Unclear wording of CERB eligibility means some recipients asked to pay everything back

petros

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Nov 21, 2008
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Some CERB recipients set to get notices they must repay portion of aid money
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Publishing date:Nov 25, 2021 • 5 hours ago • 1 minute read • 9 Comments
CERB cheques are pictured in this file photo.
CERB cheques are pictured in this file photo. PHOTO BY FILE PHOTO /Postmedia Network
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OTTAWA — Some Canadians who received a pandemic jobless benefit are set to receive notices that they have to repay some of the aid they received last year.

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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit was rolled out at the onset of the pandemic during a historic drop in the labour market — three million jobs lost and two million people with hours cut. The government sent $2,000 payments to some recipients who applied through Service Canada as an advance on the first four weeks to help households who saw sudden loss of earnings.


The idea was to reconcile the payment at some point during the time CERB was available, which is why many who got the advance saw a break in benefits during the summer of 2020.

The government now says there are still recipients who owe some or all of the $2,000, specifically those who were not entitled to the aid or didn’t collect CERB for at least 20 weeks.


Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says anyone who needs it will get a flexible repayment schedule and there will be no penalties or interest charged on the overpayment.

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CERB cheques are pictured in this file photo.
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CERB cheques are pictured in this file photo.
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“Canadians will not be put into financial hardship by having to repay emergency benefits they received,” Qualtrough says in a statement.

Those who owe money will get a notice from Service Canada outlining how much they owe, the process to repay, and how they can appeal the decision.
Good luck with that.
 
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harrylee

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Mar 22, 2019
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In March 2020 I was semi-retired, worked part time making about $1200 a month. I was laid of due to Covid closures for 4 months.

When I applied and got my 4 months of CERB, I stuck it in my savings and it's still there. I met all the conditions they asked for but was still concerned that they would find a way to screw it up, which they did. I have received no notice that I now do not qualify, paid tax on it, so I figure it's mine.
Like a government official said years ago....."I am entitled to my entitlement"
 
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Tecumsehsbones

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Mar 18, 2013
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In March 2020 I was semi-retired, worked part time making about $1200 a month. I was laid of due to Covid closures for 4 months.

When I applied and got my 4 months of CERB, I stuck it in my savings and it's still there. I met all the conditions they asked for but was still concerned that they would find a way to screw it up, which they did. I have received no notice that I now do not qualify, paid tax on it, so I figure it's mine.
Like a government official said years ago....."I am entitled to my entitlement"
Friend of mine got $10,000 from the Air Force (misplaced decimal point on his pay). He banked it in a separate account, and when they came after him three years later, he wrote them a cheque for the $10K, kept the 1200 dollars in interest he'd made, and everybody was happy.
 

harrylee

Electoral Member
Mar 22, 2019
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Friend of mine got $10,000 from the Air Force (misplaced decimal point on his pay). He banked it in a separate account, and when they came after him three years later, he wrote them a cheque for the $10K, kept the 1200 dollars in interest he'd made, and everybody was happy.
That is my thought also, but at todays interest rates, I may be able to buy a coffee and donut at Timmies with the interest.
 
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Tecumsehsbones

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That is my thought also, but at todays interest rates, I may be able to buy a coffee and donut at Timmies with the interest.
No kidding. Right now in the U.S., money market accounts (a type of savings account) pays less than CDs. Which just shows how weird it gets when the government lends money for free.
 

Dixie Cup

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Sep 16, 2006
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Fact is many people thought they could latch on to some free taxpayer money. The "penalties" they are facing are no different that those of us that retired last year. OAP is based on the previous year's income, so most people are not going to receive the full benefit the first year of retirement. Anyone already col;ecting a pension should not have even applied for CERB.
I agree. I retired in Oct '20 and never even thought about applying for anything because I knew I wasn't entitled to receive. All one had to do is look it up on-line. We did, surprisingly receive $300 each back in May/June '20 (??) - but nothing else. We'll likely have to pay tax on it but fortunately, it wasn't much so I doubt we will have a tax bill this year.

It still surprises me, even after working with taxes for 18 years, that people think that the money they receive will have no tax consequences. I even had someone ask why they have to pay tax on CPP as they thought it was tax free. No, it isn't because you deduct your CPP (and EI) contributions on your tax return (from your pay cheque) so that amount is not taxable which is why you pay tax when you actually collect - Not unlike your RRSP! Sigh.... Having said that, most people don't do their own taxes so they likely don't even realize that.
 

taxslave

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I agree. I retired in Oct '20 and never even thought about applying for anything because I knew I wasn't entitled to receive. All one had to do is look it up on-line. We did, surprisingly receive $300 each back in May/June '20 (??) - but nothing else. We'll likely have to pay tax on it but fortunately, it wasn't much so I doubt we will have a tax bill this year.

It still surprises me, even after working with taxes for 18 years, that people think that the money they receive will have no tax consequences. I even had someone ask why they have to pay tax on CPP as they thought it was tax free. No, it isn't because you deduct your CPP (and EI) contributions on your tax return (from your pay cheque) so that amount is not taxable which is why you pay tax when you actually collect - Not unlike your RRSP! Sigh.... Having said that, most people don't do their own taxes so they likely don't even realize that.
There is still no reason why CPP should be taxable. Just theft by government.
 

Dixie Cup

House Member
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There is still no reason why CPP should be taxable. Just theft by government.
Since it's considered income and is not taxed when you contribute, it's taxed at a much lower rate when you retire as your income isn't as high. At least, that's the reasoning. I also contributed to an RRSP and now that I'm drawing down on it on a monthly basis, I'm taxed on it as well. But, as I also said earlier, I deducted my contributions at tax time thus I will be taxed on the funds at a lower rate because my only income is CPP, OAS & the RRSP. My income has dropped considerably so that I pay little to no tax. Most people simply have CPP and OAS; however, the supplement from OAS one can receive (if eligible) isn't taxable FYI.
 

taxslave

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Nov 25, 2008
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I know what the government's reasoning is. I still consider it theft. Also CPP is much lower than it should be considering the amount of money both workers and their employers contribute every year. Many of us contribute more than required, as do our employers. We get our overpayment back, but the employer's portion is just kept in the pot. I don't consider $1100/month very good return on 50 years worth of forced investing.
 

Mowich

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I agree. I retired in Oct '20 and never even thought about applying for anything because I knew I wasn't entitled to receive. All one had to do is look it up on-line. We did, surprisingly receive $300 each back in May/June '20 (??) - but nothing else. We'll likely have to pay tax on it but fortunately, it wasn't much so I doubt we will have a tax bill this year.

It still surprises me, even after working with taxes for 18 years, that people think that the money they receive will have no tax consequences. I even had someone ask why they have to pay tax on CPP as they thought it was tax free. No, it isn't because you deduct your CPP (and EI) contributions on your tax return (from your pay cheque) so that amount is not taxable which is why you pay tax when you actually collect - Not unlike your RRSP! Sigh.... Having said that, most people don't do their own taxes so they likely don't even realize that.
I looked into CERB too Dixie. It was made perfectly clear that it was taxable. Wasn't at all interested in applying but the taxable part made sure I would not apply. Like the saying goes, nothing in this world is free.
 
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TheShadow

Electoral Member
Apr 24, 2020
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I am shocked at how many people applied and thought it was free.

In fact, now that it's tax time again they are shocked they have to pay it back.

It's just sad really as it's messing with many low and fixed income people.