Universal Child Care Benefit 101
Find out if you qualify for the UCCB and how to apply.
By Rhea Seymour
Still waiting for your Tory childcare tax credit cheque to arrive, when your friends already have theirs? The first cheques went out in July, but many parents still don’t realize that they may have to apply to receive their money. And the application process is more than a little confusing. Here’s how to get your cash quickly and what you can expect to receive:
who can apply for the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)
You’re eligible to receive the UCCB if you live with a child under age 6, you’re primarily responsible for his or her care, you’re a resident of Canada and you or your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or resident.
do you need to apply?
DO NOT APPLY for the UCCB if you have applied for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). Even if you were not eligible for it, you should automatically receive the UCCB for each child under six. If you receive a cheque for only one child or want to check your information, call the CCTB toll-free at 1-800-387-1193. They will confirm if you’re in the database and inform you of when you will be receiving your cheque.
DO APPLY if you’ve never applied for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, because the Universal Child Care Benefit is processed using the CCTB application (even
though the funds are separate and you can qualify for both). Download the CCTB application form or contact the Canada Revenue Agency for a form at 1-800-959-2221. You’ll need to include proof of birth for each of your children over age one and under age six. Once you’ve completed your application, drop it off or mail it to the tax centre or Canada Revenue Agency [www.cra-arc.gc.ca/contact/tso-e.html] nearest you.
when will I receive my money?
The first UCCB payments went out in July 2006, and will continue to go out around the 20th of each month. Those who didn’t apply right away will be able to receive retroactive payments back 11 months.
how much will I get?
The UCCB will be a monthly payment of $100 per month per child under six. However, this money is taxable at the rate applied to the lower income-earning spouse. If you’re in the lowest income tax bracket in Ontario and have one child, for example, you’ll end up with $944.40 in your pocket for the year after federal and provincial taxes are deducted. If the lower income earner in your house is in the highest tax bracket, that leaves $718.08. Taxable UCCB income doesn’t factor in when calculating your eligibility for the CCTB or GST tax credit, however.
where can I get more information?
Log on to the UCCB information sheet on the Canada Revenue Agency web site or onto www.universalchildcare.ca.Source: www.canadianfamily.ca