Update April 2: How to Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

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(Please check the lecture titled “Update April 16: Eligibility REVISED – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)” posted April 16, 2020, which has the latest update on eligibility for CERB.) The Government has updated information regarding CERB application.

This video provides a summary of the application process. To access governmental resources directly, please use the following links.

1. CRA instructions on how to Apply: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

2. Latest Government Update (CERB): https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

3. Create CRA My Account: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html

This lecture is taught by Amer Mushtaq, LL.B., M. Engineering , B.Sc. (Hons.), who is the Principal and Founder of Formative LLP.   Through his YouTube channel, YouCounsel, Amer shares practical advice from his years of legal experience to help anyone access justice and achieve their goals.  Subscribe today to learn more.


Show Notes:


Lecture Slides:

Welcome to YouCounsel.

The government has posted new information about how to apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit. I will provide the link for the government website, the C.R.A. website and all of the links that are relevant. If you have already seen the website and got the information, then you don’t need to watch this video. If you have not or you don’t understand some of the things, then this video may be helpful.

This video is not legal advice. If you have any specific questions—in this case you should contact C.R.A.  If you require legal assistance, you should contact a lawyer or a paralegal or the Law Society of Ontario for a referral.

Today will talk about some of the steps that you should take before April 6th. These are important. Then we’ll talk about steps that you will take on April 6th and onward.  We will indicate to you that you will have to reapply for these benefits.

First of all, you will need to determine how are you going to apply for C.E.R.B.? Are you going to apply online or you’re going to apply by phone? If you apply online, the number one thing that you have to do is make sure that you have a C.R.A. My Account. If you already have one, that’s great. If you don’t have one, please create it now. You do not need to wait till April 6th to create an account. I think you’ll be better off creating one now, so that you are ready to file your application as soon as April 6th comes on. I have provided the link below that will show you how you go about creating a C.R.A. account.

This is the website that the Canadian government has posted.  I will provide the link. This is the website, which is on the C.R.A. page.  It talks about how you go about applying for C.E.R.B.  I’ll provide some of the information from here.  Finally, this is the website (this is the link) where if you don’t have an account—see My Account at C.R.A. How do you go about creating it? There are a few options here.  This is the one—where if you just want to create an account, if you don’t have one you simply click on it C.R.A. register and it will ask you for some information for example, your social insurance number and whatnot and you will be able to open an account. If you have created a new account or if you have an old account please make sure that your contact information—your address/ postal code is accurate because if you are receiving payment through cheque by mail, then this needs to be correct information. If you are receiving payment by direct deposit, you need to make sure that your banking information is correct.

Number 2, you need to determine and I think it’s a good idea for you to determine beforehand, what is the time period for which you are applying for benefits. Now the benefits will be paid for every 4 weeks—starting from March 15th 2020. The first 4-weeks period is March 15th 2020 to April 12th 2020. You need to determine beforehand whether you are expecting to be off from March 15th to April 12 2020—the entire time period and you will not earn any income.  If that is the case, then that will be the time period for which you will be applying for.

If it is a lesser time period, remember that for the first 4-weeks period you need to have at least 14 consecutive days for which you did not get any income and that makes you eligible. If it is less than this 4-weeks period, then any 14 days, at least 14 days between March 15th to April 12th 2020 will make you eligible. Make sure that you figure those out.

Now there was somebody who asked me this question, so I want to clarify it right here. If you had worked for example until March 14th, but the payment for that work you will receive towards the end of March or maybe early April, the question was: I am receiving payment during this time period, am I still eligible? Yes, you are.  If you are getting payment for the work that you had already done prior to March 15th—no matter when you get the payment—you are still eligible. Because you are not getting paid for the time period after March 15th. It’s important to know that it doesn’t matter when you’re getting paid in your salary, it is for what time period you’re getting paid.

Number 3 you should choose that day for your application based on the month of your birth. Now C.R.A. has provided this information.  If you’re born in January/February/ March then Mondays are the days that you should apply starting April 6th. If you are born in April/ May/June, then Tuesday starting April 7th. For July/August/ September, Wednesday starting April 8th. For October/November/ December, Thursdays.  You can apply on Friday, Saturday or Sunday regardless of the month of your birth. Also I think it will be a good idea for you to choose the time of your application. Please note that the website for C.R.A. will be down between 3 am and 6 am for each day for maintenance, but otherwise it is open 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a good idea for you to figure out what would be an appropriate time when you should log on to your, My C.R.A. Account website and fill out your application.

If you’re applying by phone; what are some of the things that you should do before April 6th. Number one, obviously you should note down the phone number that you’re going to call.  It is 1-800-959-2019.  It is on the website—the link that I provided. Make sure that your social insurance number is readily available.  Make sure that you have your postal code for your residence ready and written and you need to make sure that C.R.A. has accurate address information and banking information for you—because if you are getting payment made by direct deposit then your banking information needs to be up-to-date.  If you’re getting a cheque, then your address has to be up-to-date.

What are the steps you take when April 6th comes or onwards?  If you’re using online system, then you should log into C.R.A. My Account.  Then you go to this Covid-19 Canada Emergency Response Benefit, it is in the alert banner at the top of the page. Look for it, go click on it, select the period for which you are applying, declare that you’re qualified for the benefits or notice that the only thing government is requiring at this time is yourself declaration. It’s based on an honor system that you qualify for these benefits.

Now the government may ask for additional information later.  You may have to provide documentation.  But for now you just need to declare it and you need to confirm that C.R.A. has the right payment information for you—whether it’s direct deposit or by cheque.

Finally, once you have submitted your application you will receive payment within 3 days if you have selected direct deposit / within 10 days if you have selected by cheque. Please make sure that you reapply every 4 weeks, if you are still eligible for C.E.R.B. You will only get one payment every 4 weeks and there are total 4 payments that you will receive. Please note that even if you know that you will not be getting any income for the next 4 months or 16 weeks, you will not be able to get all the payments at one time or just applying once. You will have to log in every 4 weeks and make sure you apply. It is important because the process is that those who apply will get the benefits.

Please check the websites that I have provided links for.  If you have further questions post it in the comments and we’ll try to answer those questions.  The application process is straightforward. In other lectures we will talk about eligibility and some of the questions people have raised and I know that from the information the government has now provided there are a lot of questions that are being answered, so I will post separate lectures for that.

Thank you for watching.

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