Ever since the CERB ended, unemployed Canadians have been wondering about to the transition to CRB. While people with regular jobs gained access to EI quickly, the CRB rollout has taken a lot more time. This has been a thorn in the side of self-employed people, many of whom have been left unemployed by COVID-19.
Next week, the wait is over.
On October 12, CRB applications officially open in CRA MyAccount. You’ll be able to start your application Monday morning, and receive your benefits in as little as three days after that. If you recently got your last CERB payment and are waiting to transition to the CRB, you’re probably excited to get started. Here’s how.
How to apply
There are three simple steps you need to follow to apply for the CRB on Monday:
- Log in to your account on Canada.ca.
- Set up direct deposit if you don’t have it set up already.
- Begin your application form.
The third step on this list is the most involved. You’ll have to provide some info on your employment situation, and possibly some basic demographic details. If you’re confused about anything you see on the CRB application form, you can call the CRA for assistance.
What the CRB could mean for you
If you’re unemployed, the CRB has the potential to make a big difference in your life.
Like the CERB, the CRB pays $500 a week. Unlike the CERB, the CRB has $50 in taxes withheld immediately, which means that the actual cheque will be of lesser value. But it should be roughly the same post-tax amount, assuming you paid taxes owing on the CERB.
As well, $450 a week could go a long way. First and foremost, it could help you pay for rent, groceries and utilities, among other daily necessities.
If you have some money left over after those are taken care of, you could even invest some of your CRB money. Assuming you pay for all your necessities first, there’s nothing wrong with saving for a rainy day.
Imagine you invested $5,000 in an index fund like the iShares S&P/TSX Capped Composite Fund (TSX:XIC). That’s an ETF that–according to Blackrock—yields 3.2% at today’s prices. By invest $5,000 at a 3% yield, you get $150 back in annual income. While that might not sound like much, if you added to the position over time, you’d gradually increase your payouts. You could also see increasing income from dividend hikes. By following up a $5,000 investment this year with additional $5,000 investments every year after that, you could get a nice passive income stream going.
It’s a nice way to put your CRB money to work for you.
Again, daily necessities come first. But if you have money left over, investing it in an index fund like XIC could be a great way to prepare yourself for the future.
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Fool contributor Andrew Button has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.