Are you eligible for the $500 Canada Housing Benefit top-up?

On December 12, 2022, the Canadian government rolled out a one-time payment of $500 for eligible low-income renters. The tax-free payment was introduced as a top-up to the existing Canada Housing Benefit to support renters amidst a challenging climate of high inflation and soaring rental prices. 

The increasing cost of living is making it even more difficult for Canadian renters to find affordable, sustainable, and safe housing–the Canadian government estimates that 1.8 million Canadians are eligible for the benefit. 

Are you a renter looking for additional assistance? Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Canada Housing Benefit top-up?

Rental prices in Canada are on an upward trend. The latest National Rent Report found that the average cost of rent across Canada has increased almost 12% in the last year, making it increasingly difficult for renters to find an affordable place to call home. 

Because of this, the Government of Canada has issued a one-time top-up payment to the existing Canadian Housing Benefit that “consist(s) of a tax-free payment of $500 to provide direct support to low-income renters.” 

The existing Canadian Housing Benefit is delivered by the provinces and territories and pledged to provide ongoing support to eligible Canadians facing housing affordability challenges. 

Am I eligible for the Canada Housing Benefit top-up?

The top-up is designed for low-income renters with adjusted net incomes below $35,000 for families or $20,000 for individuals who pay at least 30 percent of their adjusted net income on rent. 

Applicants must confirm that they: 

  •  Have filed their 2021 income tax and benefit return; 
  •  are at least 15 years of age as of Dec. 1, 2022; 
  •  are a resident in Canada for tax purposes in 2022; 
  •  have their principal residence in Canada as of Dec. 1, 2022; 
  •  have paid rent for their own shelter in 2022; and
  •  have paid at least 30 percent of their 2021 adjusted net family income on rent in the 2022 calendar year.

To apply, you do not need to receive other housing benefits, such as the original Canada Housing Benefit, which is co-funded and delivered by the provinces and territories. 

How do I apply for the Canada Housing Benefit top-up?

Eligible Canadians can easily apply for the one-time payment through their Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) “My Account” or by using the direct online form. It’s recommended to have the following rental information on hand when applying: 

  • Addresses of any principal residences in Canada in 2022; 
  • total rent paid in 2022 for those residences; 
  • name and contact information of landlord(s). 

Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2023.

If the increasing cost of living is making it difficult to keep up with your expenses or is causing you to turn to debt, we may be able to help. One of our debt professionals can assist you in managing your monthly budget and provide further guidance on navigating your debt and other financial commitments. 

A discussion with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is free of charge and can provide you with insights into taking back control of your finances.     

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