Validating your eligibility for benefits and credits

Frequently asked questions about validating your eligibility for benefits and credits

  1. Why validate your eligibility for benefits and credits?
  2. Why me?
  3. Have you received a validation letter or a validation questionnaire?
  4. Documents required to support your benefits and credits

1. Why validate your eligibility for benefits and credits?

The validation process is designed to maintain the integrity of child and family benefits and credits programs. It also helps to inform and educate individuals about their eligibility and entitlement for benefits and credits.

2. Why me?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) goal is to ensure that the right benefit entitlement is paid to the right individual. The CRA accomplish this by conducting reviews to identify possible areas of non‑compliance. The CRA reviews may decrease or increase the benefits depending on the recipient’s individual circumstances.

3. Have you received a validation letter or a validation questionnaire?

Letters and questionnaires are sent to make sure that the information the CRA have about you is correct and up to date. Having the correct information ensures that you receive the family benefits/credits you are entitled to. If you have received a letter and questionnaire, it is important that you reply. If you do not reply, your child and family benefits/credits may be stopped and in some situations you may be required to repay benefits/credits already received. The CRA will inform you of the results of the review within 45 calendar days after the CRA receive the information requested.

4. Documents required to support your benefits and credits

If you are in receipt of Canada child benefits you may be contacted and requested to support your eligibility or entitlement to these benefits. In general, there are three main topics of review:

Letters and questionnaires are specific to each individual therefore the information requested in the letter/questionnaire should be provided as some documents listed below may not be acceptable.

Marital status

In most situations when the CRA validate marital status, we are looking for proof that you are not living with a spouse or common-law partner.

For the purpose of administering Canada child benefits, you might not be considered separated if you made a decision to separate, but continue to reside in the same household or following a period of living separate and apart, now share a household.

It is also important to note that a common-law relationship begins on the earlier of the following two events:

  • after you live together for a period of 12 months; or
  • the day you have a child by birth or adoption together.

If you are contacted and requested to support your marital status, the following documentation may be requested:

  • Documentation to support your current address such as:
    • property tax bills;
    • mortgage papers;
    • letter from the landlord;
    • rental/lease agreement (see letter/questionnaire if acceptable);
    • insurance policies;
    • utility bills (gas, electricity, cable television);
    • employer medical or dental plan;
    • registered retirement savings or employment pension plan naming the beneficiary for the period under review;
    • driver's license and vehicle registration (front and back);
    • other bills (telephone, cell phone) or letters (with letterhead) that show the residential addresses.
  • Letters from two different third parties containing the following information:
    • the name and signature of the writer;
    • the profession of the writer;
    • the writer's contact information, including address and telephone number;
    • the writer must attest that they have personal knowledge that the recipient did not reside with the other individual during the period of separation;
    • period(s) of separation.

  See letter/questionnaire if acceptable.

  • A separation agreement/divorce decree, providing it shows different addresses for you and your former spouse/common-law partner, covering the period under review.

Examples of third parties who can complete the letter:

  • your employer
  • social worker
  • school authorities
  • band council
  • insurance company
  • bank manager or officer with financial signing authority
  • clergy
  • medical doctor
  • lawyer
  • notary (in the province of Quebec)
  • post master


If there are uncertainties about where an individual is residing, the CRA may need to confirm that the individual is considered a resident of Canada for tax purposes.

If you are contacted and requested to support your residential status, the following documentation may be requested:

  • A completed Form NR73, Determination of Residency Status (Leaving Canada), which includes:
    • The purpose of your stay outside Canada.
    • List of the ties you maintained in Canada during any absence such as:
      • health care coverage;
      • driver's license;
      • availability of a residence;
      • memberships in social or professional organizations;
      • bank accounts.
    • Other ties to Canada and abroad.

Primary caregiver

The primary caregiver must live with the child and be the individual who primarily fulfills the responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child.

To determine who the primary caregiver of the children is, you may be requested to provide documents to support that the children resided with you during the period under review:

  • A list of all the children who have been living with you and their dates of birth.
  • Proof of birth for the children.
  • Documentation from the following sources for the period under review:
    • A letter from the nursery or school authorities indicating the contact information on file for the children, if applicable.
    • A letter from your family doctor/dentist confirming the children are under the doctor/dentist's care and indicating with whom the children resided.
    • A copy of the children's report card indicating the contact information on file for the children.
    • A copy of the child's registration/enrolment document or information/emergency contact sheet, signed and certified by the school to be a true copy.
    • A letter from the school board or appropriate educational authority confirming that you have a home school arrangement, if your child(ren) are being home schooled.
    • A registration form or a receipt from an activity or club the child was enrolled in.
    • A complete and signed court order, decree or separation agreement; the documentation must detail the type of custody arrangement (for example, shared custody) and accurately reflect the living arrangement for the child(ren).
    • Any other documentation indicating that the children resided with you during this period (see letter/questionnaire if acceptable).
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