CESB and CERB for Students in Canada

Note: due to the popularity of this post we will be hosting an AMA specifically on the CESB next week, probably Wednesday. Put your questions in the comment section here any time up to the time the AMA goes live.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced an additional $9 billion in economic supports in response to the continued COVID-19 crisis, putting students at the forefront this time with the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

 

Other student work and grant initiatives were also announced:

From CTV:

  •  Creating an additional 76,000 jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand right now, or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic which could include contact tracing or helping out on farms;
  •  Investing $291.6 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for three or four months to keep research projects and placements going, including for postdoctoral fellowships.
  •  Broadening eligibility for financial assistance and raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
  •  Launching a new Canada Student Service Grant of between $1,000 and $5,000 for students volunteering in the COVID-19 fight to go towards their fall tuition;
  •  Providing $75.2 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation students; and
  •  Doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21.The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents are also being doubled.

“COVID-19 has meant that there aren’t as many jobs out there for students,” said Trudeau, “and without a job, it can be hard to pay for tuition or the day-to-day basics. You might normally have turned to your parents for help, but right now mom and dad are stretched, too.”

Many students were already eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), but only if they had met the requirement of having earned $5,000 in the last 12 months and had a job lined up which has been cancelled because of the pandemic. If you are a student who did make that required amount, and who otherwise meets the requirements for the CERB (eg you filed your taxes for 2018 and your work opportunities have dried up because of the coronavirus, and you can provide documentation), you should consider applying for the $2,000/month CERB, as we reported last week. Today the information in that post was confirmed by the Prime Minister in his video address to the nation.

You can still make up to $1000/month in each four-week period in which you receive the CERB benefit, of course. There is a chance the government will at some point retroactively disallow this and bump you down to the $1250 a month CESB, so be aware that you are taking a calculated risk, and bank the difference in case you need it later.

If you are a college or university student (which includes people who are planning to start in September, people who completed their schooling in December 2019, and people who are completing now, obviously), and you did not make $5,000 last year, you can apply for the CESB instead of the CERB. You can also apply for CESB if you’re a student who may or may not have made $5,000 last year, but had not yet secured a summer job when the pandemic hit. And you can still apply if you do have a job, but it pays you $1000 a month or less, because under CESB you’re allowed to earn that much each month.

Do not apply to both CESB and CERB

If you’ve already applied for CERB, but don’t meet the requirements, do not apply for it in future months: apply for CESB. And if you’re not eligible for CERB but applied and received supports (oops), expect those to be clawed back at some point, probably on your taxes next year. So save the money, because you’ll need to give it back. Also remember that the CERB is untaxed but taxable – the CESB will likely be the same. You might find yourself owing approximately $300 per $1000 received.  Keep in mind, students have lots of deductions available to them, and consider getting some professional help with your taxes next year; it’ll pay for itself.

Now to the nuts and bolts of the support: Under CESB you will be eligible for $1,250 a month, or $1,750 a month if you are disabled or acting as a carer for dependents, senior, disabled, or otherwise. As with CERB, you can earn up to $1000/month while on the CESB.

At this point, as it was only announced this morning, the how of the application is still unclear, although the Prime Minister did say it would be administered through the CRA. Watch Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the start page for all of the federal government’s financial aid in this time of crisis.

Trudeau also said that the CESB would be in effect May through September. We can probably assume that the process and limitations of the CESB will be the same or very similar to the CERB in that students will have to re-apply for each 4-week period, although it is yet to be seen. If they have to apply through the CRA system, which is likely, they will also likely need to have submitted a 2018 tax return in order to have access to that system.

Students can get a jump on the process by signing up for a MyCRA account today and making sure their tax status is up to date, although you do not have to have filed taxes for 2019 in order to apply. Still, not a bad idea.

4-week period cycle
Period dates

  1. March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020
  2. April 12, 2020 to May 9, 2020
  3. May 10, 2020 to June 6, 2020
  4. June 7, 2020 to July 4, 2020
  5. July 5, 2020 to August 1, 2020
  6. August 2, 2020 to August 29, 2020
  7. August 30, 2020 to September 26, 2020

You can see our previous coverage of the CERB benefit by today’s guest author, MasterCowfish, here:

56 Comments Add yours

  1. raincoaster says:

    Reblogged this on raincoaster and commented:

    Attention post-secondary students in Canada! You’ll want to check out the new CERB supports!

