If you stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working and are without employment or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19. The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit is paid in blocks of four weeks in the amount of $2,000, which is equivalent to $500 per week. The maximum benefit is 16 weeks.
The benefit is available from March 15 2020 to October 3, 2020. You can apply until December 2, 2020.
The CERB will provide $500 a week (for up to 16 weeks) to anyone who lost their job because of COVID-19 and:
- 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 an 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. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.
The CERB is available for 16 weeks and includes contract workers, wage earners, and self-employed individuals who do not pay into EI. The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.
You can apply to the CERB if the following circumstances apply to you:
- You lost your job because of COVID-19 whether full-time, contract or self-employed
- You are sick, quarantined, or looking after someone who is sick
- You have exhausted EI benefits, or are coming close to doing so, and cannot return to work due to COVID-19
- You are still employed, but not receiving income due to this crisis
- You are a working parent who must stay at home without pay to care for children at home due to school or daycare closures
- You are a wage earner, contract worker or self-employed individual who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for EI
What if I have already applied for EI due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
If you have already applied for EI on or after March 15th, you will automatically receive the CERB. Your full EI benefit remains unaffected by the CERB. Your application will be processed as soon as possible. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed do not need to reapply.
What if I’m already receiving EI?
Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits will continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. However, if your EI benefit ends before October 3, 2020, you can apply for the CERB once your EI benefits cease if you are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.
When will applications open?
The online application process will open on April 6. Canadians will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB will be paid every four weeks and will be available from March 15 2020 until October 3, 2020.
Determine the best day of the week to apply
Whether you apply online or by phone, the government has set up specific days for you to apply. Please use the following guidelines:
Days to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- If you were born in the month of January, February or March, you can apply for CERB on Mondays.
- If you were born in the month of April, May or June, you can apply for the CERB on Tuesdays.
- If you were born in the month of July, August or September, you can apply for CERB on Wednesdays.
- If you were born in the month of October, November or December, you can apply for CERB on Thursdays.
- Any month: You can apply on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html