Published: April 9, 2020 • Last updated: April 10, 2021 at 9:04 am
If You Lost Your Job Because of COVID-19, What Should You Do When CERB Supports End?
Guest Post by Ayesha Taylor
Six Things to Know About the CERB to EI Transition
The CERB is ending October 3rd and will transition to a new form of Employment Insurance (EI). While still subject to Parliamentary approval, here are some key things to be aware of:
1. With CERB, everyone received $2,000 for each 4 week period. With the new EI, the amount received will depend on your earnings over your best 14 weeks of employment, with the minimum weekly payment at $400 (for 26 weeks) and the max at $573. So some people will receive more and some less than CERB.
2. EI is administered by Service Canada. If you were receiving CERB via Service Canada then you will be automatically transition over. If you were receiving CERB through Canada Revenue Agency, you need to apply through Service Canada.
3. It’ll be easier than before to qualify for EI, after working as few as 120 insurable hours.
4. You can earn income from employment or self employment while receiving benefits.
5. If you cannot resume work and are self-employed and therefore not eligible for EI, the Canada Recovery Benefit provides $400 a week for 26 weeks. Additional programs are available if you are sick and need to self isolate, or if you need to care for a child, dependent or family member due to COVID.
6. One of the biggest differences between CERB and EI is the requirement to self-report on employment status every two weeks for EI benefits. And EI payments are taxed at source while CERB payments were not.
CERB Payments Are About To End
Since the Canada Emergency Response benefit was first introduced back in March 2020, more than 8.5 million Canadians have applied for CERB. But the program is set to end as of October 3rd, 2020 and a study has found this will leave more than a million people in a dire financial situation.
The $2,000 per month payment has been instrumental in keeping Canadians housed and fed, but it has also come under considerable fire for potentially discouraging the return to work among low-wage earners who saw their overall pay increase under the program.
That impending $2,000 hole where CERB used to be, has many unemployed Canadians wondering if they’ll have enough in their bank accounts to get through the next month.
“As the CERB begins to wind down, the Government plans to introduce a suite of three new recovery benefits to provide needed support to Canadians who continue to face financial hardship even as the economy starts to re-open. The three new benefits are” – Supporting Canadians Through the Next Phase of the Economy Re-opening: Increased Access to EI and Recovery Benefits”
2. What Are The Financial Subsidies Available for Canadians When CERB ends?
The Liberal government has announced $37-billion in new income support, extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for another month and easing eligibility rules for Employment Insurance.
After CERB winds down, workers who remain unemployed will have the option of applying to a revised EI program or one of three new income-support programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Canada Recovery Benefit is for workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and cannot resume work.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is for workers who are ill or who must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit is for workers who are unable to work because they are caring for a child, dependent or family member because schools or daycares are closed due to COVID-19.
The temporary changes to EI dramatically lower the number of hours required to qualify for EI benefits from the normal 400-720 hours of work to 120.
How many hours will I be credited?
- 300 insurable hours for EI regular benefits
- 480 insurable hours for EI special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family)
As of September 27, if you are eligible for EI benefits, you will receive a minimum benefit rate of $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits.
If you are not eligible for EI benefits, you may be eligible for:
- Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
We Answer Canadians’ Questions and Concerns About Government Relief Programs
Guest Post by Ayesha Taylor
Note to Our Readers
Since publishing this article, tens of thousands of Canadians have read it, and many have reached out through email, phone and social media channels to ask questions about their Employment Insurance claims/CERB applications. It’s overwhelming, but deeply gratifying to know you are finding this helpful.
Importantly, your feedback and questions have given us lots of new information to share, and we will continue posting updates here. So, we send a special thanks to our readers who are helping to make this an even better resource. If you have questions that still need answering please send a note to [email protected]
It is important to mention that we are not in the business of advising people regarding EI and CERB claims. We are a small, but long-established financial services company, whose family members and clients were reaching out to us for guidance. Since so many needed help, we decided to share our learning more broadly to the general public. Of course, the last word on these matters is with the Government of Canada, not with the team at ASKROSS.
We sincerely believe it is important we come together as a country to help one another, and we will make our best effort to continue providing reliable, relevant, and helpful information in any way we can. If you find this helpful and want to help spread the word, please consider sharing this article directly, or following our Instagram at @askross.
