Need relief? 5 programs homeowners should know about

Canadian wallets have taken a wallop as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

Need relief? 5 programs homeowners should know about

Canadian wallets have taken a wallop as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recently released Financial Literacy Month survey from the Financial Planners of Canada:

  • 41% of Canadians feel they are in a worse financial position than at the start of the pandemic;
  • Only 54% feel their financial position is strong enough to withstand the second wave;
  • Half of Canadians under age 35 have already borrowed money to make up for financial shortfalls.

(Source: Coping With Covid’s Financial Impact survey, FP Canada)

Although the country’s economic recovery is underway, many Canadians may feel uncertain about their employment prospects, especially as local coronavirus flare-ups disrupt business activity.

Planning ahead can offer some peace of mind during uncertain times. Here are five coronavirus relief programs every homeowner should be aware of: four government programs that can help make up for financial shortfalls arising from illness, childcare responsibilities or, lost wages; plus one additional option – mortgage deferral – that’s worth thinking hard about with the help of a mortgage professional.

Employment Insurance (EI)

Who qualifies: Workers who logged a minimum of 120 insurable hours during the past 52 weeks, who lost their job through no fault of their own, or who left work temporarily due to maternity or parental leave, sickness, etc.

Approximate benefit amount: At least $500 per week, $300 per week for extended parental benefits

How to apply: Get more program details on the federal government’s Employment Insurance and Leave page.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Who qualifies: Workers who aren’t eligible for EI (including self-employed freelancers and gig-economy workers), who can’t work, or whose income has dropped by 50% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit replaces the Canada Emergency Recovery Benefit (CERB), which ended in late September.

Approximate benefit amount: $500 per week for up to 26 weeks

How to apply: Learn more about CRB on the federal government’s Canada Recovery Benefit page.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Who qualifies: Workers who are unable to work because they caught COVID-19, have been asked to self-isolate due to COVID-19-related reasons, or must stay home due to another condition or medical treatment that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Approximate benefit amount: $500 per week, with a two-week maximum

How to apply: Find out if you qualify for CRSB on the federal government’s Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit page.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Who qualifies: Workers who have to stop working or who must work less than 50% of the week due to caregiving for a child/family member under age 12 whose school or day care is closed due to COVID-19, or who is sick or required to quarantine for COVID-19-related medical reasons.

Approximate benefit amount: A maximum of $500 a week for up to 26 weeks per household

How to apply: Learn if you qualify for this income support program on the federal government’s Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit page.

TIP: Don’t forget that some COVID-relief benefits are considered taxable income.

Finally, let’s take a look at one non-government COVID-19 relief program that was in the news a lot this last year:

Mortgage Payment Deferral Programs

Who qualifies: Homeowners experiencing financial hardship can apply for up to six months of mortgage-payment deferrals from participating lenders. Deferred payments (including principal and interest) are added to your mortgage and repaid (by you) down the road. This means that you’re likely to end up paying more over time than if you had not sought a deferral.

One alternative worth considering is mortgage refinancing.

Refinancing at today’s lower interest rates may lower your monthly payments, with or without extending your amortization period.

If you’re also carrying high-interest consumer debt, refinancing allows you to pull equity from your home to pay it off. You’re trading high-interest “bad” debt for low-interest “good” debt and eliminating a couple monthly bills that may have been causing you financial stress. A mortgage professional can help you determine what mortgage solution is best for your situation.

Approximate savings: Varies

How to apply: Visit the 8Twelve Mortgage site for more info or to reach a Mortgage Strategist who can offer personalized advice tailored to your circumstances.

If you have concerns about your financial health and wellness this November, research your options today – you’ll feel more secure knowing what help is available should you need it.