How to Get the Canada Emergency Student Benefit

By Logan Bright Modified on May 15, 2020

The application process is open! Here's how to start getting money.

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A Canadian student gleefully applies for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is a massive federal government initiative to support students affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. From May through August, the benefit provides $1,250 per month to eligible students — or $2,000, if you have a dependant or disability.

If you're a post-secondary student, or are graduating high school in 2020 with plans to enter post-secondary, and do not qualify for other programs like Employment Insurance, you're probably eligible for CESB.

Applications for the program are open, and you can check out the federal government website to get all the details. Here's a quick guide on how to apply for CESB.

Who can apply

You must be actively looking for work to qualify for the benefit. You must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, registered Indian, or a protected person, studying in Canada or abroad.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will confirm your eligiblity. You'll need an account with CRA to apply.

How much money you can get

You'll need to re-apply for CESB for each 4-week period you want to receive the benefit. The benefit is $1,250 per 4 weeks, to a maximum of 16 weeks. You can get an extra $750 for extenuating circumstances like a disability. Remember, the benefit is taxable, so try to save a fraction for tax time!

Eligiblity periods:

  • May 10 - June 6
  • June 7 - July 4
  • July 5 - August 1
  • August 2 - August 29

The exact periods you can apply for depends on your status as a student. The CESB website has a helpful design to walk you through determining your eligibility. Post-secondary students have access to all 4 periods. Some graduating high school students may have less.

How to apply for CESB

Be sure you're set up and registered with CRA. Based on your status as a student, and your birth month, the CESB website will help you determine the best days to apply for the benefit.

Remember, every 4 weeks you'll need to re-apply for the benefit, assuming your circumstances remain the same. All applications for the program must be received by September 30.

How to keep receiving money

Be sure you continue looking for work during the pandemic. Actively seeking employment is a precondition for getting CESB. CRA may ask for details, so be sure you're keeping up your search! Registering with the Job Bank is a good way to hear about openings in your field, and demonstrate your job search is serious.

Presuming you're unable to find work, you'll need to re-apply for each 4 week elibility period, as above. The CESB website makes finding the best days to re-apply easy.

If you've got direct deposit set up, you could receive funds in around 3 business days. Otherwise, a cheque in the mail will take around 10 days. Keep this in mind when budgeting!

How to learn more about CESB

If you have questions about CESB, reach out to CRA online or by phone to get answers.

Next steps

Don't forget to re-apply for CESB every 4 weeks if you're eligible. And don't forget the money is taxable! It will be listed as income on next year's tax return.

Once you've got your payments sorted, the summer is wide open for you! How will you use it? Relaxing, catching up with friends, perhaps a personal project? CESB isn't a panacea, but it should provide some relief to students who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

We'll keep you updated with more details on CESB as they become available in the coming weeks. Now get started — good luck with applying!



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