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The Federal Government has announced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has ended, with the last period covering up to September 27, 2020. But what does this mean for the 4.5 million Canadians currently on CERB? See below the proposed new benefits and qualifications for Employment Insurance (EI):

Employment Insurance (EI)

For those who qualify for EI and have been receiving CERB from Service Canada, they will be automatically transitioned into EI benefits once CERB ends.

For those who qualify for EI and have been receiving CERB from CRA, they will need to apply through Service Canada.

There are two kinds of EI you can apply for:

  1. EI Regular Benefits
    1. For workers who lost their jobs involuntarily and are actively looking for work
    2. Eligible workers will receive a minimum of $400 for up to 26 weeks or $240 for extended parental benefits
    3. DEC. 4, 2020 UPDATE: Canadians receiving EI are now eligible for a benefit rate of at least $500 per week, or $300 per week for extended parental benefits and those who are claiming EI for job loss are now eligible for at least 26 weeks of benefits
  2. EI Special Benefits
    1. For workers and self-employed individuals who are absent from work due to specific life circumstances including sickness, maternity, parental benefits and compassionate care or family caregivers

In both cases, to qualify workers must report at least 120 hours of work in the past 52 weeks or since their last claim (instead of the usual 420-700 hours for regular benefits and 600 hours for special benefits depending on the region). For workers who have not established their EI claim from March 15-September 26 due to not having enough worked, the government has proposed a one-time credit system. Through this, workers could receive a credit of 300 hours for regular benefits or 480 hours for special benefits.

Individuals will need to apply every to weeks to ensure they continue to meet requirements.

As well, self-employed individuals can still work and apply for the EI Special Benefits but would need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar earned over $38,000.

Three New Benefits

The federal government has approved and launched three new benefits to assist those who are not eligible for EI and still need temporary income support.

The three new benefits are as follows:

  1. The Canada Recovery Benefit
    1. For workers who do not qualify for EI, are self-employed and cannot resume or return to work
    2. Must have stopped working or had their income reduced by 50% due to COVID-19
    3. Will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks
  2. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
    1. For works who are ill or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 reasons
    2. Unable to work 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
    3. have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19
    4. Will provide $500 per week for up to 2 weeks
  3. The Canada Recovery Care-giving Benefit
    1. For those who are unable to work at least 50% of the week because they care for a child under 12 or another dependent whose school, daycare or other day program facility is shut down due to COVID-19
    2. Will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household

Applications are now open through the CRA website for the three new benefits. Senior government officials confirmed that applicants may need to wait slightly longer to receive the benefits due to up-front verification measures. If an application is flagged for additional review, it maybe required to submit documentation to back-up their case (an processing times as long as four weeks). It is encouraged to complete your 2019 tax return to reduce the chances of your application being flagged. If your application has been approved, payment is estimated to take 3-5 business days for direct deposit, and 10-12 business days for cheque by mail.

For EI applications, see above for more information on whether to apply to the Service Canada or CRA website.

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