It takes a lot of money to build and sustain a family. As soon as a couple decides to have a child, they must pay for essential living expenses, like clothing, insurance, education, health expenses, food, and shelter. Because the cost can be too high for some families to care for their children properly, eligible households can take advantage of the Canada Child Benefit.
The Canada Child Benefit is a way for families to minimize the expenses of raising their children. The guide below will explain the application process for the Canada child benefit.
What Is the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)?
The Canada Child Benefit is the new version of the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), which provides monetary support to families without a high income. The purpose of the monthly benefits is to help parents cover the cost of raising children.
The Canada Child Benefit replaced the country’s Child Tax Benefit in 2016. Low-income families can receive a higher benefit amount under the updated program because of the program’s changes.
Parents participating in the Canada Child Benefit program can receive monthly tax-free payments for children under 18. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) governs the program. However, it isn’t necessary to include the income on tax returns as long as parents file taxes each year.
Parents must be eligible for the program to receive the benefit. It’s also possible for some households to get extra benefits and tax credits for children to cover essential expenses, such as child disability and provincial benefits.
How Much Is the Canada Child Benefit Payment?
The amount you could receive under the Canada Child Benefit depends on several factors, including:
- Your marital status
- How many children reside in your household and under your care
- Your children’s ages
- Your AFNI or adjusted family net income on the previous year’s tax return
The benefit year runs from July to June. Every July, the CRA recalculates payments using the parents’ tax information from the previous year.
For instance, if you have one child in your care under the age of six and an AFNI under $32,028, you could receive $6,833 a year or $569.41 a month for them. That is the maximum payment for a child within that age and AFNI bracket. However, you could receive the same amount for two children each within the same bracket, or $480.41 a month for each child between the ages of 6 to 17.
The more money you make exceeding $32,028 a year, the less payment you will receive for each child in your care.
Eligibility for the Canada Child Benefit
Even if you are the head of a low-income family, that does not mean you automatically qualify for the Child Benefit. You, your spouse, or your common-law partner must either be a Canadian citizen, protected person, permanent resident, or an Indigenous person according to the definition within the Indian Act. Temporary Canadian residents may qualify if they hold a valid permit after living in the country for 18 months.
Other qualifications you must meet to be eligible for the Canada Child Benefit include:
- Have at least one child in your home under 18
- Be the child’s primary provider
- File taxes in Canada
You could receive the benefit if you are a foster parent or the guardian of a child under the kinship or close relationship program. However, you cannot participate in the Canada Child Benefit program if you receive payments from the Children’s Special Allowances program.
How to Apply for the Family Benefit
If you need to claim the Child Benefit, you can do so as soon as your child is born or moves in with you. You can apply if your household structure and finances change and thus make you eligible for the benefit. You can also seek payments if you get custody of a child or experience a change in a shared custody arrangement.
You can apply for the benefit when your child is born through the birth registration process for your province or territory. The birthing centre or hospital usually handles the registration by paper. However, Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta residents can complete registration online.
To apply after your child’s birth, you can do so through the My Account section of your CRA account. When you sign onto the platform and click “Apply for child benefits,” you can confirm your personal and financial details and information about your child’s gender, birth date, and place of birth.
Applying by mail is another option using Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application. Though it takes about eight weeks to receive your first payment when applying by the birth registry or your CRA account, it will take about 11 weeks to receive your funds after mailing your application.
Supporting Documents to Include with the Application
Sometimes, the CRA needs supporting documents to determine a household’s eligibility for the Canada Child Benefit. You may need to provide additional documents if you or your spouse are new to Canada or if another parent is primarily responsible for your child.
What Happens After Submitting the Canada Child Benefit Application
After submitting your application, you will receive a Canada Child Benefit notice. Based on specific factors, it will tell you if you qualify for payments and how much you will receive. It takes an average of 80 calendar days to receive the document.
Should you decide to continue receiving the benefit after a year, you and your partner must file separate tax returns each year. It doesn’t matter if one or both of you don’t have income; you must file taxes.
Keep Your Children Safe and Healthy
With the rising cost of having children, embracing family benefits has become essential for many Canadian households. The monthly Canada Child Benefit payments will help low-income families care for their children. However, your family may also benefit from insurance products that provide supplemental coverage for various purposes, from medical expenses to life insurance.
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