    Like

  2. temptationcafeca says:

    I’d like to know what is government plan for businesses Like mine which is the restaurant that was finished at the end of 2019 and we start operating on January 2020, We do have the Minimum payroll for Three months of 2020 but what the government says your payroll must be for 2019. If I don’t get the loan I cannot continue not only we won’t have income all my Family savings which I have put into this place will vanish ,what to do now?????

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      I’m sorry, we haven’t looked into the business side at all. It’s possible if your family members worked in the restaurant they might be eligible for CERB, but as owner you might or might not be.

      I’m sure that your accountant could advise you better, or the news sites also have articles on how it affects business. We haven’t looked into that at all. Sorry.

      Like

  3. Youssef says:

    I have a question. I am student entering post-secondary. I was eligible and applied for CERB and will receive the first payment soon. Since the CESB was announced today, is it possible to be eligible for both?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      You cannot receive both at the same time, but you CAN be eligible for both. But if you are, why would you apply for CESB instead of getting $650 more with CERB?

      Do not apply for both.

      Like

      1. Kirk parrick says:

        If u file tax for 2018 and on march 2019u were battling cancer so had to go on onterio works do u eligible for CERB

        Like

      2. raincoaster says:

        No, it’s only for those who lost work as a result of Covid-19. You should be on long term disability or what’s called medical welfare.

        Like

  4. Sandra Botbyl says:

    I don’t understand if people say they can’t live on anything under 1250.00 a month or 2000.00 a month why does the government pay disabled persons or seniors so little and expect them to live on less than these emergency funds

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      You’d have to ask the government that.

      Like

    2. Lori says:

      Sandra, I hear you! I abhor the ‘second class citizen’ thing that is so clearly pointed out right now: if you’re on social assistance, you’re worth this much every month, but if you’re working you’re worth this much. The one thing I really hope comes out of this crisis is a Universal Basic Income across the board, giving everyone a bit of dignity and support.

      Like

  5. rhia macatuno says:

    i lostmy job mar 25th and applied for ei and cerb. did not get ei but got the cerb. my cousin applied for ei and cerb later than i did and he got the $2k and $1k after 2 weeks. how does it work. how come i dis not get that $1k? is this part of the ei or cerb?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      If you were not accepted for EI you didn’t get EI. If you got CERB remember that you have to reapply every 4 weeks.

      Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    I have a question regarding to CERB .
    I lost my job a week before the impact of covid-19 march 15, i am the group of seasonal worker and the company laid off of some workers because of shortage of work or end of contract.
    I am qualified of EI but i got very little every 2 weeks less than 400CAD
    My income in 2019 is less than 20thouCAD.
    When i applied CERB i wasnt qualified and thats i was wondering .As what i know if you qualified for EI , you are Qualified in CERB.
    I have a kids to taking care, school close
    I was expecting the CCB will be increase, but same thing what i get.
    My EI doesnt help me to pay my appartment rent, my billings are piled up. I am struggeling for financial difficulties i dont even get CERB that i was expected.
    I thank for the quebec community for the food releif.
    I look forward to answer this question that how come im not qualified for this CERB benefits that mostly people got.
    Is not my faulf that i dismiss 1 week before impact of covid-19 and lockdown?

    Like

    1. Lori says:

      Unfortunately, it seems that since you’re on EI, no, you’re not eligible for the CERB as well. Once your EI is finished, if the CERB is still being offered, you can apply then. No, it’s not a perfect system.

      I feel your frustration. No, it’s not your fault that you got laid off before the March 15th CERB date…the gov’t had to have a date, and this is what they came up with. It means that some people are falling through the cracks.

      Is your province (Quebec you said?) offering any extra benefits for their workers? (Here’s the link for Quebec’s financial services https://www.quebec.ca/en/family-and-support-for-individuals/financial-assistance/)

      Most communities DO have jobs available, such as warehouses, grocery stores, etc. if you’re really in need.

      Good luck

      Liked by 1 person

      1. angel1942 says:

        Lori, thank you for the explaination.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary Imasuen-ile says:

    I’m just wondering if I will be ask to pay back the CERB later, I have worked more than 5,000 in 2019, I resigned my job by end of Feb as a result of relocation to a new city. I started apply for new job , 1st week of March in the new city, but I didn’t get any offer as a result of the covid, I have been receiving the CERB after I applied in April. my worry is do I really qualify for CERB?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      You should not apply for CERB, because you quit your job. That means you don’t qualify. You will have to pay all of the money back, yes.

