Canada Revenue Agency: How to Get Your Benefit Payments While Staying in a Shelter

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that vulnerable Canadians, among them women and children facing abusive situations get their benefits and credits.

When you are going through a difficult time, it is all the more important to keep getting your benefit payments. Changes to your address, your marital status, the number of children in your care, etc. can directly affect your benefit payments, such as the Canada child benefit (CCB).

At any time, if you need help, you should contact the CRA directly at 1-800-387-1193 to discuss your specific situation.

Keep getting your benefit and credit payments:

  • Keep your personal information up to date with the CRA.
    • If you have moved, update your contact information with the CRA.
    • If you are now separated, you have to let the CRA know since your income affects your payment amounts.
    • If you were previously using a joint bank account, you may need to open a new one under your name and update your banking information.
  • Make sure your payments are not stopped or delayed by doing your taxes on time every year, even if you have no income to report. The CRA needs that information to calculate your benefit and credit payment amounts, including any related provincial and territorial payments.

Not getting your benefit and credit payments:

  • If you are in an abusive situation and are no longer receiving benefits because your spouse has not done their taxes, contact the CRA to continue getting your payments.
  • If you have never applied for the Canada child benefit and you have a child under 18 in your care, you should apply based on the information available to you. You do not need a signature from your ex-partner or ex-spouse in order to receive the Canada child benefit.

If you need to provide information or documents to the CRA:

If the CRA tells you it’s reviewing your eligibility to benefits, don’t panic! In most cases, it’s simply a routine check. It’s important that you reply as soon as possible so we can do our review quickly and easily. If you can’t get the documents we’re asking for, we can suggest other documents that can be provided instead.

  • If you are unable to get the documents we asked for in our letter, you can send any of the following documents instead:
    • a copy of a police report, or
    • a restraining order or order of protection, or
    • a letter from the shelter confirming that you are staying there.
    After the CRA receives any of the above, no further action is required on your part.
  • Under no circumstance will the CRA ask you to contact an abusive spouse.