Wednesday June 24, 2020 Updates
Last week, the federal government decided to extend the CERB program from its initial maximum 16 week coverage period to 24 weeks. COVID-19 Global pandemic continues leaving most Canadians still unable to work this summer; the government is assuring eight more weeks of coverage through the Emergency Response Benefit.
Here are some questions we have already received this week with their answers.
Do I need to reapply for CERB to continue receiving it?
Yes, if you only applied for CERB through CRA’s website, then you must continue to apply for the benefit for each 4-week period that your situation continues.
If I was receiving CERB through my EI claim, do I need to reapply?
No, you do not need to reapply for CERB if you were receiving the benefit through your initial Employment Insurance claim/Service Canada.
However, you MUST continue to file your online or over the bi-weekly phone reports. Failure to do so will result in a hold on your claim.
I was initially receiving $2000 from Service Canada, and now I am only receiving $500 – why is that?
Anyone receiving CERB through an EI claim will now see a weekly $500 ($500 x4 weeks) = $2000) until your 24-week CERB coverage is met. After that period, your initial approved weekly benefit amount through your EI claim will resume (more or less than $576/week).
Can I still collect CERB if I begin working?
Yes, you are still eligible for the benefit if you start to work again, but only if you are making a maximum monthly income of $1000.
Has CEWS been extended as well, and how does it work?
Yes, the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy for employers has been extended to August 29, 2020.
Link for more info on CEWS: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html
Has CESB been extended as well, and how does it work?
Yes, the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit has been extended to August 29, 2020.
Who is eligible for CESB?
Post Secondary Students – can apply for these periods:
- May 10 to June 6, 2020
- June 7 to July 4, 2020
- July 5 to August 1, 2020
- August 2 to August 29, 2020
Graduating from High School in 2020
What is the coverage amount?
$1250 for each 4-week period.
$2000 for each period if you have dependents or a disability.
Tuesday May 19, 2020 Update
Starting Friday May 15, the government began to accept applications for the student benefit of $1,250 per month to replace lost summer employment income. From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment of:
* $1,250 for each 4-week period, or
* $2,000 for each 4-week period if you have dependants or a disability
Who can apply for the CESB Benefit?
If you are able to work, you must be actively looking for work to be eligible to receive the CESB. If you still cannot find work due to COVID-19, you can re-apply for each CESB eligibility period that you are eligible for.
If your circumstances change and you need to return or repay your CESB benefit click here.
You cannot apply for the CESB if you already applied for the CERB or EI
If you have already applied, or are receiving support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI) you are not eligible to apply for the CESB.
Full details on CESB here at the CRA website.
Saturday May 16, 2020 Update
Should I Return My CERB Benefit To CRA If I Am No Longer Eligible?
It is perhaps too easy to apply online at CRA’s website for CERB benefits and be approved on the spot. The government has chosen to make it easy rather than painful, and we should all be grateful for this.
But a byproduct of this approach is some people are being paid CERB benefits in error – perhaps because the taxpayer did not fully understand who qualifies, or maybe their circumstances have changed.
If this is you, it’s best to be proactive about making the situation right. Because if you don’t, the problem is only going to get larger, and by next year you could be looking at a significant tax problem AND you may be ordered to repay the money which you no longer have.
Click here on the CRA website to learn more about returning a CERB overpayment.
Friday May 15, 2020 Updates
Why Am I Only Receiving $1,000 in CERB Benefit?
An accountant friend tells us it depends where you first registered for benefits. If you registered through CRA, you will receive $2,000 every four weeks. But if you registered through Service Canada, you will receive $1,000 bi weekly – same net result. Whew !
Wednesday May 13, 2020 Update
One Third Of The Canadian Labor Force is Claiming CERB Benefits!
Bloomberg updated us earlier this week on all things CERB. You can read the article here.
“About 7.6 million Canadians — or more than one-third of the pre-crisis labor force — have applied for benefits under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which pays recipients $2,000 per month.
The government allows people to earn as much as $1,000 a month while still drawing the benefit, which may have kept more people employed than anticipated, the person said.
Job-posting data also suggest the labour market carnage may have plateaued. While postings are down significantly on a year-over-year basis, they started to level off toward the end of April, figures from Indeed Canada show. Another strong signal is that the number of people seeking income benefits seems to have peaked.”
Monday May 11, 2020 Updates
Which Access Code Do We Need To Report For CERB?
