Concerned about a CERB double payment?

Find out what to do if you mistakenly applied twice for the benefit

April 29, 2020  3 minute read

If you were surprised to get two identical Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) payments for your first eligibility period, you’re not alone. A few Canadians inadvertently registered for both the CERB and EI and received payments for both. If you are one of them, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) will send you a letter with instructions on how you can repay one of the $2000 payments, without interest or penalties. 

What was the issue?

  • The CERB is being jointly delivered by Service Canada and the CRA. Canadians who became eligible for EI on or after March 15th are automatically enrolled in the CERB.
  • You are allowed to apply for the CERB through either agency, but not both. Until mid-April, the system did not flag a duplicate application, so some Canadians mistakenly applied twice. 
  • A fix has been made to the CRA website as of Monday, April 13th which lets clients trying to apply for the CERB know if they have already applied for EI. They will be notified that they have already registered to receive payment from Service Canada or vice versa. 

What should you do if you got a duplicate payment?

Set the $2,000 duplicate payment aside and don’t spend it. You can wait for the CRA to send you a letter outlining how you can pay back the money, or you can find repayment instructions on the CRA website

Keep in mind that if you have already received a payment and then receive a second one in error via electronic deposit, you can ask Coastal Community to return the payment electronically to the Receiver General.

Is every CERB double payment a mistake?

No, it is possible to apply for a retroactive eligibility period as well as the current one. If you applied for two eligibility periods, you would expect to get two payments of $2,000, one of which would be the retroactive payment. Both payments would come from the same agency. 

Remember that the red flag for a duplicate payment in error is receiving payments from both the CRA and Service Canada for the same eligibility period. 

We’re committed to sharing helpful and timely information to support you and our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. If there’s a topic you would like us to explore, please email

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