Breaking Down the Application Process for the $500 Canada Housing Benefit

Rate this post

Are you a low-income renter who is struggling to afford your housing costs? Do you want to receive a one-time payment of $500 to help you with your rent? If you answered yes to both questions, you may be eligible for the Canada Housing Benefit, a new benefit that was introduced by the federal government in December 2022.

Diverse group applying for the $500 Canada Housing Benefit online, with Canadian flag and financial relief symbols, showcasing digital accessibility.
Empowering Canadians: A Step-by-Step Guide to the $500 Canada Housing Benefit Application Process.

Key Takeaway Box

  • The one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit is a $500 payment for low-income renters who pay more than 30% of their income on rent
  • You can apply for the one-time top-up online through your CRA My Account, or by phone, web form, or mail
  • You need to provide your 2021 tax return, 2022 address and landlord information, rent receipts or lease agreement, and bank account information
  • You will receive a response from the CRA within a few weeks, and your payment by direct deposit or cheque
  • This is a one-time payment and not a recurring benefit, so you should also look for other ways to improve your housing affordability and stability

In this article, we will explain what the Canada Housing Benefit is, who can apply for it, how to prepare your application, and what to expect after you submit it. We will also address some common issues and questions that you may encounter along the way. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how to apply for the Canada Housing Benefit and receive your $500 top-up.

Introduction: Understanding the Benefit

The Canada Housing Benefit is a rental subsidy that is part of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy. It provides $4 billion in financial assistance to low-income households and vulnerable persons with their private rental payments, until 2028¹. Each province and territory has its own housing benefit program, designed to match the specific needs and housing markets of their region.

The benefit is portable, meaning that you can rent any private unit anywhere in your province, rather than being tied to a specific social housing building. It is also paid directly to you, rather than going to your landlord¹.

In December 2022, the federal government announced a one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, to provide additional support to lower-income renters who are facing housing affordability challenges due to rising inflation and the high cost of living. This top-up is a one-time payment of $500 that you can apply for online through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

What You Need to Know Before Applying

Before you apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, you need to make sure that you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You have filed a 2021 tax return
  • You are at least 15 years of age as of December 1, 2022
  • You are a resident in Canada in 2022 for tax purposes
  • You have an adjusted family net income of $20,000 or less for individuals, or $35,000 or less for families
  • You have paid at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income on rent for your principal residence in the 2022 calendar year
  • You can provide your 2022 address(es) and landlord’s contact information

If you meet all these conditions, you can apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit through your CRA My Account. If you do not have a CRA My Account, you can register for one online, or use a web form to apply. You can also call the CRA’s dedicated phone line at 1-800-282-8079 to complete your application with an agent².

You will need to retain receipts or documentation for six years to support your application, in case the CRA contacts you to validate your eligibility. If you are found to be ineligible for the benefit, you will have to repay the $500 that you received.

IMPORTANT LINKS:

How to Prepare Your Housing Benefit Application

To prepare your application for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, you will need to gather the following information and documents:

  • Your social insurance number (SIN)
  • Your 2021 notice of assessment or reassessment
  • Your 2022 address(es) and landlord’s contact information
  • Your rent receipts or lease agreement for 2022
  • Your bank account information for direct deposit (optional)

You can find your 2021 notice of assessment or reassessment online through your CRA My Account, or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281. You can also request a proof of income statement (option C printout) from the CRA, which shows your adjusted family net income for 2021.

You will need to provide your 2022 address(es) and landlord’s contact information, to confirm that you are renting a private unit in your province. You will also need to provide your rent receipts or lease agreement for 2022, to show how much rent you have paid or will pay for the year. If you have moved or changed landlords during the year, you will need to provide the information for each address and landlord.

You can choose to receive your one-time top-up by direct deposit or by cheque. If you choose direct deposit, you will need to provide your bank account information, such as your branch number, institution number, and account number. You can find this information on your cheques, or by contacting your financial institution. Direct deposit is faster and more secure than receiving a cheque by mail².

Step-by-Step Application Process

Once you have prepared your application, you can follow these steps to apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit²:

  1. Go to the CRA website and log in to your CRA My Account. If you do not have a CRA My Account, you can register for one online, or use a web form to apply. You can also call the CRA’s dedicated phone line at 1-800-282-8079 to apply with an agent.
  2. Under the “COVID-19: One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit” section, click on “Apply now”.
  3. Review the eligibility criteria and confirm that you meet them. Click on “Continue”.
  4. Enter your 2022 address(es) and landlord’s contact information. Click on “Continue”.
  5. Enter the amount of rent that you have paid or will pay for each month in 2022. Upload your rent receipts or lease agreement for 2022, or mail them to the CRA. Click on “Continue”.
  6. Choose how you want to receive your one-time top-up: by direct deposit or by cheque. If you choose direct deposit, enter your bank account information. Click on “Continue”.
  7. Review your application and make sure that all the information is correct and complete. Click on “Submit”.
  8. You will receive a confirmation number and a summary of your application. Keep this information for your records.

