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Having and raising kids is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also very expensive. In fact, the average Canadian family spends anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per year to raise a child until they hit the age of 18. That’s a hefty amount that not all Canadian parents may be able to comfortably afford.
Luckily, the provincial and federal governments have programs in place that are meant to help ease the financial burden that often comes with raising children. In Ontario, parents may be eligible for the Ontario Child Benefit to help out.
What Does The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) Cover?
The Ontario Child Benefit is a plan backed by the provincial government designed to help low-to moderate-income families with the financial responsibilities of raising children under the age of 18. Parents can receive this benefit whether or not they are employed. Payments are tax-free and are issued on a monthly basis to families who qualify.
How Much Can You Get Through The Ontario Child Benefit?
Eligible families can receive up to $1,461 per child per year, which works out to up to $121.75 per child every month. If your adjusted family net income is more than $22,303, you may receive a partial benefit.
Payment amounts are based on the following:
- How many children you have
- How old your children are
- Your marital status
- Your adjusted family net income from your previous year’s tax return
How Can You Maximize Your OCB Benefit?
The amount that you receive through the Ontario Child Benefit is based on how much you earn. As such, you may be able to increase your benefit by reducing your taxable income, which you can do by maximizing your tax return with tax deductions and credits.
For instance, things such as childcare expenses, education fees, adoption expenses, medical costs, student loan interest, and donations can be used as tax deductions and tax credits. Speak with a tax specialist to help you reduce your taxable income and thereby maximize your OCB benefit.
Ontario Child Benefit Payment Dates
Payment dates for the Ontario Child Benefit in the year 2021 are as follows:
- April 20
- May 20
- June 18
- July 20
- August 20
- September 20
- October 20
- November 19
- December 13
Parents can receive the Ontario Child Benefit along with their Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a federal government-backed plan that also helps families with the cost of raising children. Eligible families can receive up to $6,765 per year per child under the age of 6 years, and up to $5,708 per year per child between the ages of 6 and 17.
Once approved, you’ll receive your benefits as monthly payments deposited directly into your bank account around the 20th of each month. The first payment will arrive within 8 weeks of completing and submitting an online application, or up to 11 weeks after applying by mail.
Who’s Eligible For The Ontario Child Benefit?
In order to be eligible for the Ontario Child Benefit, you need to qualify for the federal Canada Child Benefit and meet the following requirements:
- You reside with a child who is under the age of 18
- You are the primary caregiver of the child
- You’re a resident of Ontario
- You and your spouse or partner have lived in Canada for the past 18 months and are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, Indigenous, protected persons, or temporary residents
- You filed your tax return
- You registered your child(ren) for the Canada Child Benefit
- You have a net income under the OCB income levels
How Do You Apply For The Ontario Child Benefit?
You can apply for the Ontario Child Benefit as soon as your child is born, starts to live with you after a period of time spent living with someone else, or when you get custody of your child.
Apply for the benefit in one of the following ways:
Through Birth Registration
You can apply for the OCB and CCB when you register the birth of your baby by paper at the place of birth. If you live in Ontario, Quebec, or British Columbia, you may also register online.
You’ll need to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN) to ensure that the birth registration information is shared securely with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and to provide your consent.
Online Through My CRA Account
You can also apply online using the My Account (your personal CRA account) on the CRA website if you did not register when your baby was born. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to register for one before applying for the benefit.
The CRA will automatically review your qualifications for this benefit once your income tax return has been assessed and you’ve registered for the Canada Child Benefit.
Is the OCB taxable?
How will I receive the OCB payment?
Can I get a loan while receiving OCB payments?
The cost of raising children can be astronomical, and while many Canadian families may be able to comfortably afford the expenses that come with parenthood, others may find it very difficult. In the case of the latter, there are programs available that can help out financially, and the Ontario Child Benefit is one of them. Find out if you qualify to receive some much-needed funds to care for your child.
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