CERB Frequently asked questions

What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?


  • The CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefits) is a new program established by the Canadian Government on March 25, 2020 to cover workers who lose income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The CERB supports Canadians by providing urgently needed financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who have been directly affected by COVID-19. It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (equivalent to $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.




Who is eligible for the CERB?


The CERB will be available to workers:

  • residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits;
  • who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources:

  • employment;
  • self-employment; and
  • maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program.

The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work and are not earning employment or self-employment income as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you have not stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.




How much is the CERB?


  • The CERB is a lump sum of $2,000 for every month that you are eligible, to a maximum of 16 weeks.




How can I Apply for the CERB?


The CERB application form will be available on April 6th. In the meantime, if you can apply online (computer or mobile) make sure you create a MyAccount with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). (see instructions on creating a CRA account below).

You can apply in one of these ways:

  • by accessing it on your CRA MyAccount secure portal.
  • by accessing it from your secure My Service Canada Account (MSCA); or
by calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process.




When will the CRA portal for CERB open?


The government anticipates that the CERB portal will be open April 6th. Please be aware that it will be very busy for the first week.

To access the CRA portal, please visit their website at:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

The government has proposed that people applying for the CERB, visit their website starting Monday April 6th and apply in waves based on their month of birth to avoid overloading their site. See chart below:

NOTE: If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to also apply for this new benefit, your claim will be automatically moved over to the CERB.

What happens after you apply?

  • If you are eligible for the CERB, you can expect $2,000 ($500 per week) for a 4-week period.
  • It is a single payment for a 4-week period.
  • If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods)
Note: CERB benefits are taxable and you will need to report any payments received on next year's tax filing. An information slip will be made available for the 2020 tax year in My Account under Tax Information Slips (T4 and more).




Understand the payment periods


Each payment of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) covers a 4-week period, beginning March 15, 2020. When you apply, it is for a single payment for the 4-week period. If your situation continues, you can apply for an additional 4-week period, up to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods in total).




What are the payment methods?


The CERB is paid by direct deposit or by cheque if your direct deposit information is not on file.




When can I expect payment?


  • If you are getting your payment by direct deposit, expect your payment within 3 business days from the day you submitted your application
  • If you are getting your payment by cheque, expect to get the cheque within 10 business days from the day you submitted your application.




Can I apply again after 4 weeks?


You will need to apply and confirm your eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit every 4 weeks (to a maximum of 16 weeks) if your situation continues.




How do I set up MyAccount with CRA?


Website: CRA Services for Individuals

My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your tax affairs online.

Here are the steps to register and set up your Account Online:

My Account for Individuals

Video: CRA How to Register for an Account

You will have to complete two steps.

Step 1 – Provide personal information

  • Enter your social insurance number.
  • Enter your date of birth.
  • Enter your current postal code or ZIP code.
  • Enter an amount you entered on one of your income tax and benefit returns. Have a copy of your returns handy. (The line amount requested will vary. It could be from the current tax year or the previous one.) To register, a return for one of these two years must have been filed and assessed.
  • Create a CRA user ID and password.
  • Create your security questions and answers. You can also decide if you want a persistent cookie added to your computer, so you can access CRA Login Services using that same computer later without being asked for more identification.

After you complete step one of the registration process, you will have access to limited tax information on My Account. After you enter your CRA security code, you will have access to the full suite of services available in My Account, as well as the Auto-fill my return service.

Step 2 – Enter the CRA security code

To access your account, return to My Account for Individuals, select "CRA login," and enter your CRA user ID and password. When prompted, enter your CRA security code.

You can log into CRA Login Services with a Sign-in Partner. This option lets you log in with a user ID and password that you may already have, such as for online banking. For more information, see Sign-in Partners Help and FAQs.

MyCRA mobile app

Video: CRA's Mobile App Video

You will have to complete two steps.

Step 1 – Provide personal information

  • Enter your social insurance number.
  • Enter your date of birth.
  • Enter your current postal code or ZIP code.
  • Enter an amount you entered on one of your income tax and benefit returns. Have a copy of your returns handy. (The line amount requested will vary. It could be from the current tax year or the previous one.) To register, a return for one of these two years must have been filed and assessed.
  • Create a CRA user ID and password.
  • Create your security questions and answers. You can also decide if you want a persistent cookie added to your device, so you can access MyCRA app using that same device later without being asked for more identification.

After you complete step one of the registration process, you will have access to some information in MyCRA. Once you have received your CRA security code, we recommend entering it when you log in to MyCRA in order to access all the services available.

Step 2 – Enter the CRA security code

To access your account, return to the MyCRA mobile app, select "CRA login", and enter your CRA user ID and password. When prompted, enter your CRA security code.

You can also log into MyCRA mobile app with a Sign-in Partner. This option lets you log in with a user ID and password that you may already have, such as for online banking. For more information, see Sign-in Partners Help and FAQs.

MyBenefits CRA mobile app

You will have to complete two steps.

