Pattie Lovett-Reid: Think carefully before inadvertently doubling up on CERB


When the pandemic broke out, the Canadian economy stopped and we had to close our doors. Recent employment data crystallize the gravity of this situation, with about three million unemployed according to recent Statistics Canada employment reports for the months of March and April, unemployment likely reaching a higher level in May as well. . For those affected, the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB), which pays $ 2,000 a month, has been a lifeline.

As the days have turned into weeks, it can be hard to believe that we are now entering the third phase of the CERB reference period, which runs from May 10 to June 6, 2020. The government has paid up to present nearly $ 30 billion in benefits Ideally, these payments should start to decrease as the lockdowns loosen and businesses reopen.

The change in the economic landscape with the reopening of businesses being helped, in part by the support for employers from Canada’s emergency 75% wage subsidy. And the good news, you may soon find yourself a job.

What does this mean for you?

Now is the time to seriously think about when you may be able to re-enter the workforce. This brings us to the following question: will you still be eligible for the CERB benefit? This is an important question because there is no double dip allowed. You should not be receiving benefits and salary. Right now, the checks and balances implemented by the CRA are light and the application process is very easy. Perhaps too easy because some have received benefits to which they may not be entitled.

Even if errors can occur, it is better to be cautious and reveal yourself to the CRA if you receive a payment to which you are not entitled.

Some considerations?

  1. Do not apply if you plan to work in the coming weeks.

  2. Note that you will have to reimburse the CERB if you do not meet the eligibility conditions for the four-week period. This could be the case if you earned more than $ 1000 in employment income or if you applied for CERB but later realized that you were not eligible, or if you received a CERB payment Service Canada and the CRA for the same period.

  3. If you receive a payment to which you are not entitled – resend it. Simply mail it back to the Sudbury Tax Center for CERB’s Revenue Processing Refund with your Social Insurance Number. By the way, the Social Insurance Number is the key – it’s the common denominator that will identify you and notify you if you receive a payment to which you were not entitled.

  4. If you received a direct deposit or cashed your check and found that you had received a payment, you should not or are just wondering not to refund the amount. As of May 11, a new feature will be available on the CRA’s My Account website to reimburse it.

As far as you can – set aside a little when you receive your payment. CERB is a taxable benefit and no taxes are withheld at source like your employment income. You will receive a T4A slip for the amount of CERB payments to be included as income for 2020. If you refund a payment to which you were not entitled, this amount will not be included.

As the pandemic eases and businesses reopen and the number of claimants decreases, you can be sure that checks will be done and, if necessary, the CRA will call you.


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