In July, families with children under 18 received their first cheque (or a direct deposit!) from the Government of Canada for the enhanced universal child care benefit. You may have seen this video circulating, but you probably still have a question or two about the Universal Child Care Benefit and how it will affect your family.
What is the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)?
In 2006, the Canadian government introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) “to help Canadian families, as they try to balance work and family life, by supporting their child care choices through direct financial support.”
The enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit has increased monthly payment to families with children under 6 years old from $100 to $160, and now the benefit includes payments of $60 for each child 6 to 17, regardless of your family’s income.
However, because the UCCB is a taxable benefit, how much you’ll have to give back to the government at tax season is determined by your income.
What’s The Difference Between The Universal Child Care Benefit And The Canada Child Tax Benefit?
Unlike the tax-free Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and the National Child Benefit (NCB), which is given to low-income families with children under 18, the Universal Child Care Benefit is available to every family with children under 18. Family income is a determining factor used to calculate CCTB, but income is not a factor for the UCCB.
Service Canada states, “families already receiving the Canada Child Tax Benefit will automatically receive the Universal Child Care Benefit”, and “families that do not receive the Universal Child Care Benefit will be able to apply for the Universal Child Care Benefit by submitting a completed Universal Child Care Benefit application form to the CRA.” Here is the the Universal Child Care Benefit application form.
What Does The Universal Child Care Benefit Change? How Does It Affect The Child Tax Credit?
Besides an increased monthly payment for all children under 18, the enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit has replaced the existing Child Tax Credit (CTC), which was a non-refundable tax credit given to parents of children under 18.
How Does The Universal Child Care Benefit Work?
The Universal Child Care Benefit will give families a lump sum for July, which includes the new benefit payment for this month, as well as an extra $60 each month from January to June 2015. Starting August, the monthly payment will be the new benefit rate per month.
For an illustrated breakdown of how the Universal Child Care Benefit will change, watch this short video.
Is My Family Eligible For The Universal Child Care Benefit?
According to Canada Revenue Agency, to receive the UCCB, you must meet the conditions listed on their website, which include:
- You must live with the child
- The child is under the age of 18
- You are the person primarily responsible for the child’s care and upbringing
- You are a resident of Canada
- You or your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, a protected person, or a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for at least 18 months
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