Alberta Child Benefit (ACB)

Lower-income families with children may be eligible to get financial aid to help provide a better quality of life for their children.

Overview

The Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) provides direct financial assistance to lower-income families with children under 18 who have a family net income less than $41,746 per year.

It is estimated that the ACB will provide $174 million in annual benefits to families across the province. Together with the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC), approximately $320 million in combined annual benefits will be provided in 2017-18. Both the ACB and the AFETC are non-taxable benefits.

Working families may also be eligible for the enhanced Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC).

Eligibility

To be eligible for the ACB, you must:

  • be a parent of 1 or more children under the age of 18
  • have a family net income of less than $41,746 per year
  • be a resident of Alberta for at least 1 month prior to receiving the benefit
  • file a tax return

If you receive AISH, Income Support, and the child care subsidy you are also eligible to receive the ACB. Receiving ACB will not affect your eligibility for these programs.

Free tax clinics are available to prepare tax returns for eligible lower-income Albertans.

How to apply

You're automatically considered for the ACB when you file your annual tax return and if you already receive the federal government's Canada Child Benefit. No further action is required.

You can apply for the Canada Child Benefit if you meet the eligibility criteria and:

  • there's a change in your household (birth, adoption or marriage), or
  • you're a new Canadian (refugee claimants, foreign workers, international students and permanent residents)

Apply for Canada Child Benefit

Payments

The ACB program is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on the province’s behalf.

ACB payments will be mailed or direct deposited by CRA in as many as 4 installments, depending on how much you are eligible to receive. Payments are made in:

  • August
  • November
  • February
  • May

If you're eligible for less than $40 a year, you will receive either biannual or annual payments.

What you get

The amount your family receives under the ACB will depend on your income level and how many children you have who are under 18.

  • $1,114 maximum for families with one child
  • $2,785 maximum for families with 4 or more children

Families with net income of up to $25,832 will receive the maximum benefits under the ACB. Benefits begin to phase out if you earn more this, and will be fully phased out once your family net income reaches $41,746.

Use the child and family benefits calculator to find out how much you may be entitled to. Please note, you will need your income tax return to enter specific amounts.

Maximum benefit amounts

The table below displays the maximum benefit amounts for a working family receiving both the ACB and AFETC.

Number of children ACB (max.) AFETC (max.) Total benefits (max.)
1 child $1,114 $773 $1,887
2 children $1,671 $1,476 $3,147
3 children $2,228 $1,898 $4,126
4 or more children $2,785 $2,038 $4,823

Changes in household status

The ACB is paid in the second month of each 3-month eligibility period. If your household’s status changes during the benefit period, your eligibility for the benefit may change. For example:

  • if you have another child, your household may qualify for a greater benefit than you received
  • if your family leaves Alberta, you may have to return some of the money received for the months you were not living in the province

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reassesses eligibility on a regular basis, as updated household information is received.

  • If your household qualifies for a greater benefit than what was originally paid out, the CRA will issue an additional payment for the difference.
  • If your household qualifies for a smaller benefit, or no benefit, you will receive a letter from CRA indicating that any amount received over your entitlement will have to be returned. For information on how to return amounts owing, contact the CRA at 1-800-959-2809.

If a child dies

For households that receive a benefit for a child who has died, the following will apply:

  • amounts owing will be forgiven, so the benefit will not have to be returned
  • households that have already returned the benefit will receive a repayment from CRA later this year

This applies to all payments received from January 1, 2017 onwards.

Resources

Contact

Canada Revenue Agency
1-800-959-2809 (toll-free)

For information about other social supports in Alberta, call Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992.