Response to COVID-19: For Individuals
As the circumstances surrounding the global pandemic continue to emerge, the level of uncertainty for individuals is increasing day by day. We understand how challenging and stressful this time can be as the consequences of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on everyone. As a result of these unsettling times, the government has responded and implemented measures to provide financial support to both individuals and businesses that have been affected by the outbreak. With all this new information, we realize how confusing and overwhelming this process can be for individuals. It includes steps of determining whether you qualify for a program, how much support you could expect to receive, and how to correctly submit your application. To help ease the burden, we wanted to shed light on these programs and provide some resources to further help you determine if the financial aid is applicable for you. This information can also help you understand why the receivable amounts may vary from what was expected, as it can be a result of a one-time payment or increases to certain benefits that are applied automatically. If you require any assistance in determining your eligibility, filing an application or with any other information – please feel free to contact us. Our professionals can provide you with the expertise to help navigate you through this process. Please explore our resources to stay informed during this challenging time.
Benefits for Individuals and Families
A One Time Increase to the Canada Child Benefit:
Families can expect to receive up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). This amount is scheduled to be paid out in May with the regular benefit. You do not need to re-apply for this if you are already receiving the Canada Child Benefit.
For more information and how to apply for this benefit, please click here. A One Time Increase to the GST/HST Credit:
As of April 9th, low to modest income individuals can expect to receive a one-time increase in their GST/HST credit - which can be up to $400 for a single individual and up to $600 per couple. If you are eligible for this one-time payment, you will automatically receive it and will not have to apply for it.
NOTE: This credit is determined based on the previous years filed return (2018). Even though personal tax deadlines have been extended to June 1st (with the payment date extended until September 1st), it would be beneficial for individuals to file as soon as possible in order to receive an accurate credit based on their 2019 filed return, not 2018. This would be ideal to avoid having to repay amounts subsequently that you may not be entitled to based on your filed 2019 tax return. For more information on the GST/HST Credit Overview, please click here.
The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
The CERB is a program put in place by the federal government in order to provide relief to those individuals who have lost their income due to COVID-19. It provides temporary income support of $500 a week for a maximum of 16 weeks. To see if you qualify for this benefit, please click here.
NOTE: There is a difference in eligibility depending on when you submit your first claim and subsequent claims. You cannot have earned more than $1,000 for a period of 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period of your claim or $1,000 in total for each subsequent claim period to be eligible for payment under this benefit.
An Example: When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim. Conversely, when submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.
Your personal situation may change during this period but you can still qualify for CERB and apply for subsequent periods in the event you lose your job or experience a reduction in work.
The predetermined eligibility periods can be found here for your reference.
Please keep in mind that these payments are taxable benefits which will be subjected to income tax based on your overall 2020 taxable income.
Benefits for Seniors
Seniors who receive Old Age Security (OAS) benefits can expect to receive an additional one-time payment of $300 and a further $200 to those that qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). These payments are on a tax-free basis. The GIS and allowance payments are being temporarily extended if a senior's 2019 income tax return has not been filed and assessed to prevent interruption in their benefit payments. You are encouraged to file your taxes as soon as possible to ensure continued and appropriate benefit payments. They should be filed no later than October 1, 2020.
Benefits for Students
The federal government created the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) to provide support to post-secondary students or recent high school graduates who are unable to find work due to the current pandemic. Under the CESB, students can receive between $1,250 or $2,000 for each 4-week period they qualify for depending on their situation. An additional $750 is available for individuals who qualify under this program and have dependents or a disability. The CESB can only be claimed for a maximum of 16 weeks in total.
For more information on how to apply, please click here.
Disclaimer: The above summaries and information are key highlights into some of the support programs available. The information provided above can change based on your specific situation and a professional should be consulted when making complex determinations. These programs continue to evolve during this uncertain time so please contact us so we can have a professional reach out to you.
We hope this material assisted you in understanding the new measures implemented by the government to help those affected by the outbreak. If you require any help in navigating through the measures above, please feel free to contact us. We are always here to help!