Are You Eligible For The CERB?


Most students receive financial support during the academic year through bursaries and student loans. Unfortunately, school is almost over and there are limited places for students to find jobs. That means it will be harder for them to pay for rent, food, utilities, and future tuition costs. Here’s where the CERB can help.

What is the CERB?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $2,000 for a four-week period. To those who qualify, CERB can last up to 16 weeks. 

Are Students Eligible? 

It is clear that students may qualify for CERB if they earned a minimum of $5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months, and they have since lost their job because of COVID-19. Applicants must be at least 15-years-old and stopped working for reasons that are related to COVID-19 in order to apply.

As of April 15, eligibility requirements relaxed so that you can earn up to $1,000 (before taxes) during any four-week period of the program and qualify. This is also available for those who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) due to the pandemic. Additionally, this benefit has been extended to seasonal workers who have exhausted their employment insurance benefits and are unable to go back to their regular seasonal jobs because of COVID-19. 

Submitting Claims

Ready to submit your first claim? Remember: you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week period of your CERB claim or any subsequent claims. 

CERB is taxable. However, many students won’t face tax due to the federal basic personal tax credit that offsets the tax on the first $13,229 of income in 2020. To apply for CERB, go through the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada (not both). For more information on the application process, click here

Are International Students Eligible?

International students may be eligible if they meet these requirements: 

  • Reside in Canada
  • Are over 15-years-old
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). However, international students in Canada without this may still be eligible if ALL other requirements are met. 
  • Are no longer working because of the pandemic (have not voluntarily quit).
  • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior. 
  • Currently without income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

Not Eligible For CERB? Don’t Panic.

The Canadian government is also rolling out the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). CESB provides students and new graduates who are not eligible for CERB with financial support from May until August 2020. Eligible students will receive $1,275 a month, or $2,000 if they have dependents or disabilities. More details will be released soon, so keep an eye out!

Looking for financial tips? How To Navigate Student Banking During COVID-19.