Visit ousa.ca/covid19 for more information on CERB & CESB

Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit

Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) 

Written by Nathan Barnett, VP of University Affairs at Trent Durham Student Association. 

Updated May 14th, 2020

 

What is CERB?

CERB, or the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit, is a federal program meant to replace or supplement income during the COVID pandemic.  

 

What does CERB entail?

If you qualify, you will receive $500/week for a maximum of 16 weeks. These weeks DO NOT need to be in a row. You could take 4 weeks and stop for 2 weeks and restart. This will NOT affect the 16-week maximum. If you take 4 weeks and stop for 2 weeks, the next week you get paid would count as week 5 out of 16.

 

How do I apply?

You can apply on service Canada website OR through the CRA, but not both. Additionally, you can apply over the phone by calling 1 (833) 966-2099

 

Am I eligible?

You must:

  • Be 15 years old or older
  • Have earned LESS THAN $1000 in the past 14 days
  • Have earned MORE THAN $5000 in the past year OR during 2019
  • Have lost your job due to COIVD after March 15, 2020
  • Unable to work due to being sick
  • Unable to work due to taking care of someone who is sick
  • Unable to work due to taking care of someone whose care facility (i.e. nursing home, school, etc) has closed due to COVID
  • Have a SIN number

 

What would make me ineligible?

You must not have willingly left your job (i.e. quit).  

 

Do I need to be a citizen or permanent resident to qualify?

No, but you must have a SIN number, be currently be living in Canada and have earned more than $5000 in the past year.

 

I’m on disability or I have a pension, do I qualify?

Yes, however the payments from your pension or disability DO NOT count towards the $5000 you have to have earned in the past year.

 

EI vs. CERB

If you lost your job AFTER March 15, apply for CERB.

If you lost your job BEFORE March 15, even if it was related to COIVD, apply for EI.

If you are CURRENTLY on EI, you cannot apply for CERB until after you EI finishes.

 

Can I pick between EI and CERB?

No. If you lost your job after March 15, you will receive CERB. If you lost it before March 15, you will receive EI.

 

What if I would have gotten more/less with EI than I do with CERB?

You will be paid the $500/week regardless.

 

What documentation do I need?

You need your SIN and contact information. You do NOT need a medical certificate or a record of employment.  

 

I was on OW before COVID, can I get CERB? I am on/going on ODSP, can I get CERB?

Yes, however there will be some deductions from your OW/ODSP. The first $200 of each month and 50% of every dollar after that will be exempt. This means, for the first weekly payment of a month, $350 will be exempt. The remaining $150 you have “earned” from CERB will be deducted from your OW/ODSP payment. For the rest of that month, $250/weekly will be deducted from your OW/ODSP payment.

 

I now qualify for OW, can I get it and CERB?

Yes, however they will deduct it dollar-for-dollar. This means $500/weekly will be deducted from your OW payment.

 

Are there other Ontario specific support programs I can apply to?

Yes. There is a Ontario Emergency Assistant. You can receive $733 for a single person, more with dependents. This is for 48 days, however if you suspect you will need it for longer than a month, the government suggest you apply for OW. Eligibility for the Ontario program is:

  • Affected by COVID;
  • Being evicted;
  • In or fleeing an abusive relationship or;
  • Worried about safety

You can find more information here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-emergency-assistance

 

What if I have a job, but I can’t go because of concerns around COVID? i.e. I live with someone who is high risk?

You will NOT qualify if you willingly leave your job (i.e. quit). You can contact your workplace health and safety officer, or learn more about your “Right to Refuse Dangerous Work” here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/health-safety/reports/right-refuse.html

 

I volunteered to be laid off, will I qualify?

Yes, as long as you did not leave willingly and you were laid off or let go.

 

I am on unpaid leave, do I qualify?

Yes.

 

I am with child, what does this mean for me?

If you lost your job AFTER March 15, apply for CERB. After CERB finishes, it will be transitioned to EI.

If you lost your job BEFORE March 15, even if it was related to COIVD, apply for EI.

If you are CURRENTLY on EI, you cannot apply for CERB until after you EI finishes.

 

I am still working, but I have a reduction of hours, do I qualify?

If you earn less than $1000 in 14 days but you are still employed, you qualify for CERB.

 

Do I have to report the money I get from CERB to OSAP?

Yes. It’s considered income, so you have to report it. This can be done through the financial aid office.

 

I applied and qualified, now what?

You will receive your payment in 10 days, by cheque or direct deposit. If it is by cheque, it will be mailed out in 10 days from your applying and therefore will take longer for you to receive.

The $500/week is taxable, meaning you will have to pay income tax on it next Spring when you file taxes.

 

I heard about CESB (Canadian Emergency Student Benefits), what is it?

If you are a student or recent graduate who does not qualify for CERB, you can apply to CESB. This is currently in the works and you are unable to apply to it currently, as it is not yet open. It will provide single students with $1250/month, and students with dependents or a disability $1750/month. If you qualify for CERB however, apply now for CERB.

 

Where can I find more information about this?

You can find more information about CERB from the Canada.ca website here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html