I got the CERB while on OW or ODSP. Do I have to pay it back?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ended on December 2, 2020. Only certain people were eligible to get money from the CERB.

People who were on Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) were allowed to apply for the CERB if they also met the CERB eligibility rules.

But when the CERB was first created, the information about who was eligible was not completely clear.

Some OW and ODSP workers encouraged people to apply for the CERB, even though they were not eligible. And some people applied for the CERB on their own without realizing they were not eligible.

If you got money from the CERB, it’s important to find out if you were eligible.

If you were not eligible

If you got money from the CERB but now realize that you were not eligible, you’ll likely have to pay back the money.

There are a few options for how to do this. To find out what option is best for you, contact your local community legal clinic. If you’re on OW or ODSP, your local clinic can give you free legal advice.

If you were eligible

If you received money from the CERB and you were eligible, OW and ODSP count that money as . You must tell OW or ODSP if you got money from the CERB.

Normally, if your income is too high, you’re not eligible for OW or ODSP. This is called being “financially ineligible”.

But there are special rules that apply to income you get from recovery benefits.

Special rules to keep getting OW or ODSP

If your income becomes too high because of the recovery benefits, OW or ODSP will give you a special status.

This means that they’ll give you a temporary payment of $2.50 each month, instead of the amount that they usually give you.

This temporary amount allows you to continue getting other benefits from OW or ODSP, such as health benefits, help finding work, or discretionary benefits like dental or vision care.

If you were kicked off of OW or ODSP because of money from the CERB, contact your local community legal clinic as soon as possible.

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