Everything you need to know about the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)

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The Canada Workers Benefit is a tax credit that was made available for 2019 and subsequent tax years, replacing the WITB (Working Income Tax Benefit) for 2018 and the preceding years. To claim the CWB tax credit, you must be an eligible taxpayer. The benefit includes a disability supplement and can only be claimed once you complete form T2201 (Disability Tax Credit Certificate) and send it to the CRA. You can also apply for advance CWB payments by filing an RC201 form. Here's a quick overview of everything you need to know about Canada Workers Benefit, including who is eligible, the disability supplement and how to claim CWB advance payments.

What are Canada Workers Benefits?

The CWB is a refundable federal tax credit available for low-income families and individuals. You can claim this tax credit if you are 19 years or older and a resident of Canada for the entire year. You can also claim the tax credit if you are below 19, although there are various conditions you must meet to qualify. The CWB tax credit has two main parts: the basic amount and the disability supplement. Those claiming disability supplements also need to complete the T2201 tax slip and send it to the CRA. The maximum amounts you can receive from the CRA depend on where you live and if you are single without an eligible dependant or have a family with or without eligible dependant.

An eligible dependent refers to your spouse or common-law partner's child who lived with you during the tax year, is below 19 years old, and is not eligible to claim CWB for the current taxation year. For 2020, single individuals can claim up to $1,355, reduced if you have a net income of more than $12,820. You won't be eligible if your net income is higher than $24,111 in a year. Families can claim up to $2,335, reduced for income above $17,025. Families with a net income of more than $36,483 cannot claim the CWB tax credit. The CRA calculates your CWB credit based on provincial and territorial residence, working income, marital status, net income, eligible dependent, and disability tax credit eligibility. 

Note: All of the amounts listed above do not apply for residents of Nunavut, Alberta, or Quebec. They each have their own amounts, which you can find here.

Who Is Eligible?

The Canada Workers Benefit tax credit is only available for low-income earners, so you cannot claim if your net income is above the set thresholds. You must also be a Canadian resident for the entire year and at least 19 years of age to claim workers benefit. If you are below 19, you can still claim the CWB tax credit if you have a spouse, common-law partner, or an eligible dependant. You won't be able to claim Canada Workers Benefit if you are enrolled at a designated educational institution as a full-time student for more than thirteen weeks during the tax year, unless you have an eligible dependant. Other non-eligible persons include:

  • If you were in prison or similar detention facility for ninety or more days during the tax year

  • If you are a diplomat, officer or servant of another country, or an employee or family member of such a person, not legally required to pay the annual tax

You also won't claim the CWB in 2020  if your net income exceeds $24,111 (singles) or $36,483 (families). Again, this doesn’t apply to Nunavut, Alberta, or Quebec. Those planning to claim a disability supplement must also complete T2201, the Disability Tax Credit given for physical and neurological impairment and mental illness.

What Is the Disability Supplement?

The disability supplement is a unique tax credit designated for taxpayers that complete form T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate. This tax credit is an added benefit meant for low-income workers with a disability. Only those with a disability recognized in the T2201 can apply for the CWB disability supplement. Other conditions include being a taxpayer that received the T2201 and has a net income of at least $1,150. For singles, the disability supplement in 2020 is reduced when your net income exceeds $24,569. Taxpayers earning more than $30,511 cannot claim disability supplement. For families, gradual reduction begins at $37,176 and stops at $42,118, beyond which you cannot claim the tax credit. The CRA provides a calculator and eligibility guidelines to help taxpayers determine if they qualify for the tax benefits and how much they can claim.

How Can I Claim The CWB?

To claim your Canada Workers Benefit and disability supplement, you must fill out Schedule 6 of your annual return. Schedule 6 has three main steps:

Step 1 is for calculating working income and adjusted family income, while Steps 2 and 3 are for Basic CWB and Disability Supplement, respectively. The amount from line 28 or 42 of Schedule 6 is entered on line 45300 of your income tax and benefit return.

If you are claiming the disability supplement, make sure you have your T2201 filed with the CRA. Visit the CRA official website and log in to My Account, then navigate to your tax slips. You can complete the slip submission online through NETFILE or download and fill it manually. Alternatively, you can entrust a reputable tax software like SimpleTax to help you complete form submission. Once filled, the CRA will review the application and approve it or decline it. If declined, you can request a review, send additional documents, or file a formal objection.

How to Get Advance CWB Payments?

The CRA allows taxpayers to claim up to 50% of their workers benefit in advance. Log in to CRA My Account, navigate to Canada workers benefit advance payments application, complete the application and submit online. Alternatively, you can complete the RC201 (Canada Workers Benefit payments Application) and mail the completed slip to Sudbury Tax Centre. To qualify for advance Canada Workers Benefit payments, you must submit your application before August 31. The CRA does not process any advanced payments for applications received after the deadline.

Last Updated January 11, 2021

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