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Applying Retroactively for the Canada Emergency Benefits

Eligible Canadians can retroactively claim CERB for previous months of unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), have now ended. However, eligible individuals have until December 2, 2020 to apply retroactively for all periods of the CERB (retroactive applications for the CESB are not possible):
    • Eligible individuals can apply for periods 1-4 of the CERB (March 15, 2020 to July 4, 2020) by contacting the CRA at 1-800-232-1966. Taxpayers may be asked to provide additional documentation to support their claim.
    • Eligible individuals can also apply for periods 5 – 7 of the CERB (July 5, 2020 to September 26, 2020) through the CRA’s My Account portal or by using the automated toll-free phone lines: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.


Find information on the new Recovery Benefits below:

If a taxpayer was receiving the CERB, he or she may be eligible for one of the new recovery benefits retroactive to September 27, 2020 and available until September 25, 2021:

Emergency / Recovery Benefits – Main Phone Numbers

Taxpayers can reach the CRA using two general phone numbers:


  • If taxpayers are having trouble applying for an emergency/recovery benefit because they haven’t filed a 2019 tax return;
  • If they want to make changes to their account (updates to address or direct deposit); and
  • If they are having trouble accessing the CRA My Account.


This phone number can be used by the taxpayer to obtain general information about the new Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB, CRCB and CRSB):

  • Eligibility requirements;
  • The payment amount for each period; and
  • How and when to apply.