Some recipients of the federal government’s emergency coronavirus pandemic benefit say funds for September have not yet arrived in their bank accounts.
Several Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) recipients told Global News that they were waiting on payments. Their concerns were echoed by many who have taken to social media in recent days.
Martin Palfenier in Edmonton said that the benefit has typically been deposited within two or three days of re-applying, but that wasn’t the case this time.
On Wednesday, a CRA representative told him the deposit would be made the following day as there had been a delay in application processing, he said.
But that hasn’t happened.
“I woke up with no money in my bank account this morning,” said Palfenier, who said he is immuno-compromised and cannot safely return to work.
He is calling on the agency to provide clarity on when the issue will be resolved, and help those currently in limbo.
“That payment was my rent. That payment was my food and my medicine. It was also my child’s food, her medicine. My wife included.”
It’s not clear how many people are experiencing similar delays. The Canada Revenue Agency did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Global News on Thursday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the issue during an interview with St. John’s, N.L., radio station VOCM.
“We’re working through some of the challenges,” Trudeau said. “Because there was an extension, there might be a couple little hiccups, but we have said from the beginning we’d be there for Canadians and we will continue to be there for them.”
September is the final month for the CERB program. The federal government announced plans to transition recipients the Employment Insurance (EI) program in late July.
Ottawa has also created a new benefit for people who don’t qualify for the unemployment benefit, such as contract and gig workers. There are also new programs for those who cannot work due to COVID-19 illness or childcare responsibilities.
The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on Sept. 26. Launched in early April, the taxable, personal income benefit provides $2,000 every four weeks to eligible applicants who lost work or their jobs due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as of mid-March.
Applicants must re-apply for the benefit every month.
More than 8.6 million Canadians have applied for the benefit and more than $71 billion in payments have been distributed as of Aug. 23.
— With files from Eric Beck and Beatrice Britneff, Global News
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