You need an access code to file your online bi-weekly reports through your MSCA account you, here is the login link – Login to my MSCA account: My Service Canada Account (MSCA) – Canada.ca
Note: You do not need to report your CERB payment from EI as income. Also, make sure to keep on top of your bi-weekly report as failure to do so will result in a temporary hold on your claim/missed payments to you!
I Can Never Get Through To Service Canada By Phone
There is a link for Service Canada’s online contact request form – we all know it’s nearly impossible to get through over the phone, so MSCA finally added an online form. You can explain your situation in better detail and a Service Representative will reach back out to you and advise on your next steps. They are actually quite good/quick with responding to these forms. Likely, they will either a) fix your previous report, or b) advise you to report the income on your next one.
Here is the link – Service Canada online contact request form: Service Request · Customer Self-Service
If you have questions that still need answering please send a note to [email protected]
Sunday May 10, 2020 Update
Is There a Child Care Subsidy?
While schools and child care centres are closed, parents/guardians/caregivers can apply for direct funding to offset the cost of buying materials to support their children’s learning, while they practice self-isolation and physical distancing.
Eligible individuals will receive a one-time per child payment of:
- $200 for children aged 0 to 12
- $250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs
If you have more than one child, you must submit one application per child. Before you apply, please note:
- Only one parent/guardian/caregiver can apply for each child
- The individual who applies should have custody of the child
If you have questions that still need answering please send a note to [email protected]
Tuesday May 05, 2020 Updates
What If You Are Rehired Or Find a New Job?
We touched on this topic yesterday. More online content is coming available on repaying CERB benefits if paid in error – whether deliberately or innocently. A benign example is where a worker is rehired or finds a new job, and may have to cancel and repay their CERB payments. MacLeans magazine tells us how here.
Monday May 04, 2020 Updates
What Will Happen If I Incorrectly Receive CERB Payments?
It can happen for many reasons. It could be accidental, or it could be you needed the money and you are hoping you don’t get found out. Think wisely on this though.
Check this CBC article on the topic of CERB overpayments. CRA acknowledges this could well happen and now have a place on their website you can proactively get in front of this issue NOW and not wait for the dreaded audit next year and a perpetual black mark beside your name.
If you have questions that still need answering please send a note to [email protected]
Tuesday April 25, 2020 Updates
How do I know if I applied for EI or CERB?
If you received an access code in the mail – you applied for EI, not CERB – however, if you applied for Employment Insurance after March 15th, you were automatically switched over to the CERB benefit.
To apply for EI click this link.My Service Canada Account (MSCA) – Canada.ca (NOTE: EI is linked to your Service Canada account.)
If you do not meet the regular Employment Insurance Benefits criteria, use this link to apply for the CERB program which is linked to your CRA account.
Should I apply for EI or CERB?
Doug Baxter, from Investors Group, is a long time friend to the folks at AskRoss. He provided this helpful PDF – https://www.investorsgroup.com/content/dam/investorsgroup/pdf/IG-COVID-CERB-Flowchart-EN.pdf
You must continue to file your online reports through your MSCA account.
Make sure to continue filing your bi-weekly online reports through your original EI claim, if you fail to do so, EI will put a hold on your claim and you will not receive payments.
My employer is receiving government assistance and is going to pay me $847 per week – do I still qualify for EI or CERB?
If you already have an open EI claim, you can continue to file your bi-weekly online reports. Be sure to note the hours you are working and the income you are receiving from your employer. Your claim will remain open however your entitled benefits will be deducted from your entitled amount based on your earnings. Make sure to be completely honest about your income as failure to report your earnings is considered fraud.
Note: If you are receiving $847 per week you will already be getting more than the maximum amount for BOTH Employment Insurance and CERB.
Friday, April 24, 2020 Updates
Questions about EI Online Reports
I have not received my access code in the mail – but I received my first CERB installment – how do I fill out my online reports?
Several readers reached out to us to let us know that they still haven’t received their access codes in the mail and because they could not file their reports online Service Canada put a hold on their claim/they will not receive benefits until they are able to report.
If you still have not received your access code from Service Canada, use this online contact request form to get in touch with a representative. You can explain your situation in better detail, and request that they send you your access code.
Service Canada online contact request form: Service Request · Customer Self-Service
Does the CERB benefit I receive count as income when filing my online reports through my MSCA account?
No, the CERB benefit or any EI benefits you have received does not count as income when filing your reports online. However, you will have to report all benefits you receive come tax season next year. CERB benefits are fully taxable. As hard as it may be, it is a very good idea to set aside 25% of each CERB payment to apply towards your 2020 tax return.
