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Published December 6, 2022

The Canada Dental Benefit: Who’s Eligible and How to Apply

The new Canada Dental Benefit aims to reduce dental costs for families earning less than $90,000 a year. Benefits are somewhat limited, and only apply to children under 12.

As of December 1, 2022, families earning less than $90,000 in adjusted net income can apply for assistance in covering their kids’ dental costs through the Canada Dental Benefit.

If your finances are already under pressure, a trip to the dentist isn’t likely to help, but a few hundred dollars from the government just might. Let’s dig into what the Canada Dental Benefit provides eligible families and how to apply. 

What is the Canada Dental Benefit?

The Canada Dental Benefit provides Canadian families a maximum of two tax-free payments of up to $650 per eligible child. To receive these payments, children must be under 12 years old and not be covered by a private dental plan.

The payments are being distributed over two separate periods: October 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and July 1, 2023 to June 20, 2024. To receive both payments, you must apply during each payment period.

The amount you receive per child is based on your adjusted family net income:

  • Families earning less than $70,000 receive $650 per child.
  • Families earning $70,000 to $79,999 receive $390 per child.
  • Families earning $80,000 to $89,999 receive $260 per child.

If your family earns $65,000 in net income, for example, and you have three children under 12, you should be eligible to receive $1,950 in this first round of Canada Dental Benefit payments. 

If your children are still all under 12 by July 1, and your income doesn’t exceed the $70,000 threshold, you should be able to apply for another $1,950 during the next payment period.

If you share custody of an eligible child, both you and the co-parent can apply for the Canada Dental Benefit, but the most either of you will receive is 50% of the maximum amount. 

If your child’s dental costs are higher than $650 in this first payment period, you may be eligible for an additional payment when applications open for the second period on July 1, 2023.

Who’s eligible for the Canada Dental Benefit

To be eligible for the Canada Dental Benefit, you must:

  • Be receiving the Canada Child Benefit.
  • Have filed your 2021 income tax return. The same applies for your spouse or common-law partner.
  • Be earning a net adjusted household income of less than $90,000.

For children to be eligible, they must:

  • Be under 12 years old as of December 1, 2022.
  • Receive dental care services in Canada between October 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.
  • Not have access to a private dental insurance plan.
  • Not have their dental costs fully covered by another government-provided dental program.

Applying for the Canada Dental Benefit

You can apply for the Canada Dental Benefit either by calling 1-800-715-8836 or through CRA My Account. The average processing time for both online and telephone applications is five to 10 days. 

If you’re applying by phone, you’ll need to confirm your identity. Have your Social Insurance Number handy, as well as your full name and date of birth, complete address and a tax document like an assessed tax return or notice of assessment

Before applying, there are a few things you can do to help the Canada Revenue Agency process your application smoothly.

1. Get your information ready

You’ll need to provide the name, address and telephone number of each eligible child’s dental care provider, as well as the expected date of any eligible dental appointments. If applicable, you’ll also have to provide contact information for your employer and your spouse or common law partner’s employer.

2. Collect your dental receipts 

The CRA encourages parents to keep six years’ worth of dental receipts in case an application needs to be validated. 

3. Open or update your CRA My Account

Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your Canada Dental Benefit payment, so ensure that you open a CRA My Account and that your direct deposit information is up to date and accurate.

About the Author

Clay Jarvis

Clay Jarvis is NerdWallet’s mortgage and real estate expert in Canada. Thus far, his entire professional writing career has revolved around real estate. Prior to joining NerdWallet, he was the editor and senior writer for four publications, including the leading website for the country’s mortgage industry, Mortgage Broker News. Clay has written 30,000-word examinations of Canada’s real estate investment market, interviewed the industry’s most powerful leaders and analysts, and has helped choose both the nation’s top realtors and mortgage brokers. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.

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