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Last week the much-awaited Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) rolled out, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 applied. CERB provides Canadians with $2,000 every four weeks up to 24 weeks. However, unexpectedly, many Canadians were surprised with double payments after applying. If you received an extra government assistance payment, this is what you need to know. 

Why Am I Getting Double Payments? 

First of all, let’s first understand why you received a double payment. There are three ways you can receive the CERB payment, through Service Canda, the CRA CERB portal, or by applying for Employment Insurance (those who applied for EI after March 15 have been transferred to the CERB program). Many Canadians received double payments because they were confused about where to apply and as such applied both with Service Canada and the CRA. Unfortunately, due to the rapidly evolving situation, the government was not able to set the system to detect or prevent individuals from applying twice for the same benefit. 

Moreover, those who’ve applied for EI starting March 15th were meant to be rolled over to the CERB. They would receive the CERB benefit for 4 months after which they would be transferred back to EI. However, some Canadians thought they could apply for both benefits. Unfortunately, the government stated that they consider this “double-dipping”. 

Two Different Payments

Those who received two different payments from the government will likely get to keep both payments, as the notice by the Government of Canada claims “any other combination of payments means you were paid accurately”. 

Captured from the Government of Canada CERB portal.

What The Government Says You Should Do If You Received Two Identical Payments

If you’ve received two identical payments, the government of Canada says not to worry and that they will be contacting you shortly. They advise that Canadians who have received a double payment should keep that extra payment set aside as they will come to collect. According to the CRA website, if you need to return your CERB payment due to ineligibility, you can return the money by mail to the following address: 

Revenue Processing – Repayment of CERB

Sudbury Tax Centre

1050 Notre Dame Avenue

Sudbury ON P3A 0C1

If you received the money by : 

Cheque: Please mail back the cheque to the address below. 

Direct Deposit: Please make a payment out to “Receiver General for Canada”. With it, please indicate that the payment is for the “Repayment of CERB”. Be sure to also include your SIN and Temporary Tax Number (TTN).

Beware Of Scams

Considering the delicacy of the situation and the increase in fraudulent activities, the current confusion Canadians have regarding the double payments makes it an ideal playground for scammers to work in. It would be very easy for a scammer to call you, claim he’s from the government and demand you pay them back. This may land you in a precarious situation when the government actually calls and you no longer have the money to repay them. As such, it’s important to be aware of the types of COVID-19 scams popping up and how you can detect them. 

The Bottom Line

If you’ve received a double identical payment, we advise you to keep it aside like the government has suggested as you like likely be required to give it back. Moreover, all the government needs to track down the payments is your SIN, and once they know they will come to collect. 

Priyanka Correia, BComm avatar on Loans Canada
Priyanka Correia, BComm

Priyanka Correia is a Marketing Coordinator and personal finance expert at Loans Canada. Priyanka completed her Bachelor's degree in Marketing at Concordia University and has published work that has been mentioned in various news media. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives.

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