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Canada Emergency Student Benefit

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit, or CESB, is student-centric financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

To offer financial support to post-secondary students and recent grads who lost work opportunities due to COVID-19, the government has introduced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) a $1,250 a-month taxable benefit available for up to 24 weeks. -The Canada Emergency Student Benefit is a Government of Canada program. 

This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).

Who Can Apply?

If you can work, you must be actively looking for work to be eligible to receive the CESB. If you still cannot find work due to COVID-19, you can re-apply for each CESB eligibility period that you are eligible for. You cannot apply for the CESB if you already applied for the CERB or EI. If you have already applied, or are receiving support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI) you are not eligible to apply for the CESB.


Check the below to see if you are eligible for the CESB:

  • You did not apply, receive, nor qualify, for the CERB or EI benefits for the same
    eligibility period

You are one of the following:

  • Canadian citizen
  • Registered Indian
  • Permanent resident
  • Protected person
  • You are studying in Canada or abroad

One of the following applies:

  • You are enrolled in a post-secondary educational program (at least 12 weeks in duration) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • Recognized post-secondary educational institutions
  • 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 postsecondary educational program that starts before February 1, 2021

The government says students should keep records of their daily job search activities to verify they have been looking for work during the eligibility period(s) they applied for. They recommend registering with the Government of Canada Job Bank.

What are the eligibility periods?

Eligibility period                              Amount (depending on eligibility)
May 10 to June 6, 2020$1,250 or $2,000
June 7 to July 4, 2020$1,250 or $2,000
July 5 to August 1, 2020$1,250 or $2,000
August 2 to August 29, 2020$1,250 or $2,000

Applicants can only apply for one eligibility period at a time. If their situation continues, they must re-apply for another 4-week eligibility period.

Eligibility conditions for the benefit top-up

If you meet all of the conditions above, you may also be eligible for an extra $750 every 4 weeks.

Additional support is available if at least one of the following applies:

  • You have a disability as defined for this benefit
  • You have at least one child under the age of 12 or other dependants

Verifying your eligibility

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will verify your eligibility to receive the CESB after you have applied. The CRA may ask you to provide supporting documents to confirm your eligibility at a later date. If we find that you are not eligible, we will contact you to make arrangements to repay any amounts you may owe.

Which periods you can apply for?

Each eligibility period is 4 weeks period with a specific start and end date. 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.

How do students apply?

The benefit will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. 

Students can apply through CRA My Account.

If they have not filed taxes before, they must call 1-800-959-8281 to register their Social Insurance Number (SIN) with the CRA.

They can also apply by calling 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 and following the instructions. They must have their SIN and eligibility periods ready.

Call the CESB general line for questions about:

  • CESB eligibility requirements
  • how much you could get
  • how and when to apply

Call the CRA’s general inquiries line for questions specific to your account information, including if you are:

  • Have trouble applying for the CESB because you haven’t filed a tax return recently
  • making changes to your account (updates to address or direct deposit)
  • Have trouble accessing your CRA My Account

Before you call:

To verify your identity, you’ll need your:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • full name and date of birth
  • assessed return, a notice of assessment or reassessment, or be signed in to your CRA My Account

The government recommends students set up direct deposits through CRA My Account or through their financial institution to receive the payments sooner. They should receive a payment within 3 business days.


Yes. You’ll get your full payment but will need to report it on next year’s tax filing. A T4A tax slip for the amount of CESB you receive will be made available for the 2020 tax year in CRA My Account under Tax Information Slips. If you repay the CESB before December 31, 2020, the CRA won’t include the amount that you’ve repaid on your T4A tax slip.

Your CESB payment will be delivered by direct deposit or cheque, depending on which option you selected. After you apply, you should get your payment within three business days if you registered for direct deposit. If you registered for a cheque, you can expect it to arrive within 10 days.

CESB eligibility periods are fixed in four-week periods from May to August 2020. If your situation continues, you must re-apply for the CESB for multiple periods, to a maximum of 24 weeks (six periods).

From May through August 2020, the CESB will provide $1,250 per month to eligible students, and $2,000 for students with dependents and disabilities.

If you still have unanswered questions:

These are complicated and potentially stressful times; if you have further questions, we suggest contacting the Filing Taxes team of professional accountants today at 416-479-8532. Schedule an NTR engagement appointment with us and take the first step towards proper management of your finances.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not consider your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Salman Rundhawa and Filing Taxes will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.

Salman Rundhawa
Salman Rundhawa
Salman Rundhawa is the founder of Filing Taxes. Salman provides valuable tax planning, accounting, and income tax preparation services in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, and Hamilton.

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