“What are the COVID-19 pandemic benefits that are currently still available to me?”

We are well into the 3rd (and hopefully) final wave of the pandemic. Over the past 14 months, millions of Canadians have been struggling and navigating through their “new normal”. Whether you have been transitioning into working from home, having reduced hours with your career, unfortunately lost your job or business all together or even having to take a leave to assist with online learning for your children – many of us have incurred drastic life adjustments as a result of the big C word… COVID-19!

While individuals continue to get reduced pay, or no work all together, one question the ladies at SheDo Tax consistently receive is, “What are the COVID-19 pandemic benefits that are currently still available to me?”

Since March 2020, there have been different versions of pandemic benefits. Below, I want to give you an update on what is CURRENTLY available and open for applications today.

In October 2020, the federal government replaced CERB with CRB.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) provides income support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who are ineligible for EI benefits.

Canadians who are eligible will receive $1000 for a two-week period – with 10% tax withheld at source ($100 per two-week period) – resulting in a $900 deposit. Each application is for a two-week period.

To become eligible for CRB, Canadians must have stopped working and are ineligible to receive EI OR have had reduced employment income by at least 50 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These conditions must be met for the ENTIRE two-week period for which Canadians are applying to receive the CRB benefit payment.

In addition, he or she did not quit their job or have not reduced their hours voluntarily on or after September 27, 2020 and did not turn down reasonable work during the two week period for which the applicant is applying.

The next benefit currently available is the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The CRCB provides income support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are unable to work because they are caregivers to their children who are under the age of 12 years old or a family member who requires supervised care.

CRCB is a week-to-week application. Canadians who are eligible for CRCB will receive $500 for a one-week period. Similarly, to CRB 10% of tax with withheld at source, resulting in a $450 weekly deposit.

To become eligible for the CRCB, Canadians must be employed or self-employed on the day BEFORE their first application period. They must be unable to work for at least 50% of their scheduled work week because he or she is caring for a family member under the age of 12 years old or a family member who requires supervised care due to one of the following reasons (1) daycare, day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19; (2) regular care services are unavailable due to COVID-19; and, (3) the dependent person is (a) sick with COVID-19; (b) considered to be a high risk of being infected with COVID-19; or, (c) self-isolating due to COVID-19.

In addition, he or she must be the ONLY individual, in the applicant’s household, applying to receive the CRCB for that week and must not be receiving paid leave from an employer for the same period.

What differs between CRB and CRCB is the first eligibility requirement; CRB you must have had your employment income reduced up to 50% due to COVID-19. This could be your workplace has shut down, you have had your hours cut, you must quarantine for work related instances. Whereas the CRCB is your inability to attend your scheduled employment hours, have your employment income cut by 50% due to one of the eligibilities listed above relating to caregiving.

Lastly, the Canadian government created the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) for people who do not have paid sick leave and get COVID-19 or must isolate or miss work because of COVID-19.

After contracting Covid-19 or being required to isolate, you must wait to apply until after you have missed work for one week. Your application must be received within 60 days of missing work.

To become eligible for CRSB, Canadians must have a job or are self-employed on the day before they would get a CRSB payment. They must also have lost at least 50% of their time at work for the weeks that they are applying for because:

• He/she have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19,
• a medical professional has told them that you are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than the average person, or
• their employer, medical professional, or public health authority told you to isolate because of COVID-19.

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to note that for all COVID Related Benefit Programs you also:
• Must be presently in Canada.
• Must be at least 15 years old.
• Must have a social insurance number.
• Did not apply for or will receive any of the following benefits during the period which the applicant is receiving:
o Any other Covid-19 benefit related income
o Short-term disability benefit
o Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
o Québec Paternal insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
• earned at least $5000 in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months prior to submitting the CRB application from employment income, self-employment income or parental benefits.

Aside from this article on pandemic benefits for individuals as shown above (CRB vs. CRCB vs. CRSB), there are other pandemic programs still active to support businesses. In addition, there may be also the eligibility of retroactively applying for some of these pandemic benefits.

Whether you are seeking information on pandemic benefits as an individual or a business, the SheDo Tax ladies are always here to help and answer your questions.

Here’s hoping this is the last HURRAH of the pandemic and the new normal returns back to the old normal soon.
We hope everyone is staying happy and healthy!
Cheers to All! – Rachel Whitlock and The SheDo Squad