The application process for the government’s latest COVID-19 benefit, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), already seems to be causing some confusion.

After the eligibility requirements reportedly left some Canadians unsure of whether or not they qualified for the money, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) confirmed that its website will be updated.

The CRA told Global News that applicants who cannot find any work right now due to the pandemic, and who meet the requirements, are actually able to apply for the benefit.

This includes people who may have lost their job before COVID-19 came along.

Similar to EI benefits, the individual must be actively looking for work while they're claiming the cash, explained the agency.

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What is the CRB?

The Canada Recovery Benefit is one of the federal government’s new CERB replacement programs.

The purpose of the benefit is to give financial support to Canadians who have been affected by COVID-19, but who are unable to claim traditional Employment Insurance (EI).

Eligible applicants can receive $900 (after tax) for a two-week period.

If the individual’s circumstances remain unchanged, they can reapply for the money every two weeks, for up to 26 weeks.

Applications opened to Canadians on September 27, 2020, and the benefit will remain available until September 25, 2021.

Who can apply?

Like most of the government’s COVID-19 benefits, there are strict eligibility criteria to meet before the cash can be claimed.

To be able to get the CRB, an individual must have lost work or be receiving a 50% or more reduction in their average weekly income (due to COVID-19).

This also includes applicants who lost work prior to the pandemic and who are unable to claim EI.

Those looking to get the CRB must not have claimed any other benefit during the same period, including the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, Employment Insurance, short-term disability benefits and more.

Applicants must also be a Canadian resident, 15 years old or older, have a Social Insurance Number and have earned at least $5,000 in the year prior to applying.

Claimants cannot have voluntarily quit their job or reduced their hours on-or-after the benefit’s start date, either.

What was the confusion?

The confusion, according to Global News, was centred around whether people could apply if they had lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not directly as a result of it.

There was also some confusion about those who have been out-of-work since before March, but who are now unable to find new work due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

However, the CRA has since confirmed that eligible people in these positions can actually claim the money and said the online application will be updated “shortly” to make this clearer.

This means individuals who were claiming EI prior to the pandemic, who have now run out of benefits, are able to transition to the new CRB as long as they continue to look for work.

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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