When filing my online reports – it asks if I am fully able/willing to return to work, but I cannot for various reasons, how do I answer this question on my report?
Some of you are unable to work at this time because they either:
- You cannot work because you have to take care of a dependent.
- You cannot work due to medical reasons/conditions/disabilities.
- OR lastly, you are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms.
Unfortunately, Service Canada still has yet to update its online reporting form to adhere to COVID-19 conditions, so you still must answer yes – to whether or not you are able to work, even though you are not.
If you answer no to the question above on your online reports – your claim will automatically be put on hold and you will have to contact Service Canada directly to lift the hold/explain your situation.
If you are currently in this situation use this form to contact Service Canada online contact request form: Service Request · Customer Self-Service.
If you are desperate for financial assistance and still have not heard back from Service Canada regarding your EI claim – you can apply for the CERB benefit. You will receive the benefit in a much shorter time frame and when Service Canada reaches out to you, just let them know that you had to apply for both programs.
Friday, April 17, 2020 Updates
7 Things You Need to Know About the COVID-19 EI and CERB Program
(Click on the list item to jump directly to a section of interest.)
- What should I do if my claim is still under review and I haven’t heard anything?
- If I applied for both EI and CERB, will I get in trouble?
- I applied for Employment Insurance after March 15th, and I’m now receiving the CERB benefit. Do I still need to file online reports?
- Do I need to reapply for each period if I only applied for CERB?
- I applied to CERB, but I still have not received my benefit payment. What should I do?
- Do EI or CERB payments need to be reported as income through my Employment Insurance Claim?
- Important: CERB Program Update Now Includes Reduced Wage Workers, Students, Volunteers Workers.
1. I applied for EI, but my claim is still under review, I have not heard back from EI, and I cannot get through over the phone – what should I do?
As Service Canada has been very difficult to reach over their phone lines, they have recently added an “online contact request form” where you can explain your situation better, and they will contact you as soon as they can. You can access the form here: Service Request · Customer Self-Service
April 16th, 2020 – We sent our readers who had not heard anything back from EI this form, along with all the other information we have gathered to help Canadians during this time. Today one of them updated us to let us know that a Service Canada representative contacted them and suggested the following.
“We will be in touch with you by next Friday, but we suggest that if you need money assistance now, you file for the CERB program and then notify Service Canada when they call you.”
This response from Service Canada is a clear indication that with the flood of applications coming into EI and CERB, the system has been overwhelmed. This has resulted in many Canadians Employment Insurance claims unintentionally neglected, left under review, put on hold, or even marked as “approved” in late March/early April but nevertheless, they still had not received a single benefit payment. We are glad that Service Canada and CRA are recognizing these errors and now advising the above.
2. I applied for both EI and CERB. Will I get in trouble?
If you applied for both EI and CERB and CRA has made it clear that if/when your EI benefits resume, if you happen to receive benefits from both programs for the same period, it will be considered “double-dipping.” With that said, there are many who had no word on the status of their claim, who could not get through over the phone AND had not received a deposit, and some of these Canadians opted to apply for CERB so they could receive financial assistance faster.
If you applied to both EI and CERB, we recommend that you create a document that notes the following:
- The date you first applied for EI
- Your last reported working day on your ROE
- Date/context for your first online report
- Take note of dates/number of times you have tried to contact Service Canada
- For any CERB applications make sure to save a PDF copy of the confirmation page
- Lastly, keep a PDF copy of your online contact request form with the date you sent it in
You want to be sure you are covering all your bases so come tax time next year you have a well-documented paper trail of this process.
3. I applied for Employment Insurance after March 15th, and I am now receiving the CERB benefit – do I still need to file my online reports?
If you applied for Employment Insurance after March 15th, you should have automatically bumped over to the CERB program for a maximum of 16-week coverage at the $2,000 amount for every four weeks. After that, you would resume your regular entitled EI weekly benefit (which may be more or less than the maximum amount of $576 weekly from EI).
Do I still need to fill out my online reports through EI?
If you have been processed through CERB you still must consistently fill out your online reports using the ACCESS CODE that was mailed to you for your EI claim. You want to make sure you are up to date with all your bi-weekly reports, as failure to do so could result in missed payments to you OR a temporary hold on your claim
Click here to log in to your MSCA account My Service Canada Account (MSCA) – Canada.ca. Using your access code/sign-in partner option. From there, you can access the online reporting system.