When to Expect a Response

After you submit your application, you will receive a response from the CRA within a few weeks. The CRA will review your application and verify your eligibility for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit. If your application is approved, you will receive your $500 payment by direct deposit or by cheque, depending on your choice².

If you applied through your CRA My Account online, it takes up to five business days to deposit the amount to your account. If you can’t apply through your CRA My Account, a cheque will be mailed to you, which will arrive in about ten business days⁵.

If your application is denied, you will receive a letter from the CRA explaining the reason for the denial and your options to appeal the decision. You can also contact the CRA at 1-800-282-8079 to inquire about the status of your application or the reason for the denial².

Common Issues and How to Avoid Them

Some of the common issues and questions that you may encounter when applying for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit are:

How do I know if I pay more than 30% of my income on rent?

To calculate the percentage of your income that you pay on rent, you can use this formula: (Rent / Adjusted Family Net Income) x 100. For example, if your rent is $800 per month and your adjusted family net income is $20,000 per year, you pay 48% of your income on rent: ($800 x 12) / $20,000 x 100 = 48%. You can find your adjusted family net income on your 2021 notice of assessment or reassessment, or on your proof of income statement from the CRA.

What if I live with other people who are not part of my family?

If you live with other people who are not part of your family, such as roommates or friends, you can still apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. However, you will need to provide proof of how much rent you pay individually, and not the total rent for the unit. You can use a rent receipt or a lease agreement that shows your name and the amount of rent that you pay. If you do not have such documents, you can ask your landlord to provide you with a letter that confirms your rent amount.

What if I receive other housing benefits or subsidies?

If you receive other housing benefits or subsidies from the federal, provincial, or municipal governments, such as the Canada – Ontario Housing Benefit, the Quebec Shelter Allowance Program, or the Ontario Trillium Benefit, you can still apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. However, you will need to report the amount of other housing benefits or subsidies that you receive as part of your income, and include them in your adjusted family net income calculation. You can find the amount of other housing benefits or subsidies that you receive on your T5007 slip, or on your benefit statement from the respective program.

What if I have not filed my 2021 tax return yet?

If you have not filed your 2021 tax return yet, you will need to do so as soon as possible, as it is one of the eligibility criteria for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit. You can file your 2021 tax return online, by mail, or through a tax preparer. The deadline to file your 2021 tax return was April 30, 2023, but you can still file it after the deadline, as long as you do it before December 31, 2023, which is the deadline to apply for the one-time top-up.

However, if you file your 2021 tax return late, you may face some consequences, such as:

  • A late-filing penalty of 5% of your 2021 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, up to a maximum of 12 months
  • Interest charges on the unpaid amount of your 2021 balance owing, calculated from the due date until the date of payment
  • A delay in receiving your one-time top-up, as the CRA will need to process your 2021 tax return and verify your eligibility before issuing your payment

Therefore, it is advisable to file your 2021 tax return as soon as you can, to avoid these penalties and delays, and to receive your one-time top-up faster.

Next Steps After Submission

After you submit your application for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, you can check the status of your application and payment through your CRA My Account. You can also contact the CRA at 1-800-282-8079 if you have any questions or concerns about your application or payment.

If you receive your one-time top-up, you can use it to help you with your rent or other housing expenses. However, you should keep in mind that this is a one-time payment and not a recurring benefit. Therefore, you should also explore other options to improve your housing affordability and stability, such as:

  • Applying for other housing benefits or subsidies that you may be eligible for, such as the Canada – Ontario Housing Benefit, the Quebec Shelter Allowance Program, or the Ontario Trillium Benefit
  • Seeking financial assistance or counselling from local organizations or agencies that offer housing support or advocacy, such as the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, or the Housing Help Association of Ontario
  • Looking for more affordable or suitable housing options in your area, such as co-operative housing, rent-geared-to-income housing, or supportive housing

We hope that this article has helped you understand how to apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit and receive your $500 payment. If you have any feedback or suggestions for us, please let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading, and remember, Hustlers, you are not alone in your housing journey. We are here to support you and provide you with the best information and resources possible. Stay tuned for more articles from HustleHub, your ultimate source for housing tips and tricks. 🏠


Source: (1) Housing benefits – Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/housing.html. (2) How to Claim Housing Benefit New CRA Benefits in 2024. https://hustlehub.ca/claim-housing-benefit-and-new-cra-benefits-in-2024/. (3) Lower-income renters in Canada can now apply for a one-time $500 top-up …. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/2022/12/the-application-portal-for-the-one-time-top-up-to-the-canada-housing-benefit-is-now-open.html. (4) Benefits payment dates – Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/calendar.html.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Revolutionize Your Income: Start Your Business in 2024 5 Smart Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Expenses US News Roundup: Gas Crisis, Emmys, H1B Visa and More E-commerce Mastery: Leveraging Write-Offs for Online Businesses Unlock Financial Freedom: Perks of Owning Your Business
Revolutionize Your Income: Start Your Business in 2024 5 Smart Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Expenses US News Roundup: Gas Crisis, Emmys, H1B Visa and More E-commerce Mastery: Leveraging Write-Offs for Online Businesses Unlock Financial Freedom: Perks of Owning Your Business