The Canada Revenue Agency has numerous programs to help offset the expenses of raising children. Many CRA Benefit Programs for people with children, help mid to low-income families, as well as families who are experiencing particular hardships.

Canada Child Tax Benefit

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a non-taxable sum paid monthly to eligible families with children. CCB payments are based on a family’s net income and the number of people in the family. To apply for CCB, taxpayers submit an application when a child is born (or custody is obtained). You can apply for the CCB by signing in to your CRA My Account and clicking on “Apply for Child Benefits” or by completing Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application and sending it to your tax centre. You must file your tax return each year in order for your benefits to continue, and if you have a spouse, you must both file your returns to keep the benefits active.

The CRA pays the benefit to the parent with primary custody of the child. If both parents live together, the payment goes to the mother, unless she submits a statement declaring that the father is the primary caretaker.

Canada Pension Plan

Children under the age of 18 and Full-time Students under the age of 25 are eligible for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits if a parent or guardian is deceased or receiving CPP Disability benefits. To be eligible for CPP Children’s Benefits, children must be the legal or natural children of the deceased or disabled persons. Additionally, the parent must have contributed to the CPP for at least three years; if the parent was eligible to contribute for nine years, he must have contributed for the lesser of 10 years or one-third of the calendar years during which he was eligible. For example, if a young parent worked and contributed to CPP for only one year before his death, his children would not be eligible to receive CPP payments.

Child Disability Benefit

The Child Disability Benefit (CDB) is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to families with children who have severe or prolonged disabilities. To qualify for the benefit, the child must qualify for the Disability Tax Credit and have CRA approval for the credit. To do so, you must submit a T2201 – Disability Tax Credit Certificate that has been completed and signed by the child’s medical practitioner and await approval from CRA.  Once a child has been certified as disabled,  the CDB payment is included with the monthly CCB payments. There is a maximum benefit amount and once your adjusted family net income reaches a certain amount, the benefit is reduced. More information on how much you can expect to receive can be found in this link.

The GST/HST Credit

The Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) Credit is another credit available to families with children. It is intended to help low to modest income Canadians offset the tax they pay on consumer goods and services. The Canada Revenue Agency pays out the GST/HST credit quarterly and it is applied for in the same way as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), online or with the Form RC66 application.

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