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CERB Alternatives Can Give You More Than $13,000 in CRA COVID-19 Benefits

Coronavirus written newspaper close up shot to the text.
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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) alternatives are here. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is leading the charge of the new non-Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. They are CERB extensions, as they go beyond unemployment and also cover sickness and caregiving.

The CRA COVID-19 benefits

The CRA has introduced three new benefits to give Canadians the flexibility they need to live and work in the COVID-19 economy. 
  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of up to $13,000 for 26 weeks
  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of up to $1,000 for two weeks
  • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of up to $13,000 for 26 weeks

The new economy has new challenges, like job security, frequent health issues, and temporary containment zones. The government believes that it will take at least a year before the economy sees some steady recovery. Until then (September 25, 2021), the above three recovery benefits will take care of the difficult times. 12 months is a long time, and every claimant can max out one of the three benefits.

If you are eligible, you can get more than $13,000 in CRA COVID-19 benefits. I will present two different scenarios and explain how much you can get in these benefits. Remember, when you apply for any one of the three benefits, you should not be receiving any other benefit, either from the state, the federal government, or your employer.

A single person 

If you are a single person with no dependents, you can claim up to $14,000 in CRA COVID-19 benefits.

Jane lives alone and owns a retail store. The retail industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Before the pandemic, her average weekly income (profit from the store) came out to $2,000. But now her weekly income is around $500. She can claim up to $13,000 in CRB for up to 26 weeks until the demand recovers.

While working at the store, she contracted COVID-19 from one of her customers and had to self-isolate herself. For the 14-day quarantine period, she can let go of the CRB for that period and instead claim the $1,000 CRSB. This way, Jane can get a maximum of $14,000 in CRA benefits across 28 weeks.

A household with a single earning member 

If you are a family, or a single parent, with only a single earning member, you can claim up to $26,000 in CRA COVID-19 benefits. For instance, Danny lives with his seven-year-old daughter, who has a critical illness that puts her at high risk if she contracts COVID-19. Danny works as a car salesman and earns most of his income from commission. He doesn’t have EI. His sales commission was cut by half, as the business was slow. He can claim up to $13,000 in CRB for any of the 26 weeks his income took a significant hit.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a shortage of medical staff. The nurse caring for the daughter takes frequent holidays, and there is no other caregiver available. So, Danny has to stay home and care for his daughter. If his work hours are reduced by more than 50%, he can claim CRCB when he is not claiming CRB. He can get up to $13,000 in CRCB for 26 weeks. Both the benefits add up to $26,000 for 52 weeks.

Make the most of the CRA benefits

The above CRA benefits can give Canadians the power of liquidity to fight the pandemic. You can enhance this liquidity further by investing $100 a week from the benefits in a dividend stock like SmartCentres REIT. The current crisis has created short-term headwinds for the retail real estate business. Hence, the stock is down 38% near its all-time low.

SmartCentres REIT is facing a reduction in rent collected and fair value of investment property, lower occupancy rate, and higher risk of credit default. These headwinds could impact its short-term profitability, but long-term growth is intact. You can lock in its current dividend yield of 9% for a lifetime by investing now.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Puja Tayal has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Smart REIT.

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