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How do I know if I need to repay CERB or EI benefits?

SOLVEDby TurboTax7Updated 4 weeks ago

If one of the following scenarios applies to you, then you need to return or repay the CERB overpayment to the department you received it from (the CRA or Service Canada):

If you had less than $5,000 in employment income or net self-employment income in both 2019 and in the twelve months before applying for the CERB, repayment is required.

You may have applied for a four-week eligibility period and didn't expect to return to work or earn income for those four weeks. If you were rehired and/or received backpay during that time, you need to repay the CERB for that same four-week period.

You could fall under one of two scenarios:

  1. For the period of March 15 to April 11, 2020, you had no consecutive 14-day stretch where your income was under $1,000 (before tax). The CERB will need to be repaid.
  2. For any later period (beginning after April 11, 2020), your income was more than $1,000 (before tax) and you also received the CERB in the period immediately before. Repayment of the full $2,000 for that later period is required.  

For example, for the period of June 7 to July 4, 2020:

  • You received the CERB
  • You had $1,100 in income
  • You also received the CERB for May 10 to June 6, 2020

You'll need to repay the CERB for the period of June 7 to July 4.

If you mistakenly applied for and received the CERB from Employment Insurance/Service Canada and the CRA for the same eligibility period, you need to return or repay the overpayment to the CRA.

The CRA will compare employers’ payroll records with the information on CERB claims. You might receive a letter from the CRA about:

  • Validation of your application
  • Your income and the $5,000 income threshold
  • A request for more information or documents

While the CRA recognizes that you may have made an honest mistake when applying for the CERB, or that your employment status or earned income might have changed unexpectedly, you must return any overpayment.

If you're unable to return or repay the CERB right away, you can contact the CRA to arrange repayment for any amounts owing.

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