Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a non-refundable credit available to low income Canadians when they file their taxes.
This post starts with the Canada workers benefit payment dates for 2021 then goes on to provide an overview of the program, how to claim it, how to apply for the advance payment, how much you can get in CWB, and many more.
Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) Payment Dates 2021
You are allowed to receive half of your CWB in advance quarterly payments. If you do, the Canada workers benefit (CWB) payment dates for 2021 are:
|Benefit Quarter||CWB Payment Dates|
|Quarter 1||January 5, 2021|
|Quarter 2||April 1, 2021|
|Quarter 3||July 5, 2021|
|Quarter 4||October 5, 2021|
To ensure you receive your payments on time without disruption on the dates above, you’re advised to enroll for direct deposit.
If you’re enrolled for direct deposit and did not receive your payments on the CWB payment dates for 2021, CRA recommends you wait for 10 working days before contacting them.
Note that your payments may not come on the CWB dates above if your benefits are mailed to you as a cheque. The dates you receive the cheque will vary depending on the mail service in your area.
A new GST/HST Credit payment period starts by July 2021. Find out how much you can receive and the GST payment dates here.
What is Canada Workers Benefit?
Canada workers benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit for individuals and families that work but earn low income.
The tax credit was introduced in 2019 as a replacement to the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). Compared to WITB, the Canada workers benefit provides more benefit and has a lower claw back rate. Claiming CWB is also more streamlined.
CWB has two parts: a basic amount and a disability supplement
Basic amount: Every CWB eligible Canadian will receive the basic amount. The amount you can receive depend on a number of factors such as your marital status, adjusted net income, having eligible dependents and so on.
The benefit is gradually reduced when the net income exceeds a set threshold and completely eliminated for those with higher income.
Disability Supplement: is an additional supplement of up to $713 in 2021 for eligible CWB recipients that are also eligible for the disability tax credit. For families, the spouse receiving the disability tax credit is the one to apply for the CWB disability supplement and the basic amount.
In most provinces, a minimum employment income of $3,000 is required to qualify for Canada workers benefit.
Eligible Canadian residents can claim the tax credit when they file their taxes, and the credit is paid as a lump sum. Alternatively, they can receive half of the credit as advance payments paid quarterly through the year, and the balance paid when they file their taxes.
Related Post: Tax credit vs tax deduction
Eligibility: Who can claim CWB?
The Canada workers benefit (CWB) is only available to Canadians earning a low income. In addition, the following conditions must be satisfied:
- Earn working income above $3,000 in most provinces – employment or self-employment
- Resident of Canada for tax purposes throughout the year
- Aged 19 or more by the end of the year
- Live with a common-law partner, spouse or child if you’re under 19
- Earn below the maximum income threshold for individuals and families
For a spouse to be eligible for CWB, they must live with you as a spouse or common law partner by December 31 and also meet all the criteria above.
Eligible dependents also have to satisfy these criteria: below 19 years, ineligible for CWB and be your, or your partners, child.
However, Canadian residents that fall into one of the categories below are not eligible for Canada workers benefit:
- Confined to a prison or other correctional institutions for at least 90 days in the year
- Enrolled at a designated financial institution for at least 13 weeks as a full time student within the year and had no eligible dependent on December 31.
- Diplomats, or other foreign officers or servants, that do not pay Canadian tax, including their family and employees.
Disability supplement: You or your spouse are eligible for disability supplement for CWB purposes if you’re eligible for the disability tax credit and the CRA has a Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate in their records for you.
Employment Income Requirement for CWB
In most provinces, a minimum employment income of $3,000 is required to be eligible for the Canada workers benefit. But Quebec and Alberta have lower thresholds of $2,400 and $2,760 respectively. Nunavut is highest at $6,000.
The minimum income requirement to receive the disability credit is much lower across all the provinces. Most provinces have a minimum income threshold of $1,150.
But it is $910, $1,200 and $4,800 in Albert, Quebec, Nunavut respectively.
How to Claim the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)
Since Canada workers benefit is a tax credit, you can claim the credit when you file your annual income tax returns electronically.
Any of the CRA certified tax software will let you claim the tax credit and provide instructions on how to complete it.
Those filing using a paper return can use a Schedule 6, Canada workers benefit. Simply fill the form and submit it along with your tax returns.
For couples or those with partners, only one of you can claim the basic amount. If you qualify for the disability supplement, the spouse that is eligible for disability tax credit is required to claim both the basic and disability supplement.
However, both parties must claim the disability supplement if both of you receive the disability tax credit, but the basic amount is only claimed by either one of you.
In summary, you can claim Canada workers benefit in 2 ways:
- Electronically using a tax software
- Completing Schedule 6, Canada workers benefit if you use paper returns
Check here for the best free tax software for Canadians.
How to Apply For CWB Advance Payments
Rather than wait to receive the Canada workers benefit when you file your taxes, you’re allowed to receive half of your benefit as advance payments if you’re eligible for CWB.
There is a separate application for Canada workers benefit advance payment and there are two ways to apply:
- Online: by logging into your CRA My Account and completing the Canada workers benefit advance payment application. You’ll find it under “Related Services” to the right of the screen.
- By Mail: Download and complete a Form RC201, Canada Workers Benefit Payment Application. Part 3 of the forms should be completed if you’re claiming the disability supplement.
If you go with the mail option, send the completed Form RC201 to the Sudbury Tax Centre. Get the mailing address here.
An application is required for every year you remain eligible for CWB and your completed application must be received by August 31 for it to be processed by CRA.
Applications open by January 1 for each tax year. And only one advance payment application is required for spouses and common law partners.
