The Canada child benefit (CCB) is one of the key government benefit programs available for families with children in Canada. It is in addition to the government grant (CESG) provided to families saving for post-secondary education through an RESP.
This post starts with the Canada child benefit payment dates for 2021 then goes on to provide an overview of the program, who can apply for it, how much you can get in CCB, and answers some of the frequently asked questions.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Payment Dates 2021
These are the CCB payment dates for 2021:
|Benefit Month||CCB Payment Dates|
|January 2021||January 20, 2021|
|February 2021||February 19, 2021|
|March 2021||March 19, 2021|
|April 2021||April 20, 2021|
|May 2021||May 20, 2021|
|June 2021||June 18, 2021|
|July 2021||July 20, 2021|
|August 2021||August 20, 2021|
|September 2021||September 20, 2021|
|October 2021||October 20, 2021|
|November 2021||November 19, 2021|
|December 2021||December 13, 2021|
You can choose to receive your payment by cheque or direct deposit. Direct deposit is fast, secure and the preferred method.
So to ensure you receive your benefits on the CCB payment dates, you should set up the direct deposit to your bank account.
CRA will pay the CCB as a lump sum in July after recalculation if your total CCB for the year is less than $240.
And in the event that your expected payment did not come on the CCB payment dates, CRA recommends that you wait for 5 working days before contacting them.
What is the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)?
The Canada child benefit (CCB) is a CRA administered program that provides a tax-free, monthly payment to eligible families with children below age 18.
CCB was setup to help families with the cost of raising their children. It was introduced in 2016 and replaced the UCCB (Universal Child Care Benefit) and the CCTB (Canada Child Tax Benefit).
The CCB is an income-tested government benefit – meaning the higher your income, the lower your payment will be. And at the time of writing this, there are more than 3.4 million CCB beneficiaries receiving over $2.2 billion in monthly benefits.
The monthly CCB payment may also include provincial or territorial child benefit programs and child disability benefit. The child disability benefit provides an additional payment of up $2,886 per annum to each child that’s eligible for the disability tax credit.
How to apply for CCB
You can apply for CCB if you’re the person primarily responsible for the care of a child that is below 18 years of age. Also, you must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes and be a citizen, permanent resident, protected person, certain temporary resident or an indigenous person.
There are 3 ways to apply for CCB, namely:
- Birth Registration: You can automatically apply for CCB when you give birth if you provide your consent for Vital Statistics Agency to share your child’s birth registration information with CRA. You’ll need to apply separately if you don’t provide your consent and SIN.
- Online through CRA My Account: Navigate to “Apply for child benefits” once you’re logged into your account with the CRA. Confirm all your information, provide details for your kid and submit any documents requested.
- By Mail: by completing and signing Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application, include all the necessary supporting documents and mail to a tax centre near you.
Newcomers to Canada or returning residents also need to fill and send the forms below to the nearest tax centre to them:
- Schedule RC66SCH
- Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application; and, if applicable
- Form CTB9, Canada Child Benefit, Statement of Income
If you applied online, you can expect to receive the first CCB payment within 8 weeks or 11 weeks if you applied by mail.
How much CCB can you receive?
The amount you can get as CCB depends on 4 factors:
- Adjusted family net income (AFNI):
- Age of your children
- Number of children under your care; and
- Marital status
All these factors are considered when your CCB amount is recalculated annually in July.
The adjusted family net income is your net income (line 23600 of your tax return) adjusted for RDSP and UCCB. For the 2020/2021 benefit year, a family with an AFNI of $31,711 and below will receive the maximum CCB payment for each child.
The maximum CCB amount is $6,765 for kids below 6 and $5,708 for those between 6 and 17.
|Age||Max Amount (Annual)||Max Amount (Monthly)|
|6 to 17||$5,708||$475.66|
The CCB payment will be gradually clawed back or reduced once the family’s AFNI exceeds $31,711. Here’s a table showing the claw-back rates under different family compositions for July 2020 to June 2021 benefit period:
|No. of Children||AFNI is between $31,711 and $68,708||AFNI above $68,708|
|1 child||7.0%||$2,590 + 3.2%|
|2 children||13.5%||$4,995 + 5.7%|
|3 children||19.0%||$7,029 + 8.0%|
|4 or more children||23.0%||$8,509 + 9.5%|
Sample CCB Calculation
The CRA has a child and family benefits calculator that can help you calculate how much CCB and other benefits you can get.
But here’s an illustration showing how the CCB amount will be calculated for a family with 3 kids, all below age 6, and an adjusted family net income of $120,000.
Using the table above, the family’s CCB will be reduced by $7,029 + 8% of AFNI greater than $68,708.
- Maximum benefit amount = Max CCB for children under 6 x Number of children ($6,765 * 3 = $20,295)
- Total Reduction = $7,029 + ($120,000 – $68,708) x 8% = $7,029 + 4103.36 = $11,132.36
Therefore, annual CCB payment is $9,162.64 ($20,295 – $11,132.36) or $763.55 per month.
The calculation is done every July using the previous year’s adjusted family net income. The payment is then spread over 12 months from July to June or paid as a lump sum if the annual CCB amount is less than $240 ($20 per month).
How To Maximize Your CCB
The Canada child benefit amount you receive is based on your adjusted family income – the higher it is, the lower your total CCB will be.