      Like

      1. Lori says:

        The intent of the ‘no quitting’ thing is to keep people in essential services from quitting to be on the CERB. I personally would call the CERB/CRA helpline to ask (I’ve heard good things about the people staffing this line): 1-800-959-8281

        Like

  8. Haris Sohail says:

    Hey, I think I’m more eligible for the CESB, but I already received CERB. is it possible to switch over seamlessly and pay back the $2k next tax season? I don’t want to end up having to pay back the cerb and also miss out the CESB.

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      If you are eligible for CERB, why would you want to switch over? $2000 a month is objectively better, for you and for the local economy, than $1250.

      If you are NOT really eligible for CERB, then yes, just stop applying for CERB and apply for CESB for your next four week period. Easy.

      Like

  9. Marnie says:

    is there any extra cash money for seniors? they are at poverty level already and cant afford the extra high grocery cost.

    Like

    1. Lori says:

      Oh, I wish! Seniors are definitely left out of the aid packages right now. You can check to see if there are some provincial supports, but unfortunately not the CERB, unless you’ve been working.

      Like

  10. Habib sha says:

    I’m a university student and for the last 3 years I’ve worked in summer at different grocery stores Nd retail locations. However, at the end of each summer I resign from my job instead of taking a leave. So does this quality me cerb as a seasonal worker/ someone who can’t find a job?

    Like

    1. Lori says:

      Did you make $5k at least last year? Then yes, you can apply for the CERB.

      Like

  11. Wren says:

    What about a high school student, 17 years old, who made over $5000 last year at a part time job that is no longer working due to covid19. Are they eligible for anything?

    Like

    1. Lori says:

      Are you finished high school and heading to University or College in September? Then yes, you’re eligible for the CESB. If you’ve just finished Grade 11, then unfortunately, no.

      Like

      1. Jason says:

        My daughter just graduated high school Jan 2020 and has been unable to find a job because of Covid-19, would she eligible?

        Like

      2. Lori says:

        Jason, yes – she should be. Plus she’s eligible for Canada Summer Jobs. Keep an eye on the gov’t site for updates.

        Like

  12. mirabellz says:

    I am eligible for CERB right now as I lost my job and future opportunities for the time being due to Covid-19. I may attend school in the fall and will plan on applying for OSAP for 20-21. Do you know if applying for OSAP will affect my current eligibility to receive CERB?

    Like

    1. Lori says:

      No, the Question & Answers from the Federal gov’t website says: “Student loans and bursaries do not affect eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.” Loans and bursaries don’t count as income (for counting the $5,000 in the year prior to now), nor do they affect your eligibility. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/questions.html#income-requirements

      Like

  13. Lori says:

    We had another question come in:

    Question: “So if im still making 1000$ a month which Program should i apply for CESB or CERB, Im very confused reading articles on it and want some clarification”

    On both programs you can make up to $1,000/month.
    The eligibility guidelines for the CESB have not been released yet, but if you are eligible for the CERB, apply for that. Go to the government website to check your eligibility: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html The main difference between the two programs is that for the CERB you will need to have earned at least $5,000 in the last 12 months (or in 2019).

    Like

  14. Joseline says:

    What I would like to know is if a student who will receive OSAP for the semester of May would be allowed to still apply for the CESB Benefit? Many students have this question.

    Like

    1. Lori says:

      I’ll repeat my answer from above: No, the Question & Answers from the Federal gov’t website says: “Student loans and bursaries do not affect eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.” Loans and bursaries don’t count as income (for counting the $5,000 in the year prior to now), nor do they affect your eligibility. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/questions.html#income-requirements

      Like

  15. Jaya Dhillon says:

    I currently qualify for CERB as my part time job income has been impacted by COVID-19. However, I am also a full time student that qualifies for CESB. The issue with the CERB is that I can only apply four times and I have already applied twice. After my CERB is used up (as we can only apply for 16 weeks in total) can I apply for the CESB ? I will not have a income until after August.

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      16 weeks of CERB takes you to the end of August anyway.

      Like

  16. Nick says:

    Any idea why students in Open Studies do not qualify for CESB? The credits they earn go towards their degrees and they pay the same tuition fees as everyone else. It does not seem right to exclude them.

