Rounding it up
The CWLB provides income relief for workers impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns.
Eligible Canadians can receive $300 per week.
You can find out whether you’re eligible and apply for the CWLB on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.
If you qualify for CWLB, set up direct deposit to access the benefit quickly.
First there was CERB, then there was CRB; now, there’s CWLB. Confused? Don’t be. Here’s everything you need to know about the government’s latest COVID-19 benefit program.
First, some background. All of the provinces and territories have announced lockdowns again, following a new wave of COVID cases caused by the Omicron variant. This time around, the lockdowns include closures to indoor dining, gyms, museums, and concert halls, as well as capacity reductions for places like shopping malls, retail stores, personal care services, and public libraries. As a result, many Canadians now find themselves out of a job or receiving reduced income.
Fortunately, if you’re unable to work — or have had your income reduced by 50% — because of the most recent lockdown, you might qualify for CWLB. Here are all the important details you should know.
What is CWLB?
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) is similar to last year’s CERB in that it’s income support provided to those whose employment has been affected by COVID-19. There are some differences, though. The CWLB provides weekly payments to Canadians who can’t work because of a COVID-19 lockdown. If you’re eligible, you can receive $300 per week ($270 after taxes). You can also apply for it each week during a lockdown until May 7, 2022.
Are you eligible for CWLB?
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website provides a detailed breakdown on who can apply, but here’s the gist.
To be eligible, you have to be unable to work or have had 50% of your weekly income reduced as a result of a COVID-19 lockdown. You also have to live in an eligible region, have not quit your job or refused work, and have not received any other benefits, such as employment insurance (EI).
How to apply for CWLB
Similar to CERB and CRB, applications can be made online, through your CRA MY Account, or by phone at 1-800-959-8281.
One thing you should know is that CWLB doesn’t renew automatically, so you’ll have to reapply each week that regional lockdowns continue. You’ll also have to continue to meet all the eligibility criteria to continue receiving the benefit each week.
Once you’ve applied and are determined eligible, you should receive your first week’s relief payment within 3 to 5 business days if you have direct deposit set up within your CRA account. For additional benefits (more on that below) you can set up direct deposit to your KOHO account. If you don’t have direct deposit, you’ll have to wait 10 to 12 business days to receive a cheque by mail.
Using KOHO to collect CWLB
When applying for CWLB, it’s a great idea to set up direct deposit through the CRA’s portal — that way you’ll be sure to receive your relief ASAP. It’s also super simple to do and makes the entire application process easier.
Using your KOHO account for CRA direct deposit has its added benefits, in our humble and (somewhat) biased opinion. It can help you earn cash back on purchases, is completely free to set up, and saves you money on account fees (since we don’t charge any) — which is especially important when things are a little tighter. Another benefit is that it can help you track your spending, which comes in handy when trying to stick to a budget.
If you have the government directly deposit the funds into your KOHO account, you’ll be eligible to earn interest* on those payments.
A TL;DR checklist:
o Apply for CWLB through your CRA My Account Portal.
o Set up direct deposit to your KOHO account on the CRA website.
o Spend, save, and earn cash back.
o Wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay safe.
*Interest rates are per year, calculated daily, paid monthly, and can change at any time without notice.