The Motley Fool

CRA Cash: Your $2,000 CRB Benefit Can Be Taken Away

Image source: Getty Images

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is the new federal COVID-19 relief program for displaced workers who will not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers the program that provides $500 weekly for up to 26 weeks.

However, non-eligibility to EI isn’t the only ticket to access CRB. Applicants must also meet specific requirements and not err in the filing of applications. Otherwise, the CRA can take away the $2,000 benefit.

Refusal to accept work

The CRA wants to pay CRB to people who need pandemic money the most. Thus, the tax agency suggests determining your eligibility before claiming CRB. First, you must attest that you’re out of work but available for work. Also, you’re actively searching for employment and did not refuse a work invitation.

You risk losing available CRB to you by 10 weeks as a penalty for refusing a reasonable job offer. Instead of 26 weeks, you could receive the benefit for up to 16 weeks only, which is costly because it amounts to $5,000 ($500 times 10).


When you apply for a specific eligibility period (two-weeks), make sure you’re out of income or work, employment or self-employment, for reasons related to the coronavirus.

You can be employed or working provided your average weekly income compared to the previous year has been reduced by 50%. Again, the reason for income reduction or fewer hours must be COVID-related. You must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020 or 12 months before the application date to be eligible.

Late discovery

A CRB recipient can lose the benefit entirely or repay the money in full. The CRA will demand a return or repayment if you applied for CRB then finds out you’re not eligible. Payment in error could happen too. In such a case, return the inadvertent pay-out as soon as possible.

Produce extra income

Canadians with gainful employment or work may not be eligible for CRB but can earn extra income from stable dividend-payer like the Summit Industrial (TSX:SMU.UN). This $2.22 billion real estate investment trust (REIT) is outperforming the TSX year to date (+14.72 versus -0.26%).

At the share price of $13.30, Summit Industrial pays a respectable 4.06% dividend. Your free money of $50,000 will earn $2,030. In a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), the income is 100% tax-free. In ten years, your capital will swell to $74,440.32.

Modern and high-quality light industrial properties are in demand in the pandemic. Summit Industrial owns and leases out 160 of them. The winning formula is that the utilization of each property is generic –  and therefore highly marketable. Tenants can use the properties as light assembly and shipping plants, storage facilities, and warehouses. This REIT therefore attracts a broad and diverse tenant base.

Summit Industrial maintains high stable occupancies (98.7% occupancy rate), lower market rent volatility, and reduced operating costs. Its net rental income (nine months ended September 30, 2020) increased by 40.8% compared with the same period in 2019.

Fulfilled promise

The federal government promised that no Canadians would be left behind during the pandemic. While CRB is most helpful, be sure to avoid mistakes that will prompt the CRA to take away your benefit.

Speaking of how the CRA can take away your $2,000 CRB...

Just Released! 5 Stocks Under $49 (FREE REPORT)

Motley Fool Canada's market-beating team has just released a brand-new FREE report revealing 5 "dirt cheap" stocks that you can buy today for under $49 a share.
Our team thinks these 5 stocks are critically undervalued, but more importantly, could potentially make Canadian investors who act quickly a fortune.
Don't miss out! Simply click the link below to grab your free copy and discover all 5 of these stocks now.

Claim your FREE 5-stock report now!

Fool contributor Christopher Liew has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends SUMMIT INDUSTRIAL INCOME REIT.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss an important event.

Iain Butler and the Stock Advisor Canada team only publish their new “buy alerts” twice a month, and only to an exclusively small group.

This is your chance to get in early on what could prove to be very special investment advice.

Enter your email address below to get started now, and join the other thousands of Canadians who have already signed up for their chance to get the market-beating advice from Stock Advisor Canada.