It’s no secret that raising a family is expensive. For some parents, the costs that accompany the care and upbringing of children can strain their finances, causing hardship and emotional stress as they struggle to pay bills and purchase everyday items.
Both federal and provincial governments have implemented many kinds of programs over the years to help reduce parents’ financial burden. Some programs put money directly into parents’ bank account on a regular basis, while others provide federal tax credits and GST/HST rebates.
One popular type of benefit program is the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
What is The Canada Child Benefit (CCB)?
The CCB is a tax-exempt benefit program available for eligible families with children under 18 years of age. The program’s goal is to help alleviate poverty by providing struggling parents with access to government-sponsored financial aid.
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To qualify for the CCB, you must be the primary caregiver for a child under 18 years of age and live with them and be a Canadian resident for tax purposes. Also, you or your spouse must be considered at least one of the following:
- A Canadian citizen
- A permanent resident
- A protected person
- A temporary resident who’s lived in Canada for a minimum of 18 months or has a valid permit
- An indigenous person (as defined under the Indian Act)
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How Much Can You Get Through The Canada Child Benefit?
The size of your CCB benefit is based on several factors:
- The number of children you have
- Your family’s adjusted net income
- Whether your child is eligible to receive the child disability benefit
- Your marital status
- Your residence and whether you qualify for provincial benefits
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The CCB payment period starts in July and ends in June every year. The government will calculate the monthly amount you qualify for based on your previous years’ tax return. The Government of Canada website has a calculator you can use to get an idea of what monthly payment you can expect to receive.
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For the period June 2020 to July 2021, the maximum you can receive is $6,765 annually for each child under the age of 6 and up to $5,708 for each child between the age of 6 and 17. If you share custody of your children, you’ll get 50% of what you’d have received if you had full custody.
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Your family’s net income is a crucial factor that impacts the amount of money you are entitled to under the CCB program. If your family’s net income is under $31,711, you’ll receive the maximum payment. CCB benefits are clawed back based on your family net income and the number of children you have. For example, if you have one child, the first income threshold reduces your payments by 7% of your income above $31,711 up to $68,708. The second threshold reduces your payments by 3.2% of your income above $68,708. These calculations differ if you have multiple children, as shown below:
|Number of children||Family net income over $31,711 and up to $68,708||Family net income over $68,708|
Extra Temporary CCB Payments
COVID-19 has impacted the lives and income of many Canadians. In fact, according to a recent RBC study, women have been particularly impacted with more than 20,000 women leaving work while more than 68,000 men joined the labour market. Of the +20,000 women, approximately two-thirds were forced out in order to care for their children.
As a result, the Government of Canada has responded and is now offering Canadians with children additional support. Those eligible will receive an additional $600 or $1,200 to their Canada Child Benefit. You can get the $1,200 extra CCB payment if you’re annual family income is less than $120,000. You’ll receive the payment in $300 quarterly installments. Families with an annual income of more than $120,000 will get $600 extra which will be paid in quarterly instalments as well ($150/quarter).
Basically, with the extra temporary CCB payments, families can now receive a maximum of $7,965 for each child under 6 or $6,908 for each child between 6 and 17, if you’re family income is less than $31,711.
Canada Child Benefit Payment Dates
CCB payments will be sent out to qualified applicants on the following dates:
- January 20, 2021
- February 19, 2021
- March 19, 2021
- April 20, 2021
- May 20, 2021
- June 18, 2021
- July 20, 2021
- August 20, 2021
- September 20, 2021
- October 20, 2021
- November 19, 2021
- December 13, 2021
How do You Apply For The Canada Child Benefit?
There are two ways to apply for the CCB: through birth registration or an application with the CRA.
The first method requires completing paperwork at the hospital or medical centre where your child was born. You can fill out and submit this information when you register the birth of your child. If you live in Ontario, British Columbia, or Quebec, you can complete the registration process online. Ensure you give your consent and provide all the necessary details to the Vital Statistics Agency so it can pass on your information to the CRA.
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If you didn’t apply for the CCB upon your child’s birth, you can do so online through the CRA website. Simply log in to your personal CRA account, confirm your details, and provide the required information on your child, such as their name, date of birth, etc.
If you opt to apply by mail, you’ll have to fill out form RC66 and send it to a local tax center. You may also need to include additional documents with your application, depending on your circumstances:
- Child’s proof of birth – A valid proof of birth is needed for any child who has not received benefits from the CRA and was born outside of Canada or born in Canada and is at least one year old.
- Letter from the female parent – A signed letter from the female parent confirming that the male parent is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child, should this be the case. A letter is not required if the child is mainly under the care of the female parent.
- Miscellaneous documents for a period that began 11 months ago – If your child started living with you 11 months ago, you must provide documentation that confirms your citizenship status and prove that you reside in Canada. You’ll also need to provide proof of birth and that you’re the child’s primary caregiver.
Why have my CCB payments stopped?
- You didn’t file your tax return
- You didn’t respond to an inquiry from the CRA
- You failed to inform the CRA of a change in your bank account or address
- Your income increased substantially to where you don’t qualify for any CCB benefits
- You no longer meet the eligibility criteria for CCB benefits
- You had a change in your marital status
What’s the maximum CCB I can get?
Is the CCB taxable?
Are there any benefits if my child has a disability?
Are there other benefits I can receive for my child?
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Northwest Territories
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Family Allowance payment
- Supplement for Handicapped Children Requiring Exceptional Care
- Supplement for the Purchase of School Supplies
The CCB is a program that you should investigate if you have children or plan to in the near future. It’s easy to apply for, and you can expect regular monthly payments for as long as you remain eligible. Also, utilizing the CCB won’t disqualify you from other income support benefits, such as the GST/HST rebate and disability tax credit. Having access to extra funds when raising a family is always helpful, so ensure you take advantage of the CCB as well as its provincial equivalents.
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