The federal government announced it would be "reaching out" in the coming months.
The CERB money you got at the beginning of the pandemic may be long gone, but there's still a chance that you'll have to repay it. The Government of Canada announced that certain people who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit continue to owe the government money — and they're about to come asking for it.
A statement issued by the minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion on November 25 says Service Canada will be "reaching out directly" to these people. More specifically, those of you who owe funds will reportedly get a notice from Service Canada outlining how much you owe, the process to repay it and how you can appeal the decision.
If you receive #CERB through Service Canada, you were given an advance payment of $2,000 to get you money ASAP. \n\nTo cover this advance, there will be a 2nd period during your claim for which you will receive no payment or 2 reduced payments.pic.twitter.com/n3LsT0hVCD— Service Canada (@Service Canada) 1596043205
In the statement, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough explains that this applies to people who got CERB early in the pandemic through Service Canada rather than CRA. She says this was considered an "advance CERB payment" meant to "get support out to Canadians as quickly as possible."
Most people made up for this as they continued to receive CERB by getting no payments or reduced payments some months. But, if you went off CERB when you went back to work, you may not have had the opportunity to make up for the advance.
"Service Canada will now begin reaching out directly to those individuals who went off the CERB after returning to work and prior to that payment being reconciled," says Qualtrough's statement. "Over the next number of months, the Government of Canada will be working with Canadians who may be required to make a repayment."
Minister Qualtrough says the goal isn't to place Canadians in a financial hole just because they took advantage of the benefits the system offered at the time. She says the government is ready to "work with Canadians to establish flexible repayment schedules if needed, with an eye to pay."
At the same time, the statement says the government has "zero tolerance for fraud" and is continuing to look for cases of "misrepresentation, abuse or fraud related to the CERB." So you may also hear from the government if you weren't entitled to the benefit but you got it anyway.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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