Over the past few years, inflation and associated interest rate hikes have driven up the cost of living across Canada, making even basic necessities more expensive while wage hikes lag. With the current rate of inflation hovering around 4%, many hardworking Canadians struggle to make ends meet.
The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit for low-income workers and families. The benefit is intended to help ease the financial burden associated with the rising costs of necessities. The CWB has two parts: a basic amount and a disability supplement.
Read on to determine whether you and your family are eligible, how to request the benefit, and when to expect your payments.
How much can you receive?
The amount of CWB benefit you can receive varies based on the following factors:
- Your working income
- Your marital status
- Number of dependents
- Your/your family’s adjusted net income
- Your province or territory of residence
Note: Quebec, Nunavut, and Alberta have different maximum benefit amounts than other provinces and territories. Use this information as a starting point, but verify the specifics based on your province of residence.
Basic benefit amounts
The maximum basic benefit amount is $1,428 for single workers, but individuals with an adjusted net income over $23,495 will receive a reduced benefit. Individuals with an adjusted net income over $33,015 won’t receive a basic benefit.
The maximum basic benefit amount for families is $2,461. Families with an adjusted net income over $26,805 will receive a reduced benefit, and families with an adjusted net income over $43,212 will not receive the basic benefit.
Disability supplement amounts
Single individuals can receive up to $737 as a CWB disability supplement. That amount will be reduced for those with an adjusted net income over $33,018, and those with an adjusted net income over $37,0932 will not receive the disability supplement.
The maximum disability supplement for families is $737 and is reduced for families with an adjusted net income over $43,210. If one spouse earns over $48,124, no disability benefit will be paid. In families where both spouses are eligible for the disability tax credit, the benefit will not be awarded if the adjusted family net income is over $53,037.
Enhancements to the Canada Workers Benefit
In July 2023, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced an enhanced Canada Workers Benefit to provide additional support for the lowest-paid individuals and families in Canada. With the workers benefit enhancement, single individuals will receive a total of $1,518, and eligible families will receive a total of $2,616 split between three advance payments in the 2023 fiscal year: July 2023, October 2023, and January 2024.
Eligibility requirements for the CWB
To be eligible for the basic Canada Worker’s Benefit, you must meet the following criteria:
- Earn at least $3000 from working (not through another form of benefit) and have a net income below the net income level for your province or territory of residence
- Be 19 or older on December 31, 2022, or living with your spouse/common-law partner or your child
- Be a resident of Canada throughout the year
If any of the following are true, you are not eligible for the CWB:
- You were enrolled as a full-time student for more than 13 weeks in the year (unless you had an eligible dependent living with you at any point during the year)
- Were in prison (or a similar institution) for 90 days or more during the year
- Are tax-exempt as a foreign diplomat or a family member or employee of such a person
Canada Workers Benefit Disability Supplement eligibility
You may be eligible for the disability supplement if you meet the following criteria:
- You are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (Form T2201), and your approved disability tax credit certificate is on file with the CRA
- You earn working income below the maximum net income allowable for your province or territory
How do I apply for the Canada Workers Benefit?
To claim the Canada Workers Benefit, you must fill out Schedule 6 when filing your taxes. If you use electronic accounting software, it should walk you through determining your eligibility and inputting the necessary information. If in doubt, refer to the specific documentation for the tax software you use.
If you file a paper tax return, fill out the Schedule 6 form and submit it with the rest of your tax paperwork.
If you are eligible to receive the Canada Workers Benefit, the CRA will send you payments automatically.
The Advanced Canada Workers Benefit (ACWB) is automatically enabled if you submit your income tax and benefit return before November 1st of the benefit period. When you do so, you will receive up to 50% of the CWB benefit on a preset schedule.
Payment dates for the CWB advance
The automatic advance payment dates for the 2023 Canada Workers Benefit are:
- April 5, 2023
- July 12, 2023
- October 12, 2023
- January 12, 2024
In instances where the payment date falls on a weekend or a federal statutory holiday, payments will be remitted on the last business day before the payment date.
Additional Tax Credits for Low-income Canadians
If you qualify for the Canada Workers Benefit, there’s a chance you’re eligible for these other tax credit programs too.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
This is a tax-free monthly payment that goes to the primary caregiver of a child under 18. The CCB is intended to offset the costs associated with raising children. It is typically awarded only to the primary caregiver or parent. When two parents live in the home, the CCB usually goes to the female parent. Visit this site to review the eligibility requirements for this benefit.
Canada Dental Benefit
This benefit is offered on behalf of the federal government to lower dental costs for families with an income under $90,000 per year. The benefit applies to eligible dependents under 12 years old, and families must apply for the benefit. Once the application is approved, the CRA will administer payments automatically. The amount of money awarded depends on the adjusted family net income for the year. To learn more, visit this site.
Can I get a loan while receiving the Canada Workers Benefit?
The Canada Workers Benefit is considered income in the eyes of lenders, meaning it may help you qualify for a loan. However, lenders will examine other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, your credit score, and your employment status when determining loan eligibility.
Before taking out a personal loan, ensure you have a budget in place to avoid over-extending yourself with additional payments. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, try looking for ways to earn more money, rather than taking on more debt to cover your expenses.