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      If you are in a degree program the information I have says that you qualify. If you are NOT working toward a degree, or you are not studying at an accredited institution, then you would not qualify.

      Where are you seeing this information?

      Like

      1. Nick says:

        In the wording of the CESB bill a student is considered someone who is “enrolled in a post-secondary educational program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.” Open Studies does not lead directly to a degree, however the credits earned in Open Studies can be applied to a degree once the student selects their major.

        The wording of the bill concerns me. Based on this definition people in Open Studies are not considered students.

        Like

      2. raincoaster says:

        My opinion is that you are misinterpreting that clause, but university admin staffers are still working. Contact your financial aid office and ask them: I’m sure they have answered this question many times already.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Gurvinder Singh kalkat says:

    I am an international student and i earn less than $1000, am I eligible for it?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      No, international students are not eligible, I’m afraid. Your home country’s government might have supports for you, so contact your embassy.

      Like

  18. Matt says:

    I am a Canadian studying abroad. I’ve had to come back to Canada and have been asked to drop the course as it would be difficult to complete while in Canada. If I decide to drop out, am I still eligible for CESB?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      It does not look as if you are. These are the relevant criteria:

      -students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate; You’re not currently enrolled
      -students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019; you ended your studies after that date
      -high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months; You’re not in this position; and
      -Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.

      If you had met one of the above criteria, you would qualify, but you don’t. Can you transfer to a Canadian university for the time being? Then you would qualify, as I interpret it.

      Like

  19. GAP between CERB and CESB – falling in the cracks: HELP!

    So, Sally G. had 2K income in the last 6 months – not enough for the CESB.
    She’s also a student who lost her 2 part-time jobs due to Covid. But she’s separated and recieves just over 1K monthly in alimony.

    So, is she one of the many people who makes a crack too much to qualify for CESB (because they look at ANY income?) yet, not enough to qualify for CERB (because e they ONLY look at employment income)?

    If that’s the case, ALOT of low-incomers will fall into this crack!
    Surely the feds won’t be so limiting or penalizing as to make 2 different kinds of income the bar, resulting in NO HELP for a pile of us due to the glaring gap/crack between them?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      She has to have made $5000 in calendar year 2019 in order to qualify for CERB. It is not clear from what you have written whether she did or not.

      She may qualify for CESB, though, and be able to keep $1000 of her alimony per month.

      Like

  20. CORRECTION:

    SECOND LINE ABOVE POST should read: “…Sally G had 2k income….not enough for the CERB.”

    Like

  21. Robb says:

    Confused about whether I am eligible for CERB. If I apply for CERB and the GOC determines I am no longer eligible, will they consider me for CESB and ask me to return $750 or just ask for the whole $2000 back?

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      At this point it’s unclear. The best advice we can give you is to apply, but hold it back. If you are DEFINITELY eligible for CESB, but unsure if you’re eligible for CERB, apply for CESB now. Get your income streams locked down. If it turns out later that you are indeed eligible for CERB, you will be able to apply for the next four-week period; just stop applying for CESB and start applying for CERB.

      Like

  22. Matt Boyle says:

    I am a seasonal part time student worker who’s was employed during the covid-19 pandemic at a restaurant at my school and my contract ended April 30th. I had an offer to return to work on April 20th at a restaurant in my hometown, but I have yet to work at my new job for the 2020 year due to covid-19 and was suppose to work all summer. But I was still technically employed for the duration of the CERB payment periods. Should I apply for CERB?

    Like

    1. Matt Boyle says:

      I made over 5k dollars in 2019, I just never worked a shift in 2020 at the job I was suppose to begin on April 20th, but have proof that I had employment lined up. What benefit am I eligible for ?

      Like

      1. raincoaster says:

        Depends why you never started work. If the job disappeared because of the COVID crisis, it sounds like you’d be eligible for CERB, provided you filed your taxes for 2018. But depending on the industry, you may qualify for the seasonal worker benefits like the fish harvester’s benefit. If you just didn’t start because you didnt want to, but the job still existed, you’re out of luck.

        Like

  23. Matthew Boyle says:

    I maintained a Part time job as well throughout the school year

    Like

  24. Matt Boyle says:

    Ok perfect because my job was closed down because all restaurants have been closed, I had a job lined up and have proof that I was suppose to work.

    Like

    1. raincoaster says:

      Then you should be A OK.

      Like

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