cerb repayment

Canada is offering a new break on CERB repayment and here's how to know if you qualify

If you're one of the many Canadians who are worried about potentially having to pay back CERB money you received over the course of the pandemic, you'll be relieved to know that you may be able to repay less than you may be expecting.

While the Canada Revenue Agency continues to invesigate and verify the billions of dollars the federal government doled out in emergency money to people who were rendered unable to work by lockdown restrictions, the government arm has discovered an inequity in the system that impacted some individuals — students, particularly.

Apparently, close to 100,000 residents enrolled in post-secondary programs signed up for CERB when they actually should have applied for the program created specially for them, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

That benefit, which was a bit less than the CERB per month at $1,250 vs. $2,000, was intended for students unable to find work due to the health crisis and resulting closures.

While they may have received CERB when they should not have, students who are being asked to pay the government back can receive a break, only having to pay the $800 a month difference between the CERB and the CESB.

Though it's no small amount depending on how many months you filed for, it is much less than the thousands of dollars that many students are being told that they owe right now.

There is a list of further qualifying criteria on the Canada website for what is now being called the student CERB debt reduction — among the criteria, the fact that you did not earn E.I. or any other benefits, and the fact that you applied for CERB no later than Sept. 30, 2020, received it and were eventually found ineligible.

Of course, you should only apply for this new credit if you indeed meet all of the requirements and are deserving of it — which everyone who ever applied for CERB should have in good conscience done in the first place.

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