CERB: How to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit


The Government of Canada is making it easier for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and International Students to apply for COVID-19 cash aid, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

CERB provides CAD$500.00 per week to applicants who have become unemployed or are unable to find employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants must have made at least CAD$5,000.00 within the last 12 months and did not resign from their jobs.

OFWs and International Students only need to verbally confirm that they have a valid Work Permit or Study Permit, or are in the process of applying for a new one to be able to apply for CERB.

The changes to the CERB application process was made last Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Previously, OFWs and International Students had to provide a scanned copy of their valid Work Permit or Study Permit.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the government agency in charge of processing CERB applications, has waived the requirement, now allowing anyone with a Social Insurance Number (SIN) starting with the number 9 to apply for CERB.

Additional documents, including scanned copies of Work Permits and Study Permits, may be requested at a later date.

OFWs and International Students who are eligible for CERB will receive CAD$2,000.00.

ESDC told the National Post that 39,319 International students have submitted CERB applications, with 30,645 payments already made.

If you lost your job due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can provide you with temporary income support.


CERB is a temporary income support program from the Government of Canada. Eligible applicants will receive temporary income support for a specific period of time.


Eligible applicants can receive up to CAD$500.00 a week for a maximum period of 16 weeks.

That’s CAD$2,000 per month for a maximum of four months.


You can start applying for the CERB on Monday, April 6, 2020.


Applications for CERB will be handled by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can apply online or by telephone.

To help with managing the large volumes of applications, CRA is asking applicants to apply based on their birth month.

If you were born on January, February or March, you can apply for CERB on Mondays, starting Monday, April 6, 2020.

If you were born on April, May or June, you can apply for CERB on Tuesdays, starting Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

If you were born on July, **August ** or September, you can apply for CERB on Wednesdays, starting Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

If you were born on October, November or December, you can apply for CERB on Thursdays, starting Thursday, April 9, 2020.

You can also call the CRA on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but expect significantly longer wait times during these days because anyone can call on these days (regardless of their birth months).

You can apply for two ways: online (CRA My Account) and by phone.

In you are applying online, set up your CRA My Account here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html

Make sure that you have your banking information before applying online or by phone. If you need to update your direct deposit and mailing information, click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html

You can apply both online and by phone 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. CRA will not be accepting applications from 3:00am to 6:00am for systems maintenance.


To be able to apply for CERB, you have to meet the minimum requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old, and residing in Canada
  • You must have stopped working because of COVID-19 (or eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits
  • You must also have had an income of at least CAD$5,000 in 2019 (or 12 months prior to your CERB application)
  • You must also be expecting to be without employment nor self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days for the first four week period (for subsequent benefit periods, you must expect to have no employment income)

Take note that the income of at least CAD$5,000 must be in the form of (or a combination of):

  • Employment
  • Self-employment
  • Maternity and paternal benefits under the Employment Insurance program (or similar benefits under the Quebec Parental Insurance Program)

CERB is only available for people who stopped work because of COVID-19 related reasons.

If you are currently unemployed and did not become unemployed due to COVID-19, you will not be eligible for CERB.

You will need to provide the CRA your personal contact information, as well as your Social Insurance Number (SIN) so that they can check to see if you are eligible to receive CERB.

The CRA might also ask you for additional information.


If you already receiving EI regular benefits, you will continue to receive these benefits until the end of the benefit period.

If your benefits end before October 3, 2020 and you meet the minimum requirements, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit provided you meet the minimum requirements, including not being able to work for reasons related to COVID-19.

You can NOT receive EI benefits and CERB at the same time.

For further instructions, click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html


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