So Many Canadians May Have To Return Up To $12,000 In CERB Repayments

Eligibility criteria left thousands of people confused.💰
CERB Repayments Could Cost $12K & So Many Canadians May Be Affected
Senior Editor

With 2021 just around the corner, thousands of Canadians are facing CERB repayments — some of which could cost up to $12,000.

Earlier this month, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revealed that hundreds of thousands of claimants had been contacted about repaying the benefit, including self-employed people and students.

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441,000 Canadians have been contacted

Speaking to CBC News, one student revealed that he owes $12,000 in CERB repayments after he claims the CRA led him to believe that he qualified for the money.

Alex Coucopoulos, who studies at the University of Ottawa, received a letter from the agency advising him to pay the debt before 2021, although it said there would be no penalties or interest charged on a later payment if he made an "honest mistake."

Avery Miller, who is a yoga instructor, also owes the CRA $12,000 in CERB returns.

Like thousands of other self-employed people, Miller told CTV News she was confused by the benefit’s eligibility criteria, particularly the income requirements.

“We are literally just taking this $500 a week and scraping by, and now to think about having to pay back this $12,000 over the next few years is pretty scary,” she said.

Similarly, earlier this month, a P.E.I. woman found out that she owed over $18,000 to the government for incorrectly-claimed COVID-19 benefits.

Over the weekend, the CRA admitted that the original application criteria were “unclear,” but the government has no plans to scrap the repayment program.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.