Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides $1,250 a month to students

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will provide $1,250 a month to post-secondary students.


The CESB is a $5.2 billion financial support plan for post-secondary and recent graduates. It is expected to help at least one million students.

It will provide a flat-rate benefit of $1,250 a month ($312.50 per week) for up to four months between May and August 2020.

Eligible students who have dependents and those with disabilities will receive $750 in additional benefits for a total of $2,000 per month to match the CERB.


The CESB applies to students who are ineligible for the CERB benefit or EI and who are unable to work full-time due to COVID-19.

Based on currently available information, the benefit will apply to students who meet the following criteria:

  • · Post-secondary students who are currently enrolled in a program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate. The program must have a duration of at least 12 weeks
  • · High school graduates who have applied for and will be starting post-secondary education in the coming months (before February 1, 2021)
  • · Recent graduates who graduated no earlier than December 2019 and are unable to find work due to COVID-19
  • · Canadian students who are studying abroad and meet one of the above criteria

The student must be a Canadian citizen, registered Indian, permanent resident or protected person. International students do not qualify for the program.

Students who apply for the CESB can continue to find work and earn up to $1,000 while receiving the CESB.


You will receive $1,250 every month for up to 4 months (May to August) if you remain eligible. Students who have dependents (e.g. kids under 12 years old) or who are disabled will receive $2,000 a month.

A disability is defined as “any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.”

The first CESB payment period will start from May 10, 2020, to June 6, 2020. Eligible students can apply for up to a total of 16 weeks of benefits if eligible.

You will need to apply for each 4-week period. The eligibility periods until the end of August are:

  • · May 10 to June 6, 2020
  • · June 7 to July 4, 2020
  • · July 5 to August 1, 2020
  • · August 2 to August 29, 2020

High-school students who are just graduating and meet the eligibility requirements can only apply for an eligibility period that falls after the date of their graduation.

While on CESB, you can work and earn up to $1,000. Essentially, you can potentially “earn” up to $3,000 if you are able to find part-time work over the summer.

A second initiative, the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), will provide up to $5,000 to students who volunteer in their communities under a new National Service initiative.


As per currently available information, you will be able to apply for the benefit via CRA MyAccount starting on May 15, 2020, at 6 a.m. ET.


Similar to the CERB, the CESB is considered to be taxable income.

Most students won’t have to worry about paying taxes on the benefit, however, considering that the 2020 federal basic personal tax credit cancels out taxes on the first $13,229 you earn in income this year.

Add in the tax credits from your tuition payments and you can probably earn close to $20,000 without paying taxes.


The CERB provides $2,000 per month to workers who are unable to work due to COVID-19.

To be eligible for the CERB, you must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before your application. This is not so for the CESB.

Some students will qualify for the CERB and should not apply for the CESB.

The CERB pays $750 more compared to the $1,250 base benefit offered by the CESB.


International students do not qualify for the CESB.

That being said, international students who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for the CERB benefit.

Also, the 20-hour rule that restricts how many hours international students can work per week has been lifted if they are working in an essential service e.g. healthcare and food supply.

This change is in place until August 31, 2020.

How to Repay or Return CERB benefits?

Repay or return CERB

Repay or return CERB

Applied for CERB but dont qualify?

Got two payments for CERB in one period?

Wondering how to return it to CRA?

Here are the steps:

1) Use CRA My Account starting May 11, 2020 to repay it 


2) Mail a cheque to “Receiver General for Canada” and indicate that its for for “Repayment of CERB” for “eligibility period” along with your SIN to Revenue Processing – Repayment of CERB, Sudbury Tax Centre, 1050 Notre Dame Avenue, Sudbury ON P3A 0C3

Why repay CERB to Canada Revenue Agency?

You must repay the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for the 4-week period in question. This could happen if:

    • · you earned employment or self-employment income earlier than expected
    • · you applied for the CERB but later realize you’re not eligible
    • · you receive a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period.

CERB is taxable or not?

A lot of the Canadians are wondering if the CERB is taxable or not. Short answer, YES!

You will receive a T4A tax slip for the amount of CERB you received this year. You must include this in income when filing taxes for period January – December 2020.

More information can be found on CRA’s website.

Read more about Tax issue at Taxants.