Validating your eligibility for benefits and credits

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) might ask you for documents as part of the validation process. The purpose of the validation process is to:

  • make sure that the right benefit and credit is paid to the right individual
  • inform and educate individuals about their eligibility and entitlement for benefits and credits
  • maintain the integrity of child and family benefit and credit programs by reviewing areas of possible non-compliance

Our review could increase or decrease your benefits, depending on your situation.

What do you need to do if you receive a letter or questionnaire?

If the CRA sends you a letter or questionnaire, you must reply. If you do not, your child and family benefits or credits could stop. In some situations you might have to repay benefits or credits you already received.

We send letters and questionnaires to make sure the information we have about you is correct and up to date so that you get the benefits or credits that you should.

Letters and questionnaires are specific to each individual. It is important that you send the information we asked for in the letter or questionnaire. We may ask for some of the documents listed on this page.

How to send your documents

If you receive a letter or questionnaire from us, we will tell you how to send us your documents. Make sure that the copies of your documents are clear, easy to read, and contain the information we asked for.

You or your authorized representative can send us your documents:

Keep a copy of any receipts, forms, and documents that you send us. If you have questions about the letter you got, call the telephone number on the letter.

Documents we may ask you for

The most common areas of review are:

Marital status

If you don't report your correct marital status, it can affect the calculation of your child and family benefits and credits. Some common errors include defining if you are separated or living with a spouse or common-law partner.

You might not be considered separated if:

  • you decided to separate but still live together
  • you now share a household after a period of living apart

A common-law relationship begins on the earlier of these two events:

  • after you have lived together for 12 consecutive months
  • the day you have a child together by birth or adoption

We may ask for any of the following documents to support your marital status:

  • documents to support your current address such as:
    • property tax bills
    • mortgage papers
    • letter from the landlord
    • rental or lease agreement
    • 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 with 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 has personal knowledge that the recipient did not live with the other individual during the period of separation
    • period(s) of separation
  • a separation agreement or divorce decree, if it shows different addresses for you and your former spouse or common-law partner, covering the period under review

Examples of third parties who can write the letter:

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


If there are doubts about where you live, we might need to confirm that you are considered a resident of Canada for tax purposes.

If we contact you and ask that you support your residential status, we may ask for the following documents:

  • a completed Form NR73, Determination of Residency Status (Leaving Canada), which includes:
    • the purpose of your stay outside Canada
    • a list of the ties you kept 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 is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child.

We may ask you to send us documents to prove that you are the primary caregiver and that the child lived with you during the period under review. We may ask you for:

  • a list of all the children who have been living with you and their dates of birth
  • proof of birth for the child
  • documents from the following sources for the period under review:
    • a letter from the nursery or school authorities stating the contact information on file for the child, if applicable
    • a letter from your family doctor or dentist confirming the child is under the doctor or dentist's care and stating who the child lives with
    • a copy of the child's report card showing the contact information on file for the child
    • a copy of the child's school registration or enrolment document or information or 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 is 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 document must explain the type of custody arrangement you have (for example, shared custody) and accurately reflect the living arrangement for the child
  • any other documents showing that the child lived with you during this period (if the letter or questionnaire says that this is acceptable)
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