Because nothing is easy for us when it comes to the Canadian government, especially anything that involves FORMS, I’ve had trouble claiming my Child Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit. I filled out my forms dutifully back in February and sent them off. I had to answer some extra questions about Thomas because he’s an American with permanent residency.
Thomas’ road to permanent residency was awful for a variety of reasons, misunderstandings and mistakes, boiling down to the fact that no one except a very expensive lawyer understood that members of the clergy do not need a work permit. To make a long story short, we were very relieved when Thomas got his permanent residency last summer. It takes any clergy exemptions of the equation and everyone seems to understand the rules around permanent residency. You’re a resident. Permanently. Easy-peasy.
So I answered the extra questions about Thomas and his status in Canada, sent it off and waited for the money to be deposited into our account.
A few weeks later I received a letter demanding more information about Thomas, particularly the date in 2004 that he arrived in Canada, among other things involving any income from outside Canada (none, and so says his 2009 tax return, which they use to calculate the Child Tax Benefit) and to reply within 30 days or they would assume we were “not eligible” and would close the account. I reread the letter and the application form and could not understand what they wanted or which parts were relevant and which weren’t and how to understand it any other way than the way I had when I filled it out the first time. Believing I was just tired and not this stupid, I put away the letter and reread it the next day. I still didn’t get it. Then I put away for a few days and convinced myself that I had sent it away again.
I unearthed it about a week ago, reread it (didn’t get it) and resigned myself to the fact that I would have to call and have them guide me through it.
I hadn’t a chance to call yet when today, we found that the government had deposited over $700 into our account. Quoi? We were expecting $330 for the HST refund. (Americans are now thinking that being Canadian is nothing but long winters and government cheques… it is!) Anyone who IS receiving their child benefits received them today and after a little calculation, I realized that this was four months (dating back to February) of both benefits. That I was told I couldn’t get.
So here’s my dilemma: I know that I am entitled to this. I also know I was told that until I gave them more information about Thomas’ immigration status, I wasn’t getting a dime. If I call, will it open a can of worms? If I say nothing, will I have problems down the road? Did they have all the information they needed, realized that later and then told me nothing about it and filed my application? What is going on??
Oh, the government.