As part of the CWB advance payments application, you’ll be required to provide an estimate of your expected income for the year in Step 4. This is necessary to estimate what your CWB tax credit will be for the current tax year and to determine the advance payment (50%) amount.
A few things to note:
- Try to be as accurate as possible when estimating your expected income for the year
- You’ll not receive an advance payment if your estimated CWB tax credit is below $200. In other words, the minimum advance payment that can be paid for the year is $100 or $25 per quarter.
- The balance of your CWB entitlement is credited to you when you file your income tax returns. That is, the actual CWB tax credit minus the advance payment you’ve received.
- If the advance payment you receive is more than your final CWB credit, you’ll be required to repay the excess amount.
CWB Rates: How much is the Canada Workers Benefit?
A single individual that is eligible for CWB can receive up to $1,381 as the basic amount, while families can get a maximum of $2,379. The CWB disability supplement also pays up to $713 for individuals and families.
Note that these maximum amounts apply to all provinces except for Alberta, Nunavut and Quebec residents.
The maximum CWB amounts for Alberta, Nunavut, Quebec and the rest of Canada are shown in the table below:
|Provinces/Territories||Max CWB for Individuals||Max CWB for Families|
|Quebec – No children||$2,319.14||$3,620.09|
|Quebec – with children||$1,269.60||$1,849.68|
But the actual amount you receive as Canada workers benefit depends on several factors such as:
- Net Income: adjusted family income and earned working income
- Province or territory of residence
- Marital Status or having an eligible spouse
- Number of eligible dependents
- Disability tax credit eligibility
CRA will consider all these information in calculating your CWB. In most cases, eligible individuals and families will not get up to the maximum amounts.
You can use the CWB calculation sheets provided by CRA to calculate how much your CWB tax credit will be. Simply choose the one for your province or territory and your marital status.
Alternatively, the CRA Child and family benefits calculator can provide an estimate of how much you can receive for all your benefits including CCB and GST/HST credit.
CWB Claw back
The CWB amounts are gradually reduced or clawed back by 12% once your adjusted net income reaches a threshold.
These thresholds vary depending on whether you’re an individual or married, or whether you’re eligible for the CWB disability supplement or not.
For 2021, the applicable net income after which the CWB starts reducing for families are shown in the table below:
|Provinces/Territories||Claw Back Starts at||Max Income to Receive CWB|
|Quebec – No children||$18,897.50||$36,997.95|
|Quebec – with children||$18,905.35||$28,153.75|
For an individual, the CWB basic amount starts reducing at an adjusted net income of $13,064 and it is completely clawed back when it crosses $24,573.
CWB Basic amounts for families are gradually reduced starting from $17,348 and nothing is paid when the adjusted family net income is above $37,173.
Note: the clawback rate is 20% for Quebec residents.
Canada Workers Benefit Increase 2021
Like many other tax credits and benefits provided by the Canadian government, Canada workers benefit is indexed against inflation.
For 2021, there was a slight increase in the CWB rates to reflect the indexation. Individuals can now receive up to $1,381 in most provinces, an extra $26 from the $1,355 maximum they can get for the 2020 tax year.
The maximum amounts for families also increased by $24 from $2,355 in 2020 to $2,379 for the 2021 tax year.
CWB Change in Circumstances
You’re expected to inform CRA of any change in your situation that may affect your CWB payments. These include:
- a change in marital status – divorced or separated
- change in address or province
- you are no longer a resident of Canada
- change in banking information for those enrolled for direct deposit
- your family net income changed materially
- A recipient or one of the eligible dependents become deceased
You should call CRA 1-800-959-8281 if any of the situations above applies to you. If required, you’ll have to complete the appropriate forms. For example, Form RC325, Address change request or Form RC65, Marital Status Change.
If you’re separated from your spouse or common-law partner, you should wait for a minimum of 90 consecutives days before informing CRA.
About Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB)
The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) was a federal refundable tax credit for low-income earners. The credit was available from 2007 to 2017 before it was replaced in 2019 by Canada Workers Benefit (CWB).
Many of its eligibility criteria were retained in the new CWB program. For example, a minimum income of $3,000 was required for individuals in all provinces except for Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut.
However, CWB introduced several enhancements, and the application process was more streamlined with less paperwork.
Eligible Canadians can receive more with under CWB than they could with WITB.
The clawback rate also changed. With Working income tax benefit, the credit is clawed back by 15% after your net family income exceeds the income threshold in most provinces.
The rate is now 12% under CWB for most provinces, meaning you get to keep more.
Some FAQs: CWB Payment Dates
The advancement payments under Canada workers benefit is paid quarterly, usually on the 5th day of January, April, July and October. For 2021, the payment dates are January 5, April 1, July 5 and October 5.
In most provinces and territories, an eligible individual can receive up to a maximum of $1,381 as basic amount and up to $713 as the disability supplement. The credit for families goes up to $2,379 for the basic amount.
You’re eligible for CWB if you’re a Canadian resident for tax purposes, aged 19 years and above or earn at least $3,000 in employment income in most provinces.
CWB was introduced in 2019 as a replacement to WITB. Though the eligibility criteria are similar, the CWB contains several enhancements and eligible applicants can receive higher tax credit than they could with WITB.
Hope you found this post on the Canada Workers benefit payment dates useful. The CWB is just one of several government benefits you may qualify for as a low-income earner.
If you have kids, you’ll also likely receive the maximum CCB amounts and be eligible for the GST credit. Check this post on the Canada Child Benefit Payment dates for more information.
You can also check for the different benefits you’re eligible for using the CRA Child and family benefits calculator on their website.
Related: GST Payment Dates & Benefit