Everything You Need to Know About the CESB

The Prepped Team

May 29, 2020

6 minutes

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Just a few short months ago, you were likely excited to welcome the warm summer months. You probably had some potential summer jobs in mind and were ready to start saving up for next semester. Then everything changed, and all your plans got kyboshed, including most job opportunities around the country. If this sounds like you, there’s a silver lining. You are now eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). This benefit provides emergency financial relief to Canadian students who are unable to find work or whose employment offers have been rescinded due to coronavirus (COVID-19). As of May 15th, 2020, eligible high school and post-secondary graduates can apply for the monthly benefit. Here are the details.

Who is eligible for the CESB?

The Government of Canada website lists a series of requirements necessary before applying for the CESB. In addition to the below requirements, if you are able to work, you must be actively job-seeking to be eligible to receive the CESB. If you still cannot find work due to COVID-19, you can re-apply for each CESB period that you are eligible for. Requirements for the CESB:

  • You are a Canadian Citizen, registered Indian, permanent resident or protected person*
  • You are studying in Canada or abroad
  • You did not apply, receive, nor qualify, for the CERB or EI benefits for the same eligibility period.

One of the below requirements applies to you:

  • You are enrolled in a post-secondary educational program (at least 12 weeks in duration) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • You completed or ended your post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later
  • You completed or expect to complete high school, or received, or expect to receive your high school equivalency in 2020, and have applied for a post-secondary educational program that starts before February 1, 2021

One of the below requirements applies to you:

  • You are unable to work due to COVID-19
  • You are looking for, but cannot find work due to COVID-19
  • You are currently working during the COVID-19 pandemic, but your income from employment and self-employment has been $1,000 or less (before taxes) during the 4-week period you are applying for

* An individual who is recognized by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as a person in need of protection.NOTE:You cannot apply for the CESB if you already applied for the CERB or EI. Please review the full list of requirements to apply for the CESB on the Government of Canada website.

How to apply for the CESB?

  1. To apply to either benefit, visit the My Account page on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website. If you do not have a CRA My Account, you can register for one here.
  2. Once you qualify, funds will either be mailed to you or deposited directly into your bank account. The funds will be sent from the CRA.

You can also apply by phone. For more information on how to apply, visit the Government of Canada website.

What is the deadline for the CESB?

Dates and stipulations around application timelines will vary depending on whether you’re a post-secondary student or graduating high school. In general, the eligibility period lasts four weeks with specific start and end dates. When you apply, you will receive a payment for the specific eligibility period you applied for. You can only apply for one eligibility period at a time. If your situation continues, you must re-apply for another 4-week eligibility period. Visit the Government of Canada website for the full list of dates and requirements for CESB eligibility, depending on your circumstance.

What is the difference between the CESB and CERB, and why is it important?

Though they may sound similar, there are a few important differentiators between the CESB and CERB.

CESB vs CERB infographic
*** Please review the full list of requirements for the CERB and CESB on the Government of Canada website

How to return or repay your CESB

It’s important to note there are only a few circumstances where you will be required to return or repay the amount of your CESB to the Government of Canada:

  • If you are able to find work and are earning more than $1,000 (before taxes) during an eligibility period you’ve applied for
  • You’ve applied for CESB and later found that you are not eligible
  • You’ve received more than what you are entitled to

These repayments can be completed by mail, online banking or online through your My Account on the CRA website. Please review the complete details and instructions before making any payments.

Sign up with Prepped and plan for your next job

The CESB is a short-term solution, and you still need to be actively job searching in order to keep receiving CESB payments. Prepped can help you actively look for a job and increase your chances of finding one so that you can have long-term financial stability. Sign up for Prepped and get access to tools and templates to help you on your career journey.