Today marks the start of the second eligibility period for Canada’s COVID-19 emergency response benefit program. Those born in January, February and March are asked to apply today.

The CERB pays a monthly $2,000 payment to workers who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for employment insurance. Any Canadian who has stopped working for a 14-day period due to COVID-19 can qualify for the new benefit, which cover a period of up to 16 weeks.

That includes wage earners, contract workers, or self-employed individuals; those who’ve had to stay home without pay to self-isolate or care for loved ones; and anyone else who hasn’t been permanently laid off, but has stopped receiving paycheques.

Residents are only allowed to apply on specific days, as the agency is trying to keep demand from overwhelming its online and telephone systems.

Those born in January, February and March can apply Monday, people born in April, May and June can apply Tuesday, those born in July, August or September can apply Wednesday and applications are accepted Thursday from people born in October, November and December. Friday, Saturday and Sunday applications are open to anyone.

After you apply, the CRA says you should get your payment in three business days, if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should receive payment in roughly 10 business days.

The benefits are taxable, and payments will need to be reported on next year’s tax filing. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau anticipates the wage benefit will cost the government $24 billion.

You are able to apply online through the Canada Revenue Agency, or by-phone by calling 1-800-959-8281.

For more information:
Unemployed during COVID-19? Here’s how to navigate federal programs
GCT3 wants fair share of $17 billion COVID-19 relief package