If the page will not load properly or you land on an error page, follow these steps:
1. Hit the refresh button at the top of your browser and the shift button on your keyboard at the same time; this will force the page to load correctly. Continue to do so until it works!
2. If this does not work, you can try clearing your browser history or use a different browser than you usually would (if you regularly use Chrome, try Firefox and repeat step one if necessary)
4. Do I need to reapply for each period if I only applied for CERB?
Yes, you must reapply through CRA for the next payment 4-week period to receive another $2,000 installment. You can continue to apply for a maximum of 16-weeks. Click here to apply for CERB: Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) with CRA – Canada.ca
5. I applied to CERB, but I still have not received my benefit payment, what should I do?
If you applied for the first installment of the CERB program last week, but you did not update your direct deposit info through your CRA account, unfortunately, you will have to wait up to 10 business days to receive your cheque in the mail.
If you have not applied for the second installment of CERB yet, make sure to fill out your direct deposit info on your CRA account BEFORE applying for the second installment. Only apply after you have updated your info. You will likely receive the second installment before you receive your cheque from the first period in the mail. Click here to get to your CRA login page: My Account for Individuals – Canada.ca
6. Do I need to report my EI or CERB payments as income on online/ telephone reporting through my Employment Insurance Claim?
No, you do not need to report any benefit payments you have received. You only need to report any work or income earned during each bi-weekly reporting period. Benefit payments do not count towards income – however, come tax season next year, you will have to report any benefits you received for the previous year.
Can I still receive EI if I start to work again?
Yes, you will continue to receive EI benefits while you are working, but your earnings would be deducted from your EI payments depending on how much you earn vs the maximum amount you are entitled to.
7. CERB Program Update Will Now Include Reduced Wage Workers, Students, Volunteers Workers.
Important Update for those who are still working but are experiencing a significant wage reduction to their income! YOU NOW QUALIFY FOR THE CERB BENEFIT!
“Seasonal workers and those who have recently run out of employment insurance will now also be eligible for CERB. People who make less than $1,000 a month due to reduced work hours will also qualify.”
As examples, Mr. Trudeau pointed to volunteer firefighters, contractors who can pick up some shifts, or people working part-time in grocery stores.
He also announced a wage boost for essential workers who make less than $2,500 a month, including those working in long-term care facilities for the elderly.” Part-time, contract and seasonal workers now qualify for COVID-19 emergency benefits
Are there questions you need answered? Want to talk to us, or need help with anything we’ve written about? Feel free to give us a call at 416-989-1000 from 10am-7pm Monday through Friday. We will get back to you as soon as possible!
ASKROSS Advice wishes you a great weekend!
If you would like to keep up to date with COVID-19 financial related news on our social or give us a “thumbs up”, click the links below. We sincerely appreciate your support!
Important Links for Reference
- Login to my MSCA account: My Service Canada Account (MSCA) – Canada.ca
- Service Canada online contact request form: Service Request · Customer Self-Service
- Login to my CRA account: My Account for Individuals – Canada.ca
- Apply for CERB: Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) with CRA – Canada.ca
- Link to this article: COVID-19 EI Benefits and CERB Updates — Q & A from Social Media
- All COVID-19 articles on this site: ASKROSS About COVID-19
Thursday, April 16, 2020 Updates
Emergency Contact Request Form For Service Canada
As Service Canada often seems impossible to reach over their phone lines, they have recently added an “online contact request form” where you can explain your situation better and they will contact you as soon as they can – you can access the form here at CONTACT SERVICE CANADA
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Updates
Emergency Benefits If You Make Less Than $1,000 Per Month
The federal government is announcing new measures for people whose income has dropped as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.Rules to qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) have been relaxed to include anyone whose income fell to $1,000 a month or less. Seasonal workers and people whose Employment Insurance benefits have recently run out also qualify.
Specifically, the CERB will become available to Canadians who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits since Jan. 1, seasonal workers who can’t find work because of COVID-19, and those who earn up to $1,000 a month, the prime minister said.
Mr Trudeau said yesterday that announcements are coming this week to address situations in which businesses and individuals don’t qualify for the previously touted federal support programs.
What Can Be Done When a Claim is Stalled?
