Federal Benefits Programs: Are You Eligible?

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government has created several financial benefits programs. Is your business closed? Have you lost revenue due to the pandemic? You may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Are you sick due to COVID-19 and you cannot work? The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) can help you. Is your kid’s school closed and you can’t work because you must take care of them? The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) can be the solution.

You can also read our article on how to apply for these benefits.

Common admissibility conditions

Each of the three new programs have their own admissibility requirements. However, all three all have the following requirements in common. You must:

  • Have earned $5,000 in the past year from any of the following sources of income:
    • employment
    • self-employment (attention: net income, not gross)
    • paternity, maternity, or adoptive leave programs.
  • Have a valid social insurance number.
  • Be at least 15 years old.
  • Reside and live in Canada.

Common restrictions

Each program also has its own restrictions. However, they all have some restrictions in common. You cannot apply for the new programs if you:

  • Were eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.
  • Received payments from parental leave, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
  • Received benefits from another federal program related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, if you received the Canada Recovery Benefit for a period, you cannot receive the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or another federal benefit.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

This program is for workers who have lost income due to COVID-19. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) pays $500 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks.

Admissibility

You can apply for the CRB if you meet the conditions listed above and if you:

  • You are not working due to COVID-19 or have had your income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19.
  • Agree to look for work while you are receiving the CRB.

Restrictions

On top of the restrictions listed above, you cannot apply for the CRB if you left your job voluntarily.

In addition, you cannot:

  • Unduly restrict your ability to work while you are receiving the CRB.
  • Refuse to return to work without a valid reason.
  • Refuse a reasonable work opportunity while you are receiving the CRB.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

This program is for workers who must temporarily miss work due to COVID-19. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) pays $500 per week for a maximum of two weeks.

Admissibility

You can apply for the CRSB if you meet the conditions listed above and if you:

  • Cannot work at least 50% of your regularly scheduled hours because you:
    • Are infected with COVID-19.
    • Must self-isolate due to being at risk from COVID-19 on the advice of your employer, a government agency, or a medical professional.
    • Must self-isolate due to COVID-19 on the advice of your employer, a government agency, or a medical professional.

Restrictions

On top of the restrictions listed above, you cannot apply for the CRSB if you:

  • Must self-isolate and cannot work due to returning from an international trip judged to be non-essential.
  • Received payments from a sick leave plan.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

This program is for people who are temporarily unable to work because they must take care of a child under 12 years old or another family member due to COVID-19. The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) pays $500 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks.

The 26-week maximum applies to everyone living at the same address. This means that if one parent receives the CRCB for 20 weeks, the other parent can only receive it for six weeks. In addition, only one person per address can receiving the CRCB at a time.

Admissibility

You can apply for the CRCB if you meet the conditions listed above and you cannot work at least 50% of your regularly scheduled hours because you:

  • Must take care of a child under 12 years old or a family member because:
    • The school or institution attended by the child or family member is closed due to COVID-19
    • The child or family member is infected or may be infected by COVID-19
    • The child of family member is in self-isolation on the advice of a government agency or a medical professional
    • The child or family member cannot attend school or their regular care facility due on the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk from COVID-19
    • The caregiving or institution which normally cares for the child or the family member cannot do so due to COVID-19.

Restrictions

On top of the common restrictions listed above, you cannot apply for the CRCB if you:

  • Received payments from a paid leave from your employer for the same week.

More for legal information about COVID-19, please see our special guide.