Students - COVID-19 emergency support measures
The COVID-19 pandemic has put added pressure on students as the summer months is an opportunity to gain useful work experience and earn a little extra cash for the upcoming semester. The good news is that the Government of Canada has announced a number of financial support measures to help alleiveate some financial pressure for students during these extraorindary times. There are at least five specific provisions the federal government has made available to help students and it can get confusing. To simply, first is to ask yourself the follwowing questions:
1. What decisions do I have to make to relieve my financial stress; and
2. What kind of additional financial advice do I need and which do I qualify for?
Here is a synopsis and links to the various support programs. Please bookmark the applicable links as a point of reference as there will be updates and announcements in the coming days and weeks on these programs.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – Receive up to $2,000 a month for 16 weeks. To be eligible you must have earned a minimum or $5,000 in the last 12-months and no more than $1,000 per month in the qualifying periods for this benefit. If an eligible student claims the CERB, the CESB cannot be claimed for the same application period. Therefore, it appears in most cases where a student is eligible for both the CESB and the CERB, that such student claims the CERB as it provides a higher standard monthly benefit ($2,000 versus $1,250).
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit is a second benefit that will be available through the CRA portal from May-August 2020. Students and recent grads can receive $1,250 per month from May to August only. (Total of $5,000). Students taking care of someone else (due to the pandemic) or those with a disability will receive a top-up, for a total of $1,750 per month. (Total of $7,000).
Applications for this benefit are not yet available but are expected to be posted on the CRA website in the near future (keep checking). It is expected that there will be 4 application periods, with each application period spanning 4 weeks. Eligible students will likely have to reapply for each period. Once open, the applications will be available until September 30, 2020. After this date, retroactive applications will no longer be accepted, even if a student was eligible between May and August 2020.
Moreover, the CESB rules require students to attest that they are seeking work. To that end, the federal government has indicated that they will release a government-managed job posting system for students providing information about employment opportunities.
The Canada Student Service Grant. Gain some work experience volunteering over the summer in ways that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Receive between $1,000 and $5,000, dependent upon the number of hours worked.
Canada Student Grants. These have been doubled. Eligible full-time students can receive up to $6,000; and $3,600 is available for part-time students in 2020-2021. Canada Student Grants for students with permanent disabilities and students with dependents have been doubled, too.
Waived student loan payments. Take advantage of a six month interest-free period on the repayment of your Canada Student loans until the end of September. There is nothing to apply for; simply stop paying in the pause period.
Feel free to reach out if you'd like to discuss further and how these programs may affect your personal situation.