We are hearing from many Canadians with concerns their claims are stalled, and that the way to unblock the claim is to speak with Service Canada on the telephone. But the lines are always busy, and the wait times interminable.
We are of course very sympathetic to anyone in dire need. We suggest try to call exactly at 8.30 AM and be prepared to wait on hold for hours if necessary. Do not schedule anything else that day – as chances are, barring a health emergency) nothing will be more important.
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Updates
Yesterday was the first opportunity for people to apply for the second CERB payment. There is some confusion as to whether or not this payment was going to be automatic. We have made a new video that answers this and other related questions.
Do I need to reapply to CERB if I was processed through Employment Insurance?
No, if you did not apply for the CERB program and you received the benefit through your Employment Insurance claim, then there is no need to reapply for the CERB second period.
You will automatically receive your second payment this week if you have not already.
Should I reapply to CERB if I did not apply for EI?
Yes, if you did not apply for Employment Insurance and you ONLY applied for the CERB benefit – make sure to reapply for each period that your situation continues.
Remember that you can only apply for the benefit for a maximum of 16-weeks.
If you are not able to create an online CRA account, you can call 1-800-959-2019
COVID-19 EI Benefits and CERB Updates
COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, and not only from a social and health perspective but from a long-term economic perspective. Many of us are already feeling the pinch, as CBC reported yesterday that over 1 million Canadians lost their jobs in March alone due to the coronavirus pandemic. As April rolls on without a clear end in sight, those numbers continue to get worse.
More than 794,725 people applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on the first day that the government site was open to accepting applications earlier this week on April 6th. In his news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the CERB program benefits would be expanded to include a much broader set of applicants, including part-time workers, to address initial criticisms and ensure that those with dire needs did not fall through the safety net.
Many Canadians are confused, financially stressed and looking for answers, unsure of which program they should apply to, and many have not yet received any updates on the status of their EI claim since early March 2020.
We decided to reach out on our social media to learn what Canadians were most concerned about, and to gather questions that we could either answer directly or do the research needed to better inform our community. Their questions and answers are the main subjects of this post.
What We Asked of Social Media Followers
We first asked our audience if they could provide us with the following details so we could provide insight to anyone else who is also in the same situation:
- Which program(s) did you apply to?
- What is the date you applied?
- When was your last reported working day?
- If you received an EI or CERB payment was is it –
- In one lump-sum?
- Over several installments this week?
- Were these equal payments?
- How much have you received so far?
- What program did your deposit say it was from? a) CANADA EI? or b) CANADA FEDERAL DEPOSIT
CERB Video Tutorial
Since last week, we had an increasing number of our readers reach out with questions about their Employment Insurance claims. We helped several to navigate the complex EI application process over the phone and helped show many how to access their claim details online.
This inspired us to post a video tutorial on Instagram about how to apply for the latest CERB program on Monday, April 6th. We had several viewers reach out to us to express how appreciative and grateful they were to have this video resource. We have since added the video to the AskRoss YouTube channel (video shown above) – where we will be adding regular video updates.
5 Employment Insurance and CERB Scenarios, With Related Q&A, and Helpful Tips
1. I applied for EI after March 15th. Will I be bumped over to CERB?
The most common scenario our audience found themselves in were those who had applied to Employment Insurance after March 15th, 2020 and had already begun to see deposits in either 1-2 large payments or several separate smaller payments from Monday to Thursday, April 9th.
All individuals who were in this group received anywhere from $500-$2000 in payments from EI.
Anyone who became eligible for EI benefits after March 15th and would have made less than the $500 CERB rate per week are now bumped up to the CERB rate of $2000 every four weeks, for a maximum of 16 weeks.
Do I need to reapply for CERB during each four week period?
No, if you were automatically bumped over to CERB, you do not need to reapply for each period. BUT, you must make sure to continue to file your online reports through the Employment Insurance portal for each period
2. I applied for EI, but my last day of work was before March 15th, and I haven’t received anything. What should I do next?
The second group were those who had applied to Employment Insurance, but only became eligible (meaning their last reported day of work on their ROE was before March 15th) but still hadn’t heard any updates regarding their claim.
Some had received their access codes in the mail and were able to fill out the “Online Reports” for the last two periods, but still had no updates on the status of their claim.
Most of the individuals in this group reached out to us today to let us know that they received a deposit(s) from EI this morning/afternoon.
How do I check the status of my Employment Insurance Claim?