Step 1 – Provide personal information

  • Enter your social insurance number.
  • Enter your date of birth.
  • Enter your current postal code or ZIP code.
  • Enter an amount you entered on one of your income tax and benefit returns. Have a copy of your returns handy. (The line amount requested will vary. It could be from the current tax year or the previous one.) To register, a return for one of these two years must have been filed and assessed.
  • Create a CRA user ID and password.
  • Create your security questions and answers. You can also decide if you want a persistent cookie added to your device, so you can access MyBenefits CRA app using that same device later without being asked for more identification.

Step 2 – Enter the CRA security code

To access your account, return to the MyBenefits CRA mobile app, select "CRA login", and enter your CRA user ID and password. When prompted, enter your CRA security code.

You can also log into MyBenefits CRA mobile app with a Sign-in Partner. This option lets you log in with a user ID and password that you may already have, such as for online banking. For more information, see Sign-in Partners Help and FAQs




How do I set up My Service Canada Account (MSCSA) with Service Canada?


Website:

How to Register for a My Service Canada Account (MSCA)

You have two options on how to register for your My Service Canada Account

Option #1 - Register with your Bank:

To use your financial institution (Sign-in Partner) to access My Service Canada Account (MSCA) you must have:

  • a verified Sign-in Partner
  • an access code

We may have sent you an access code if you've applied for or are receiving Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), or Old Age Security (OAS).

1. Determine if your bank is a verified Sign-in Partner

Using a Sign-in Partner to access MSCA allows you to use the same sign-in information you use for your online banking.

  • Affinity Credit Union
  • Alberta Treasury Branches
  • BMO Financial Group
  • CIBC Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Conexus Credit Union
  • Desjardins Group (Caisses Populaires, UNI)
  • National Bank of Canada
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • Servus Credit Union
  • Tangerine
  • TD Bank Group
  • Vancity

2. Request access code

An access code is your key to accessing secure online services. You need to have an access code before you can register for MSCA with a Sign-in Partner.

You can request an access code:

Online - You will need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • your parent's family name at birth
  • your postal code if you are a Canadian resident or your country of residence if you are a foreign resident
  • Have your JavaScript enabled.

In Person at a Service Canada Office – You will need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • your parent's family name at birth
  • your postal code if you are a Canadian resident or your country of residence if you are a foreign resident
  • a valid (not expired) acceptable proof of identity, such as:
    • Canadian passport
    • certification of Canadian citizenship
    • certification of Indian status
    • certificate of registration of birth abroad
    • driver’s licence (provincial or territorial)
    • health card
    • permanent resident card
    • provincial identification card

By Phone: Apply by calling Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm local time (you can also call this number to check the status of your PAC request or disable your PAC).

You will need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

answers to various security questions to verify your identity

3. Receive access code

Service Canada will provide you with an access code. You need this code to register for MSCA.

Online: you will receive your access code by mail within 5 to 10 business days.

In person: you will receive your access code immediately.

By phone: the Service Canada phone representative will let you know when you could receive your access code.

4. Register for MSCA with Sign-in Partner

If you have a joint bank account, only one of the two people can register for MSCA with the shared account. The second person must use a different Sign-In Partner account, create a GCKey account or use their provincial digital ID account (Alberta only).

None of your information (for example, financial, banking) will be shared with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Service Canada. Your Sign-In Partner will not know which government service you are using.

Are you ready to register? You will need:

  • your access code
  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Now you are ready to register!

Option #2 – Register with a GCKey

1. Request access code

An access code is your key to accessing secure online services. You need to have an access code before you can register for MSCA with GCKey.

You can request an access code:

Online - You will need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • your parent's family name at birth
  • your postal code if you are a Canadian resident or your country of residence if you are a foreign resident
  • Have your JavaScript enabled.

In Person at a Service Canada Office - You will need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • your parent's family name at birth
  • your postal code if you are a Canadian resident or your country of residence if you are a foreign resident
  • a valid (not expired) acceptable proof of identity, such as:
    • Canadian passport
    • certification of Canadian citizenship
    • certification of Indian status
    • certificate of registration of birth abroad
    • driver’s licence (provincial or territorial)
    • health card
    • permanent resident card
    • provincial identification card

By Phone - Apply by calling Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm local time (you can also call this number to check the status of your PAC request or disable your PAC).

You will need:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • answers to various security questions to verify your identity

2. Receive access code

Service Canada will provide you with an access code. You need this code to register for MSCA.

  • Online: you will receive your access code by mail within 5 to 10 business days.
  • In person: you will receive your access code immediately.
  • By phone: the Service Canada phone representative will let you know when you could receive your access code.

3. Sign up for GCKey (if you don’t have it) Sign up for GCKey Account

Use your GCKey to access multiple Government of Canada online Services. Sign up for a GCKey user ID and password if you do not have one. If you have forgotten an existing GCKey user ID, you will need to create a new one.

4. Register for MSCA with your GCKey

Are you ready to register? You will need:

  • your access code
  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Now you are ready to register!





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