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How to get CERB back if you owe money

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Job loss, complicated CERB applications, school closures, lockdowns – COVID-19 has hit Canadians hard. Even with $2,000 in monthly CERB benefits, many Canadians still felt financially strapped. But what happens if you accidentally get overpaid?

What do you do if you owe CERB?

unfortunately you have to return it.

The hardest part is that even if you were unsuitable for some benefit, COVID-19 may still affect you financially. For example, maybe you didn’t lose your job, but someone had to stay home to watch the kids during school closings.

Therefore, repayment of CERB may still be a burden.

Here on Credit Canada, our certified credit counselors support people like you who are trying to get out of debt and regain control of their finances. Lately we hear about CERB overpayment messages from many customers.

Today we will analyze how exactly repay the CERB and what to do if you don’t think you actually owe the debt.

Step 1: Read the notification carefully

The CRA has sent notices to people who owe CERB money. The “Debt Notice” must contain the following information:

  • Amount you owe (total balance)
  • The reason for the debt
  • Payment origination date
  • Contact number for more information

Keep this notification handy so you can easily use it for the next step.

Step 2: Confirm that the debt information is correct

You indeed get overpaid? This is likely, but not certain. Guess what: The CRA also makes mistakes.

If you know you’re not entitled to a payment, double-check your bank records to make sure you actually made the payment.

If you received a payment but believe the CRA’s reasoning for requesting repayment is inaccurate, gather evidence of your entitlement to prepare to challenge it.

Step 3: Prepare for the phone call

Whether or not you’re sure you should repay the CERB, it’s best to schedule a call to CRA or Service Canada (depending on the agency you applied for the CERB through) to understand the whole situation. The personal nature of these phone calls requires detailed security questions from a government official.

You may need to verify your identity with past tax returns and identification information. To prepare for the call, gather some of the following documents:

  • Tax information for the last three years: You may need to provide detailed information on your appraisal, T4 or tax returns.
  • Identification and Address Information: A common secret question is to confirm your address and zip code.
  • Bank statements: They must show records of CERB payments (or lack thereof).
  • CERB Payment Information: This includes receipts, emails and any documentation that describes your CERB history.
  • Records of loss of employment or reduction of working hours: Collect payslips, shift details and employment letters or notices from the past two years to prove your eligibility for CERB, if applicable.

Step 4: Call CRA or Service Canada

Your debt notice must include a contact number to contact the CRA or Service Canada to discuss your CERB overpayment.

If you applied for CERB through the CRA, you must contact the CRA. If you applied through Service Canada, you should contact them.

Using the information from step 3, answer the representative’s security questions and learn more about your case.

You can:

  • Confirm where to repay the debt
  • Ask for guidance on disputing the debt
  • Provide any evidence

If by the end of the phone call you know you owe money, keep reading to get to the next step.

Step 5: Pay back your debt

If you know you’ve been overpaid, you’ll need to send the money back to the agency you originally contacted.

If you applied for a CERB with the CRA:

  • Pay online through Internet Banking, PaySimply or your CRA account.
  • Send a check or money order to the following address, payable to Receiver General Canada:

Revenue Processing — CERB Repayment
Sudbury Tax Center
1050 Notre Dame Ave
Sudbury, ON P3A 0C3

  • Pay in person with a QR code in Canada Post.

If you applied for CERB s Serving Canada:

  • Payment through the Internet bank
  • Mail a check or money order

If you don’t remember how you applied for CERB:

  • Government of Canada Review support section for those who don’t know how to file

Keep in mind that the CRA is flexible because of the difficulties related to COVID-19 for many people. This means that you can most likely work out a payment plan with them to spread out your payments.

But what if you’re sure you don’t actually owe any CERB payments? Time to submit a new request!

Step 6: Request a review of your debt

When you call Service Canada or CRA, you can dispute your debt or provide evidence to request a review. You may be able to complete this process over the phone, but follow the representative’s instructions to submit a review request to Service Canada.

Note: Service Canada will likely take 21-30 days to make a decision on your request.

Step 7: Wait and notify the CRA

During the waiting period, call the CRA to let them know you are waiting for a review request. This ensures that you will not be penalized for late payment.

Find debt relief at Credit Canada

CERB overpayments can seem like another financial stressor. We understand how frustrating it is to always be in debt. That’s why we’re here—to help you get through it with proven remedies debt solutions and credit counseling.

Need help paying off debt or talking about financial stress? Contact one of our certified credit counselors today!

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