COVID-19 Federal Benefits Information (CERB)

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COVID-19 Federal Benefits Information (CERB)

April 6, 2020

Today, applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) opened. The CERB provides financial support to Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19. It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 to 5 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days.

To ensure the portal can handle the expected high volume of applications and the system is not overloaded, the government has staggered application periods over the work week based on an applicant’s month of birth. 



How to apply:

There are two ways to apply:

  • Online with CRA My Account
  • Over the phone with an automated phone service

Both of these services will be available 21 hours a day, seven days a week. Both services are closed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET for maintenance.


Applying online:

If you are applying online, you will need a CRA My Account. Ensure your direct deposit and mailing information is up to date with the CRA.

Steps to apply:

  • Go to the COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefitinformation page and confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria. The information that you provide during the application process may be verified later.
  • Sign in to your CRA My Account
  • go to COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the alert banner at the top of the web page
  • Select the period you want to apply for
  • Declare that youqualify for the benefit
  • Confirm the government has the right payment information


Applying by phone:

Call the automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019. This is a dedicated line for CERB applications.

Before you call, you should have your social insurance number and postal code handy to verify your identity.


Who is eligible?

To qualify for CERB, you must:

  • Reside in Canada and be at least 15 years old.
  • Have stopped working because of COVID-19.
  • Have had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of the application.
  • Have been or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, you expect to have no employment income.

The benefit is also available to workers who, after March 15, are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits.

The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the EI program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan.

For more information, please visit should go to


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