If you’re raising children younger than 18, you may be entitled to monthly support
Of all the challenges that come with parenting, the financial challenge can be the hardest to overcome. Fortunately, if you’re raising children in Canada, the government may offer you monetary assistance in the form of the Canada Child Benefit.
Canada Child Benefit Basics
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) meant to help low- to moderate-income families defray the costs of raising children. The CCB began in July 2016 as a replacement for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement, and the Universal Child Care Benefit. It is the most recent and generous incarnation of a program launched in the early 1990s to end child poverty in Canada.
Since July 2018, the CCB has been indexed to the cost of living, meaning that an increase in the cost of living automatically triggers an increase in the CCB amount.
To be eligible for the CCB you must live with a child under the age of 18 whose care and upbringing you are primarily responsible for, and you must be taxed as a resident of Canada. Additionally, either you or your partner must be a Canadian citizen, an Indigenous person, a permanent resident, a protected person, or a temporary resident who meets certain criteria.
If you share custody of your child, and your child spends roughly equal amounts of time at both households, each parent may be entitled to half the CCB payment. In this case, payment will be calculated based on each parent’s own adjusted family net income (AFNI).
How Much Do You Receive?
The amount of your CCB is based on last year’s income and is recalculated every July. For example, your AFNI from 2020 determines how much you’ll get in CCB from July 2021 to June 2022. If your income changes in 2021, it won’t affect your CCB payments until at least July 2022.
The maximum benefit per child is:
- $6,833 per year ($569.41 per month) for children under 6.
- $5,765 per year ($480.41 per month) for children between 6 and 17.
If your 2020 AFNI is:
- less than $32,028, you will receive the maximum benefit.
- between $32,028 and $69,395, your benefit will be reduced by 7% of your income over $32,028
- more than $69,395, your benefit will be reduced by $2,616 plus 3.2% of your income over $69,395.
CCB Young Child Supplement
To provide extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government introduced the CCB young child supplement (CCBYCS) in 2021. A family’s net income must be $120,000 or less to qualify for the full 2021 CCBYCS. Families who qualify will receive four additional payments of up to $300 per child younger than 6 over the course of the year. Families with a net income of more than $120,000 will receive half that amount, or $150, for each child under age 6. Families do not have to apply for the CCBYCS separately, but they must have filed their 2019 and 2020 tax returns.
The CCB is tax-free money with no strings attached for parents raising children in Canada. If you think you might be eligible, it’s worth applying. In addition, some provinces and territories may offer additional resources to help you raise your family. The benefits may be added to the CCB or paid out separately. Visit the CRA website to find out more.