The Basics on Child and Family Benefits

This article provides a basic overview of the Canada child benefit, working income tax benefit, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) and programs that provinces and territories have instituted that are related to these items. These benefits are designed to assist families and individuals, and their payment comes through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Who is eligible?

Check this table to see if you are eligible for these credits and benefits.

 

Married or common law with children

Single with children

Married or common law without children

Single and over 18 with no children

Canada child benefit

Yes

Yes

No

No

GST/HST Credit

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Provincial and territorial benefits and credits

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

There are other benefits that you might qualify for as well. The child disability benefit is tax-free and is available to families who provide care for a child not yet 18 who has been designated eligible for disability tax credits. The working income tax benefit is designed to help low-income individuals and families who are working to gain tax relief. One purpose for this benefit is to motivate Canadians to leave welfare and take a place in the workforce. Then there are children’s special allowances that provide funding to agencies and other entities at the federal and provincial levels that provide services to children, such as children’s aid societies.

Are you expecting a baby?

When you register your baby with the province, use the Automated Benefits Application on the form to get your application submitted for the Canada child benefit, GST/HST credit and other related programs for your little one.

What other requirements are there after you apply?

It’s not necessary to apply for the same credits and benefits annually. However, you have to file your taxes on time each year to keep on receiving the same payments, even if you have no taxable income during that year. If you have a common-law partner or spouse, the same rule about filing taxes applies to them as well. You also need to update your personal information with the CRA to ensure that you receive the correct amount of assistance. Finally, make sure that you retain all supporting documentation in case the CRA needs them for validation.

Also, sign up for direct deposit so that you don’t have to wait on the mail to bring your payments. Download the MyBenefitsCRA app or an online account so that you can access your benefit information at any time and from any location. Make sure you add your email address to the benefit and credit payment dates reminders mailing list so that you receive notification for your next payment.

How much are you eligible for?

The CRA has an online child and family benefits calculator that you can use to see what your benefits might total. Keep an eye on your payments, because if the government issues you too much, you can end up owing the difference.

When will payments come?

The CRA maintains a list of benefit payment dates. Use your MyBenefitsCRA app to get personalized information.

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