As recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) expressed their frustration and worries on social media following “missed” payments, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) responded to clear up concerns.
According to the CRA, claimants of the extended CERB program can expect to see their CERB cheques deposited before the weekend, after many Canadians reported online about not receiving their payments earlier this week as expected.
Despite Canada’s gradual reopening across the provinces and territories, many Canadians rely on the $2,000 monthly benefit to cover expenses such as groceries, rent, and other bills and have been expressing their anxiety and frustrations after “missing” a CERB payment.
Many Canadians have also said that they were not able to get any clear answers from the CRA about the delayed CERB cheques.
Etienne Biram, a spokesperson for the CRA had said that the agency was being “overly cautious” in making sure payments are going to eligible recipients following recent cyber-attacks and that claimants can expect to receive their CERB payments by this weekend.
“The Canada Revenue Agency understands how important the CERB is to Canadians during this time and we want to assure applicants that they will receive the payments that they are entitled to,” said spokesperson Etienne Biram in an email.
“As part of its ongoing commitment to quality client service, the CRA aims to have CERB payments made by direct deposit issued within three to five business days of an application being received, and within 10 business days for payments by cheque. This is in line with our timeliness service standards for processing payments. The CRA expects that the vast majority of payments will be issued within this time frame.”
Last month, the CRA shut down its online services after the agency confirmed it had been hit by two cyberattacks that potentially compromised thousands of accounts linked to its services.
In response to the attacks, services connected to My Account, My Business Account, and Represent a Client on the CRA website were also temporarily disabled as an additional safety measure.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned processing “hiccups” as a reason why many Canadians were reporting delays in receiving their CERB payments.
“We’re working through some of the challenges because there was an extension. There might be a couple of little hiccups, but we have said from the beginning we’d be there for Canadians and we will continue to be there for them,” said the Prime Minister.
Additionally, in the last month, the federal government announced it will be extending the CERB program by one more month and revamping its Employment Insurance (EI) program to allow more people to receive financial assistance during the pandemic.
Those changes, aimed at helping Canadians through the transition as the economy gradually reopens, is expected to cost $37 billion.
The changes include making the EI system more flexible on the number of work hours required for a claim, making it easier for people to qualify for a one-year period.
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