Nine answers to your questions about the Canada child benefit

Canada Life - Sep 15, 2021
The Canada child benefit (CCB) provides a financial benefit to support families with children during this life stage
Father playing with his children

The decision to raise a child brings many special moments and happy memories – and extra costs. The Canada child benefit (CCB) provides a financial benefit to support families with children during this life stage.

What is the Canada child benefit?

The CCB is a federal government program designed to help you with the cost of raising children under 18. It may include disability payments and other programs specific to your province or territory.

How do I apply for the CCB?

You can apply for the CCB when you register the birth of a newborn or through the “My Account” section of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website when you become the caregiver of a child. You can also apply by mailing a completed RC66 form to the CRA. When you file your annual income taxes, the CCB is calculated for the subsequent year.

How much can I receive from the CCB?

The CRA uses your Adjusted Family Net Income (AFNI) to calculate the CCB. There are three separate AFNI income thresholds for CCB:

  • AFNI less than $32,208
  • AFNI between $32,208 and $69,395
  • AFNI more than $69,395

The amount of CCB you’ll receive is based on both your AFNI income threshold above and the number of children you have. This amount changes each year as your annual income fluctuates; recalculation is done when you file your annual tax return.

If your AFNI is less than $32,208, you’ll receive the maximum CCB amount of $6,833 per year ($569.41 per month) per child under 6 and $5,765 per year ($480.41 per month) per child aged 7-17. You can use this CRA calculator to estimate what your monthly payments will be.

If you have shared custody of your child, you may be eligible for 50% of the CCB, calculated based on your AFNI. It’s a good idea to inform the CRA if you begin or end a shared custody arrangement. 

When can I receive payments from CCB?

The CCB is typically paid out around the 20th of each month. However, if your annual CCB eligibility is less than $240, you’ll receive a lump-sum payment in July.

Am I eligible for the CCB?

You’re eligible to receive the CCB if you:

  • Live with a child under 18
  • Are primarily responsible for the care of that child 
  • Are a resident of Canada for tax purposes 
  • Are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident 

There are additional situations in which you may be eligible if you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. If you have questions about whether you qualify for the CCB, I can help answer your questions. 

How long can I receive CCB for?

You’ll receive the CCB until your child turns 18.

Is CCB taxable?

No, the CCB is not taxable.

What can I use the CCB payments for?

Raising children brings many rewards and some additional expenses, too. As the parent responsible for a child’s upbringing, you’ll decide how to best allocate the benefit. Most parents use the CCB for necessities like clothing, food, or items such as car seats, cribs or school supplies. 

Is there a difference between CCB and UCCB?

Yes. The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) was a taxable payment that the Canada Revenue Agency ended in 2016 and replaced with the tax-free CCB. If your child has a disability, you also may be eligible for the child disability benefit and the child disability tax credit. In some provinces and territories, disability benefits are included in the CCB. 

If you have questions about whether you’re receiving everything you’re entitled to, I can help you make sense of the calculations.