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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is designed to help Canadians cope with the loss of employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit was about to expire in July for some of the earliest applicants, but it was recently extended by an additional eight weeks.
Despite the extension, the CERB might not exist in its current form for very much longer, and you should begin to prepare for its eventual end.
An overview of the CERB
The federal government rolled out the CERB shortly after companies began to lay off employees as provinces and territories ordered the shutdown of some or all non-essential businesses.
The taxable benefit provides Canadians with $2,000 for a four-week period (or $500 a week) and lasts for up to 24 weeks. The CERB is available from March 15 to October 3, 2020. The payments are retroactive as long as you qualify for the specific period; however, you must apply by December 2 to receive the benefit.
To be eligible for the benefit, you must:
Live in Canada and be 15 or older;
Have stopped working due to reasons related to COVID-19, are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) regular or sickness benefits, or used up your EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019, and October 3, 2020;
Have received employment/self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before applying; and
Haven’t voluntarily quit your job…