Here’s how to get an extra $500 from the government to help you pay rent

Nov 30 2022, 6:29 pm

The cost of living is too damn high.

Whether it’s gas prices or rising food costs, Canadians are feeling the pinch of inflation.

The bills stack up, especially when you add paying rent into the mix. It doesn’t help that many provinces have seen a drastic jump in rental prices over the last year.

The federal government is hoping to ease the burden on people’s bank accounts through its rent top-up program, which came became law earlier this month.

Millions of Canadians can get an extra, one-time, tax-free $500 top-up from the government’s Canada Housing Benefit.

Applications open on December 12, so here’s what you should know before you apply.

Who’s eligible?

The federal Canada Housing Benefit top-up aims to help low-income renters, with around 1.8 million Canadians eligible for the extra cash.

You’ll need to fit the following criteria to have access to the top-up:

  • You were born on or before December 1, 2007 (at least 15 years old on December 1, 2022)
  • The home, cottage, condo, or apartment where you normally live and pay rent was in Canada on December 1, 2022
  • You are a resident of Canada in 2022 for tax purposes
  • In 2021, you had an adjusted family net income of:
    • $35,000 or less for families
    • $20,000 or less for individuals
  • The 2022 eligible rent that you paid was:
    • paid in the 2022 calendar year
    • paid for any of your qualifying principal residences in 2022
    • equal to at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income

You can find out what you can include as your eligible rent here. To find out if your rent payments are 30% of your adjusted family net income, click here.

What to have ready before you apply

You’ll need to ensure that you filed your 2021 income taxes and have all of your rent information on hand.

That rental information includes:

  • Addresses of any principal residences in Canada in 2022
  • Total rent you paid in the 2022 calendar year for these residences
  • Name and contact information of your landlord

Make sure you have access to your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Account, as that is the fastest way to apply for the top-up program.

The government also advises that you have your direct deposit info up to date with the CRA.

This is just one of the many national benefits that have become law in the last few months.

In October, the feds officially doubled the GST Credit, and the kid’s dental care program kicks in on December 1.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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