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How to apply for Canada’s emergency financial benefits

by | Apr 8, 2020 | SELF-PUBLISHED

Federal government’s CERB program up and running

Effective April 6, the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides eligible employed and self-employed Canadians whose employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic a defined amount of financial support. The benefit provides $500 a week for a four-week period ($2,000) for up to 16 weeks.

Who can apply
  • You may be eligible to receive the benefits if you meet the following requirements:
  • You live in Canada.
  • You are 15 years or older.
  • You have not quit your job voluntarily.
  • You did not apply for or receive CERB or EI benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period.
  • You earned a minimum of $5,000 income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of employment income, self-employment income, or provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
If you are applying for CERB for the first time:
  • You have stopped or will stop working due to reasons related to COVID-19.
  • For at least 14 consecutive days for the period you are applying for, you will not receive employment income, self-employment income, provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
For your subsequent CERB applications:
  • You do not continue to work due to reasons related to COVID-19.
  • For the four-week period you are applying for, you will not receive employment income, self-employment income, provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
Eligibility periods

Eligibility is fixed in four-week periods. If your unemployment situation continues, you can re-apply for CERB for multiple four-week periods to a maximum of 16 weeks (four periods).

How to apply

Before you begin, you’ll need to verify your identity. So have your social insurance number (SIN) and postal code handy. If you are calling the CRA on behalf of someone else, you must be an authorized representative.

You can apply online with CRA My Account. If you don’t have an online CRA account, you can use the CERB website questionnaire to help navigate you through the application process. This is typically the easiest way, as there can be waiting periods for phone access.

You can also apply by phone through an automated phone service set up by the government. Call toll-free 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

When to apply

Whether you apply online or by phone, we want to provide the best service possible to everyone. To help manage the surge in applications, the government has set up specific days for you to apply. Use the guidelines shown as follows:

Days to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

If you were born in the month of …. Apply for CERB on …

January, February or March …………. Mondays

April, May or June ………………………… Tuesdays

July, August or September ………….. Wednesdays

October, November or December … Thursdays

Any month ………………………………………. Fridays, Sat. & Sun.


If you are eligible for the CERB, you can expect $500 per week for a four-week period, paid by direct deposit within three business days, or by cheque in about 10 business days if your direct deposit information is not on file.

Contact us

As always, you may call or email us at any time with questions about your financial plan or investment accounts. You can also stay connected with us through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

© 2022 by Robyn K. Thompson. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. This article is for information only and is not intended as personal investment or financial advice.

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