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Here's How to Get COVID-19 Benefits in Canada

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Here's How to Get COVID-19 Benefits in Canada

If your job has been affected by the recent lockdowns in many parts of the country, you could be eligible for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB). While we're no stranger to government restrictions and lockdowns, it's important to stay up-to-date with the current information about financial assistance programs and how to apply for them should you find yourself in need.

In light of the current restrictions that are taking place in many regions of the country, iCASH, a trusted online lender in Canada, has shared some insightful information about the CWLB in case you or someone you know has been affected financially.

Read the following information below to learn more about the CWLB in Canada and how you may be eligible to apply.

What is the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit?

The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit is a financial assistance program for workers affected by the lockdown in their regions. It works to provide financial assistance to individuals who have lost their jobs due to the recent lockdowns while also helping them support themselves and their families.

Receiving the benefit in Canada

Last week, the government announced that applications are now open for the expanded Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which has been extended to cover all affected provinces and territories.

This newly introduced benefit was first announced in November, but expanded on Dec. 22, 2021, to give any employee financial assistance if his or her employer has been hit with capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 percent or more for more than 7 consecutive days as a result of public health restrictions and government lockdowns.

How much money can I get?

Until May 7, 2022, workers may receive up to $300 ($270 after taxes) every one-week period. The extended eligibility lasts until February 12, 2022, so it's important to submit your application as soon as possible to receive the full support that you need.

How do I apply for the CWLB?

To apply for the CWLB, you can apply online or by phone, and your information will be assessed by the Government of Canada in which you will begin to receive your benefit.

If you wish to apply, take note that the benefit doesn't renew automatically. What does that mean? If your regional lockdown continues, you can re-apply for each one-week period separately.

You can only apply for further financial assistance after the one-week period you're applying for has ended. The application process is always the same, so you don't have to worry about new documentation each time you apply.

When will I receive the benefit payment?

After submitting your application, you will receive payment as soon as possible. The breakdown for payments are listed below:

  • Direct Deposit: this form of payment usually takes 3 to 5 business days if you have it set up with Canada Revenue Agency.
  • By Mail: if you're receiving a check by mail, it can take 10 to 12 business days.

If your application requires additional validation, processing may take up to 4 weeks from the time the government receives your documentation.

Who is eligible for COVID-19 benefits in Canada?

To be eligible to receive the benefit, you must meet the criteria as noted on the Government of Canada's website. If you meet all eligibility criteria, you can apply on the Monday after the first week your region is in a designated COVID-19 lockdown.

Every province and territory with reduced capacity for bars, restaurants, and other workplaces is now on the eligibility list for workers to receive the benefits. These regions include British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut.

If you wish to re-apply to keep receiving the benefit, you must continue to meet all the eligibility criteria.

What if my region isn't listed?

If your region isn't listed, it's likely because it's not designated as a lockdown region at this time. If you do not reside in a designated lockdown region, you cannot apply for the CWLB.

If the lockdown in your region was recently declared, applications may not be available yet, so it's important to stay tuned to the Government of Canada's website for updates and announcements.

How does CWLB impact my taxes?

Canada Revenue Agency will withhold a 10% tax at source, which means the actual payment you receive from the CWLB is not $300, but rather $270 for every one-week period.

According to the government's website, here's how your payment is calculated: $300 (CWLB gross amount) minus $30 (which is a 10% tax that is withheld). Therefore the final number and total payment amount you receive per period is $270 Canadian dollars.

Tax adjustments

The 10% tax that is withheld from your total payment amount may not be all of the tax you owe. You may need to pay more or less depending on your individual tax circumstances.

How to claim CWLB at tax time

As you would with other forms of government financial assistance, you'll be provided with a T4A tax information slip at tax time for the CRA-administered COVID-19 benefit amounts you received that year. You can also find your T4A slip by logging into your CRA account.

COVID-19 Financial Support & Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken its toll on many people's financial stability, so if you're struggling to keep your head above water, there's financial support available for you.

Even if you don't qualify for any of the government financial assistance programs at the moment, you can still get the support you need through a trusted online lender like iCASH. If you find yourself in a cash bind, consider an instant loan to cover the cost of rent, groceries, or other expenses that may be burning your wallet and keeping you up at night.