That means, the single most important factor when it comes to maximizing your CCB amount is your reported family income. And keeping it low will get you more money.
Does this mean you should earn less? Definitely No. But it could mean claiming all the tax deductions you’re eligible for and planning your taxes.
Tax deductions reduce your taxable income and ultimately the total tax you’ll have to pay – that’s obvious. What isn’t obvious is how they can also help you maximize the government benefits that are income tested.
Some of the common tax deductions that can help you increase what you receive as CCB include:
- Childcare expenses
- Union/professional dues
- RRSP deduction
- Moving expenses
RRSP deductions are a good place to start if you want to maximize your CCB payments.
Of course, the choice between an RRSP and TSFA isn’t that straightforward. But keep your CCB and other income tested benefits in mind when making a choice between the two.
So in summary, keeping your adjusted family income low is the key to maximizing the amount of CCB you can get. And for most people, this means claiming all the tax deductions they are entitled to especially RRSP deductions.
What to do with your CCB
The monthly child benefit amount you receive is all yours – its not even taxable – so you can use it however you like.
This could mean using it to offset your child-care cost, saving or investing it through in an RESP and so on.
Contributing to an RESP is perhaps the smartest thing you can do with your monthly CCB payments. Not only will the money grow tax-free until your kids are ready to start withdrawing for post-secondary education, you’ll also get the matching grants from the government.
You can check this post for some of the best RESP providers in Canada. Whether you want to go with a DIY or robo-advisor offering, you’ll find one of the providers suitable.
I reviewed 2 of the RESP offerings and you can check the links to the posts below:
CCB Increase 2021
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government announced a one-time increase to CCB in 2020, with each eligible child receiving up to $300 in May 2020.
For 2021, the CCB will also be increasing through
- an additional CCB of up to $1,200 per child and
- inflation adjustment for the regular CCB
Additional CCB for 2021
As part of the measures to address the impact of COVID-19, a temporary additional support for low to middle income families was announced for the year 2021 through Bill C-14.
Families with total income below $120,000 will get an additional CCB of $1,200 per child below 6 years, payable each quarter – $300 each. While those with higher incomes will receive $600 (or $150 per quarter).
For example: a family earning below $120,000 with 2 kids below 6 years old will get an additional CCB of $2,400 in 2021. Note that the payments will stop once a child clocks 6 – so some families may not get the full amount.
The additional CCB is completely tax-free and will benefit more than 2 million children from over 1.5 million families.
You won’t have to apply for the extra payments. If you already receive CCB, you should receive the payments automatically.
Regular CCB Increase in 2021
The regular CCB is indexed against inflation to adjust for the general increase in cost of living. So every year, the CCB is adjusted starting July – the beginning of the CCB year.
For the July 2021 – June 2022 CCB benefit period, the CCB amount will increase to $6,833 for a child below 6 from $6,765 in the previous period.
Here is a table summarizing the increase for the 2 age groups and across the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 CCB periods:
|Age||July 2020 – June 2021||July 2021 – June 2020||CCB Increase|
|6 to 17||$5,708||$5,765||$57|
Compared to the additional CCB above, the increase in the regular CCB is quite small. For example, a family with a child below 6 that receives the maximum CCB will only see an increase of $68 – that is less than $6 per month.
Other Provincial Child Benefit programs
While the CCB is administered and funded by the federal government, there are also child benefit programs at the provincial and territorial levels.
Some of these programs include:
- BC Early childhood tax benefit
- Alberta child and family benefit
- Manitoba child benefit
- New Brunswick child tax benefit
- Newfoundland and Labrador child benefit
- Northwest Territories child benefit
- Nova Scotia child benefit
- Nunavut child benefit
- Ontario child benefit
- Yukon child benefit
Most of these programs are administered by CRA and combined with the monthly CCB payments as a single credit to beneficiaries.
One of the few exceptions is the Alberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB). This is paid quarterly and the ACFB payment dates for 2021 are:
- February 26, 2021
- May 27, 2021
- August 27, 2021
- November 26, 2021
The Alberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB) was introduced in July 2020 to replace two separate programs: Alberta Child benefit and Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit.
FAQs: CCB Payment Dates
The Canada Child Benefit amount is inflation-indexed, therefore the regular CCB will be increased in July 2021 as part of the annual adjustment for inflation. In addition, there’ll be a one-time increase of up to $1,200 to help families deal with the impact of COVID-19.
For the 2020/2021 CCB year, the maximum CCB is $6,765 for kids below 6 and $5,708 for those between 6 and 17. The amount is divided into 12 and paid monthly on the CCB payment dates for each month.
You can receive a maximum monthly benefit of $563.75 per child below 6, or $475.66 for those above if your adjusted family net income is below $31,711. Ultimately, how much you receive depends on your prior year’s adjusted family net income, the number of kids in the family, their age and your marital status.
The Canada child benefit (CCB) is 100% tax-free. You won’t receive a tax slip and you won’t have to include any payments you received in your tax return for the year.
Your CCB payment will permanently stop once your kids turn 18. It will also stop temporarily if your adjusted family net income is too high and the benefit is entirely clawed back or you failed to file your tax returns. CCB will also stop if you stop meeting any of the eligibility criteria, no longer have a child in your care and so on.