Feeling the financial crunch lately? It’s not just about $7 lattes (make that a $12 morning if you like muffins too), the cost of pretty much everything has been going up these days. The one thing that’s probably not going up? Your paycheque. If you’re a low to modest- income household though, there’s some relief. 

The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a refundable federal tax credit that provides a financial boost to help keep up with the cost of living for those who qualify. 

Here’s what you need to know about who’s eligible, how to apply, and (most importantly) how soon you’ll get your money.

Key Takeaways
  1. The Canada Workers Benefit is a tax credit offering up to $1,428 to eligible individuals and $2,461 to eligible families to supplement lower incomes.
  2. To claim the CWB you must pay taxes, earn a working income below the net income level set for your province, and be a Canadian resident age 19 or older on December 31 of the year you’re filing.
  3. Canadians who received the CWB in 2022 will automatically get advance payments from the CRA without having to apply.

How does the Canada Workers Benefit work? 

There are two parts to the Canada Workers Benefit: a basic maximum amount and a disability supplement. 

Basic amount: For 2023-24, eligible individuals can receive up to $1,428 to supplement lower incomes, while eligible families may receive up to $2,461 in benefit support

Disability supplement: If you have a recognized disability, you may be eligible for a supplemental amount of up to $737, on top of the maximum credit.

How much you receive depends on which province you live in and whether you are single without an eligible dependant or have a family without an eligible dependant. An eligible dependant is your spouse or common-law partner’s child who resided with you during the tax year, is under age 19, and is not eligible to claim the Canada Workers Benefit for the current tax year.

Who’s eligible for the Canada Workers Benefit?

Here’s who can and can’t qualify for the CWB. To receive the Canada Workers Benefit, you need to be a Canadian resident aged 19 or older on December 31 of the year you’re filing. You also must be paying taxes and earning an income that’s below the net income set for your province or territory of residence

You’re not eligible if you are a full-time student at a designated educational institution (unless you have an eligible dependant) or an officer or servant of another country (a diplomat, for example), or if you’re a family member or employee of that person. You also don’t qualify if you’ve been incarcerated for at least 90 days during the year. 

How is the Canada Workers Benefit calculated?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) takes a case-by-case approach to determine whether you qualify for the Canada Workers Benefit, based on the following: 

  • Marital status
  • Province or territory of residence
  • Earned working income
  • Adjusted family net income
  • Whether you have an eligible dependant
  • Eligibility for the disability tax credit

Check out the child and family benefits calculator on the CRA website to learn whether you’re eligible and get an idea of how much you might receive. 

Not currently receiving the Canada Workers Benefit but think you qualify? Claim it when you file your next income tax return.

How do I apply for the Canada Workers Benefit? 

It’s easy. If you’re filing online, simply follow the instructions in your TurboTax software. Filing a paper return? Fill out Schedule 6 Canada Workers Benefit and submit it with your form. 

To claim the disability supplement, file Schedule 6 either through your TurboTax software or by submitting a paper return. If both you and your spouse are eligible for the Canada Workers Benefit and one of you is eligible for the disability credit, the spouse who qualifies should claim both the basic amount and the disability supplement. 

Can I get my benefit more quickly?

Good news! If you received the CWB last year and you qualify again, getting the benefit just got easier—and quicker. 

Thanks to government changes to the benefit, low- and modest-income Canadian workers who received the Canada Workers Benefit in 2022 will automatically receive advance payments, based on their eligibility last year, without having to apply. To get the full amount, you’ll have to file your taxes before November 1. 

Earning less than you did last year? The advance payments are equivalent to the minimum entitlement for the year, so luckily they won’t decrease if your household or individual income is lower than what it was in the previous tax year.

While that expensive java isn’t getting any cheaper, taking advantage of all the tax credits you can get can help ease the burden of your day-to-day expenses.

Get every credit you deserve

TurboTax automatically searches more than 400 credits and deductions for you.