What to Do When CERB Runs Out

July 2, 2020

easyfinancial what do I do when CERB runs out?


✔ Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), meant to help Canadians financially weather the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended 8 more weeks

✔ CERB or other benefits could be available after the next deadline ends, but it’s important to try to plan for post-CERB, such as through a side gig  

✔ While looking at financial options, it’s also important to take care of your physical and mental health to ease anxiety

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, life has been anything but normal. Lockdowns to flatten the curve of the new coronavirus put millions of Canadians out of work and many have only been able to get by through the support of Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit was available to employed and self-employed Canadians whose livelihoods were directly affected by COVID-19 and offered $2,000 a month for those who qualified.

As the pandemic progressed, the Government of Canada has had to extend CERB to help Canadians keep the lights on and food on the table. Even as many lockdowns have eased across the country, more than 8 million are still relying on the benefit. CERB was to run for 16 weeks starting in mid-March, meaning this crucial benefit would have run out by mid-July, but the government recently extended it another 8 weeks.

That news comes as a huge relief for millions of Canadians, who were wondering how they’d manage without CERB. But, unless the job market starts to pick up rapidly or the government offers another extension later, not all Canadians will have their jobs to return to. While the coronavirus pandemic has certainly made it clear that life can be unpredictable sometimes, starting to think about a plan after CERB is smart and can help ease financial anxiety.

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Some options to consider

  • Find out if you’re eligible for Employment Insurance. If you have enough EI insurable hours you could still access normal EI benefits after CERB runs out.
  • Stay informed - through news media and federal and provincial governments - as there could be changes after this CERB extension. Options being considered are extending CERB again or reforming the EI system so that more Canadians could qualify.
  • In Ontario, people might be able to access money from company pension plans, Locked-In Retirement Accounts or Life Income Funds. There are tax considerations so if considering this option, it’s very important to speak with an advisor.
  • Keep job hunting – if you can’t return to the job you had, consider looking for another one. While many companies, in travel, entertainment and service industries have been hard hit, others in essential services are doing well and even hiring. If you lost your job as a movie theatre staffer or restaurant waitress, you could still work in customer service at businesses that are doing well, such as grocery stores. Update your resume and see what skills you have that can be transferred to another sector. The Government of Canada has a job bank listing openings in various sectors during COVID-19
  • Consider a side gig to keep money flowing in. Look at the skills you have and what you can offer – such as lawn mowing or house painting.
  • Consider launching your own business. The Government of Canada has dedicated more money to help young entrepreneurs and women realize dreams of starting a business.
  • Continue to manage your financial health, through sound budgeting and by trying to incur less debt.

Look after yourself

Financial stress affects your physical and mental health. As you explore options for when CERB might end, keep doing the things that bring you calm and peace. Such things as exercise, meditation, and maintaining close relationships can keep the anxiety level down.

We are here to help

Reach out to us to help you on your path to financial wellness. We offer a free, one-hour financial health check consultation that includes a credit score discussion. Your health check also includes a demonstration or our unique creditoptimizer tool, which helps you manage and improve your credit score and put your finances more in your control!

If you need support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that we are all in this together. We are here to help too and are committed to finding solutions for our customers’ unique needs: Contact easyfinancial.com with questions.

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