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As of October 5, 2020, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is now available to employed and self-employed individuals who can’t work because they’re sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19. Those who are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 due to health reasons would also qualify for the CSRB.

The CSRB pays $500 per week and is available up to a maximum of two weeks. You need to apply each week and the money you received is taxed at the source which means you would get $450 per week deposited into your account. 

CRSB eligibility

  • Unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week due to COVID-19
  • Resident of Canada
  • Must be at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Employed or self-employed at the time of the application
  • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
  • You did not apply for or receive other benefits such as CRB, CRCB, short-term disability, workers’ compensation, EI, QPIP
  • Not receiving paid leave from your employer at the same time

The CRSB is administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and will take steps to verify your eligibility. You shouldn’t make fraudulent claims since you could face penalties such as fines or jail time.

How much does CRSB pay?

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) pays $500 per 1-week period, but since taxes are withheld, you walk away with $450 per week.

Since you can apply for the CRSB for up to two consecutive weeks, you can get a maximum of $900. Even if you work part-time during one of those weeks, you’d still get the full CRSB amount as long as you’ve missed at least 50% of your work week. Note that the CRSB does not renew automatically, you need to apply for both weeks.

There’s a maximum limit of 2 weeks where you would qualify for CRSB payments and they must fall between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. These two weeks do not need to be taken consecutively. You can not get the CRSB again if you’ve received 2 pay periods, even if you get sick or need to self-isolate again.

Even though $50 (10%) of the $500 is withheld for taxes, you may still need to pay additional taxes depending on how much income you’ve earned for the year. The CRA will provide you with a T4A tax slip for the appropriate year if you’ve received the CRSB.

How to apply for CRSB?

The quickest and easiest way to apply for the CRSB is through your CRA My Account. Alternatively, you could apply via phone, but the process will likely take longer. Make sure you have your direct deposit information set up so you can get access to the funds right away.

The application starts the first Monday after the 1-week period where you couldn’t work due to COVID-19. Let’s say you worked less than 50% of your regular work hours during the week of September 27 to October 3, 2020, you would have applied for the CRSB on Monday, October 5, 2020.

Note that the CRA may need to validate some of your information to ensure that you’re eligible for the CRSB. Once validated, payments are made within 3 to 5 business days via direct deposit, but it could still take up to 4 weeks to process. If you prefer a cheque, it’ll take 10-12 business days.

How to apply for the second week of CRSB?

Applying for your second week of CRSB is exactly the same process as the first week. You apply Monday after the 1-week period where you couldn’t work. You obviously can’t apply for the same week twice, so you need to apply for two different periods.

Just like the first week, you can apply online or by phone for your second week.

How to return CRSB?

Even if you don’t qualify for CRSB, it’s still possible to get it if you’ve applied. If you believe you received the CRSB in error during 2020, you should return it before December 31, 2020. Any payments received in 2021 that weren’t eligible should be returned that year.

Be aware that there are quite a few scams out there warning Canadians about fraudulent payments. If you get an email, text message or call from someone claiming to be the CRA, be cautious if they ever ask for your personal information.

You can repay the CRSB via online banking available through your financial institution. Just add the CRA as a payee and use your social insurance number (SIN). Alternatively, you can mail a cheque addressed to “Receiver General for Canada” and mark it as a “Receiver General for Canada.” If you still have the physical cheque, but you haven’t cashed it in, you can simply return it.

Final thoughts

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is a great resource if you get sick or need to isolate due to COIVD-19. If you’re displaying symptoms, don’t risk public health. Take the time off work and apply for the CRSB. To beat this pandemic, everyone needs to do their part.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) | How to apply and how much you\'ll get

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