August 2020

Period 7: 30 August 2020 to 26 September 2020

You can apply to receive benefits corresponding to any four-week window between 15 March and 26 September, but must apply separately for each period. The deadline for applications is 2 December 2020.

*If you apply through Service Canada rather than the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the seven periods are split into 14, two-week application windows worth 1,000 dollars each.

How is the CERB paid?

The CERB is paid by direct deposit in three business days, or by cheque within around 10 business days.

Who is eligible for CERB payments?

According to the Canadian government’s website, you are eligible to apply for CERB payments if you:

  • Are a resident in Canada
  • Are aged at least 15
  • Have lost your income because of the coronavirus/are eligible for Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) scheme or sickness benefits/have exhausted your EI regular or EI fishing benefits between 29 December 2019 and 3 October 2020
  • Earned at least 5,000 dollars in 2019 or the 12 months before applying for CERB, either as an employed or self-employed worker
  • Did not leave your job voluntarily

The government’s website adds: “When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.

“When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.”

You'll find an eligibility questionnaire here.

How can I apply for CERB payments?

You can apply through the CRA or Service Canada. To find out which you should use, answer the questionnaire on this page.

To apply online, you will need a CRA or Service Canada website account. You can also apply by phone, by calling 1-800-959-2019.

You are only allowed to apply for the CERB on specific days of the week, depending on which month of the year you were born in. You can ascertain exactly when you can apply here.

See also

Live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

You can follow live coverage of the coronavirus crisis with our daily live blog. We also have dedicated rolling feeds for the United States, India and Africa.


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