Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is spearheaded and calculated by the Canada Revenue Authority (CRA). The amount they calculate is not affected by any taxes, the benefiting families receive the fund monthly “tax-free”. 

The CCB may include child disability benefit. For a child to be eligible for the disability tax credit, a medical practitioner has to certify the T2201 Form, which is a Disability that Tax Credit Certificate. The Certificate serves as proof that the child has an impairment in physical or mental functions and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) approves the form.

How much should I expect to receive from Canada Child Benefit?

Canada child benefit is based on the family’s income from the previous year, the number of children in your care and the ages of children in question. Canada child benefit payments changes every July, based on your family income from the previous year, scaled to inflation. However, in 2020 the maximum amount you could get is $6,639 per year for children under 6 and $5,602 per year for children aged 6 to 17.

The amount paid to you is recalculated every July based on your previous year’s adjusted family income. For instance, the amount paid from July 2019 to June 2020 is based on 2018 income and the amount to be received from July 2020 to June 2021 will be based on the 2019 adjusted income.

Canada child benefit payment dates

The CRA makes Canada child benefit (CCB) payments on the following dates:

In cases where your total benefit amount for the year is less than $240, you will not receive a monthly payment. Instead, you will receive one lump sum payment with your July payment.

Who can apply and receive the Canada Child Benefit?

Parents who apply and get considered to receive the benefits are those who have children who are below the age of 18.  You also have to be the one primarily responsible for the care and upkeep of the child. By upkeep/upbringing of the child, it means you are responsible for engaging and following up on the child’s daily activities. For instance attending school meetings, sports and other recreational activities.

Primary responsibility also includes making sure that the child’s medical needs are met. Even though the Canada Health Care Providers have a significant role in medical decision-making throughout childhood, parents and legal guardians are the de facto decision-makers.

When both parents live with the child, the mother is usually considered as being the one primarily responsible for the upbringing of the child and therefore is eligible to apply for the Canada Child Benefit. However, if the father/ male parent is primarily responsible, he should apply and attach a signed letter from the female parent acknowledging that he is primarily responsible for all the children in the home.

What if in Custody?

In cases of custody, when a child lives with you most of the time, the Canada Child Benefit considers you as the one fully responsible and have full custody. Therefore, only you can apply. The Canada Revenue Authority will calculate your payment based on your family net income. CRA will not split the amount pay-out between you and the other parent, all the amount is paid to you.

The same applies if the child lives with the other parent most of the time. Only the other parent can apply for the CCB.

The CRA will calculate their payment based on their family net income (not taking into account your income), the payment will not be split between you and the other parent. CRA pays the whole amount to the parent responsible.

Shared custody

If the child spends their time about equally between the parents, then the CCB considers both of you to have shared custody of the child. Each parent must then apply for the benefits separately.

The CRA then calculates the amount each parent will get individually using the adjusted family net income of each home, respectively. Each parent will get exactly 50% of what they would have gotten if they had full custody of the child. For instance, if the paternal home was to receive $1000 when in full custody, they will receive $500 since its shared custody. The same applies to the maternal parent, if the amount in full custody is calculated to be $1800 then $900 will be paid to the parent. Neither of the parents will get the full amount.

In cases where the child spends time mostly with the other parent, but for a temporary period spends most of his time with you. Then you can apply to get Canada Child Benefit payment for that time period the child is with you. Cases like these do happen, where a child, for instance spends summer holidays with the other parent for a specific period. Parents are expected to let the CRA know about changes in custody situations.

I don’t understand why I stopped receiving the CCB payments

There are a number of reasons why your CCB payments are stopped. Most of the times it will be because you / other parent didn’t file their yearly tax returns. You have to make sure you file your annual tax returns on time, even if you have a modest income there are volunteers at a free tax clinic who may be able to help you complete your tax return for you.

Despite filing tax returns, there are other reasons that can make your Canada Child Benefit payment to be stopped. If you didn’t respond to a letter from CRA about your situation. And if you didn’t communicate with CRA about the address or bank account changes, changes in your marital status like divorce or you were married. Since recalculations are made every July. If the CRA finds that your income is now too high they stop your CCB payment. When your child is now 18 years or older the payment is stopped automatically. Or when you no longer have a child under your care.

Overpayments

Just to caution parents, REPORT overpayments made to you by the CRA as soon as they come through. Whenever you receive a Canada Child Benefit payment that is more than you are supposed to, you have to inform the CRA to avoid paying the benefits back in future. Keeping them will create debt for you and you don’t want that.

When your child is now over 18 years in age, you are no longer eligible to receive the Canada Child Benefit, therefore, you have to repay the funds paid to you thereafter.

By Shephard Dube

Shephard Dube is a lover of writing. Ranging from educational to informational to fictional writing. He writes on various topics, including but not limited to finance, politics, economics, self-help and law.

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