Extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), by providing more weeks of payments and letting Canadians earn some extra income, would cost Ottawa an extra $64-billion.
That according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who says under one scenario, the government would claw back 50-cents of each dollar earned over $1,000 and allow recipients to get another 12-weeks of benefits.
The first group of CERB recipients will hit the current limit of 16-weeks early in July.
Yves Giroux says simply increasing the maximum number of weeks to 28, and extending the program through to January, would cost about $57.9-billion.
Under either scenario, the Parliamentary spending watchdog estimates letting someone receive payments for 28-weeks, rather than the current max of 16, could be an incentive for some Canadians not to return to work as restrictions ease and businesses reopen.
Meanwhile, the Canada Revenue Agency says there have been 190,00 repayments for CERB claims that Canadians were not eligible for.
CRA’s also looking into 600 tips about potential abuse of CERB and other COVID-19 related benefits.