CRA sends a new round letter confirming eligibility from CERB recipients

Ottawa — The Canada Revenue Agency will send a new round of letters to recipients of pandemic aid to confirm they are eligible for assistance and to warn them of the potential need for repayment.

This is the second time the agency has mailed to the recipients of Canadian Emergency Response Benefits as part of the process of qualifying millions of Canadians who received $ 500 a week in benefits.

Near the end of 2020, the CRA sent more than 441,000 letters to CERB recipients asking them to confirm that they meet the payment eligibility rules.

Thousands more will be leaving from Thursday. This time around, we’re targeting recipients who may have earned more than $ 1,000 a month as approved by the liberals since mid-April 2020.

Authorities say the people receiving the letter have tax information that suggests that they are earning too much during the period of assistance.

The letter states that CRA will work on a flexible repayment plan for those who have to repay a portion of their money without interest, but warns that this does not apply to those who do not accept government responsibility. ..

The federal government only required the applicant to quickly deploy CERB in the event of a pandemic and prove that the applicant was eligible.

The government has selected several pre-verification checks to speed up payments during the blockade in March and April 2020, when 3 million jobs were lost.

Ultimately, CERB donated $ 81.64 billion to 8.9 million recipients.

The government has long said authorities will consider ex post facto claims to regain tort payments.

The government said it would spend four years tracking all fraudulent payments after a critical review in March last year of Auditor Karen Hogan’s missed opportunity to prevent fraud and fraudulent payments. rice field.

“Several letters coming out this week, it’s the beginning. We’ll start with thousands,” said Marc Lemieux, CRA’s assistant commissioner for collection and verification. “But in the end, for a program of that size, I think we’ll have to send hundreds of thousands of letters and ask people to verify their eligibility.”

A letter sent in late 2020 asked some recipients to prove that they met one of the CERB criteria. That’s what I’ve earned at least $ 5,000 in the last 12 months.

However, the letter raised concerns among low-income earners who were afraid of not being able to repay, and interpreted the CRA’s message as setting a repayment deadline by the end of the year.

The agency seems to have learned from that experience, this time massaging the message.

According to Lemieux, the letter says that the agency does not have the information, but has some information and needs additional details to verify someone’s CERB payment. ..

“People may have made mistakes and their situation may have changed during the period they were benefiting from,” he said.

At this point, no one is being asked to repay. They have 45 days to contact the CRA, after which the agency may decide that the person is obliged to repay the money. Lemieux said the agency will be flexible in responding to unpaid repayment plans.

“You may need information about their financial situation, and then we’ll see what’s possible with them and see if we can handle them,” he said.

Along Jordan Press

Canadian press