Check the status of your claim online by logging into your MSCA account https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html – from here you can view your claim details online and access your Online Reporting Services.
If you still have not received a deposit from either Employment Insurance OR the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit
Call CRA between 8AM-9AM, you will not get through on the phone lines if you call any later in the day! Toll-Free: 1-800-206-7218. TTY: 1-800-529-3742
If all else fails, you have not been able to get through, and still have not received any updates, apply to CERB – it will likely go through faster. However, if you end up receiving benefits from both programs for the same periods, you will either have to give back one of the amounts, or not receive your next CERB payment.
3. I applied for Employment Insurance and CERB, and I received payments from both programs. Was this a mistake?
Some who applied in early March for Employment Insurance had not received any updates on the status of their claim and opted to apply to the CERB program as well when the portal opened Monday, April 6th.
We had several confused individuals who received benefits from both programs this week. We also had one reader who still had not received any deposits or updates from his Employment Insurance claim from early March, so he decided to apply to CERB and received the $2000 CERB payment the next morning; HOWEVER, he still has no updates on his EI claim.
If you received payments from both Employment Insurance and CERB:
If you applied to both EI and CERB and received payments from both programs, the government is considering this “double-dipping” since they are technically two separate programs and canada.ca has made it clear that you cannot collect benefits from both programs for the same reporting period. The CRA has said that it will be very easy to determine who has collected benefits from the two programs during the same period by using your SIN number / contact info.
There has been word that if you fall into this group, rather than taking back the double payment, you simply won’t get another CERB payment for the next four weeks. We will provide any updates as soon as we have them!
We recommend not spending both amounts until CRA and canada.ca have made a formal announcement on the subject.
Do I still need to fill out my Online Reports if I was transferred to CERB?
Yes, make sure you are consistently filling your online reports through the EI portal – Employment Insurance does not have the same restrictive 16-week maximum benefit plan that the Canadian Response Benefit Program. Meaning, you want to be on EI for as long as necessary/allowed to be.
Failing to report could result in missed payments to you.
How can I tell which program I received payment from?
In your online banking app, look at the name beside the deposit in your account. An EI payment will have “EI” in the name of the depositor, and CERB payments will say “Canada Federal”. Bear in mind that these titles may slightly vary between different banks/apps but EI payments will ALWAYS have EI as the name of the depositor.
4. I only applied for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. What are my next steps?
Several of our peers who did not qualify for EI Regular Benefits but who were able to apply for CERB this week have already received their $2000 deposit this week.
The deposit would cover the first four weeks from the start of the CERB benefit program of March 15th, 2020 to April 12th.
If you received two CERB payments this week ….
If you received 2 CERB payments of $2000, you do not need to worry, CRA has made it clear that this is not a system error. The first is a retroactive payment to cover the first 4 week period from March 15th to April 11th. The second will cover you until mid-May when you would see the third deposit for the next 4 week period.
Do I need to reapply for CERB?
Make sure you are keeping up to date with the CERB application, at this time, it seems as though you will have to reapply for the program for each 4 week period, meaning, come the month of May you will have to reapply to receive another $2000 CERB payment for the next four weeks.
5. I don’t meet the eligibility requirements for CERB and EI. What are my options?
As the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is a brand new program, the Federal Government has made it clear that they will be adjusting this system’s policies/ criteria/ eligibility as needed to be more expansive and inclusive.
That being said, at this time, to apply for the CERB program, you need only confirm your eligibility as well as provide your contact info / SIN / direct deposit information.
The portal does not require any other supporting documentation, as the government is working with an honour system, so they can get funding to Canadians without slowing down the process. You may be required to provide supporting documentation in the future.
Trudeau says CERB Will Be Expanded to Cover Canadians Working Reduced Hours
According to a story published by Jolson Lim in iPOLITICS on April 6, 2020, “Canadians working fewer hours — suggesting those working 10 hours or less or earning $500 a month — would soon be able to apply for the benefit, which currently provides eligible individuals $2,000 every four weeks during the crisis.” He further reported that “there will be new support coming for post-secondary students now shut out of summer employment, as well as for workers making less than they would receiving the benefit, particularly home-care workers or those looking after vulnerable seniors.”
To read the entire story, follow this link: CERB Will Soon Cover Canadians Working Reduced Hours, Trudeau Says
We will also be writing helpful articles on “How to Increase Your Credit Score” and “How to Talk to Your Landlord” – stay tuned!