Employment Insurance (EI) and overpayments

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What you should know

In order to protect the Employment Insurance Fund, we are responsible for ensuring that EI benefits are only paid to eligible individuals. This responsibility is shared by all workers, employers and the Government of Canada.

EI applications for which benefits have been paid or have become payable are reviewed regularly. These revisions sometimes reveal that individuals have received amounts to which they were not entitled and an overpayment is established. In addition, if it is established that fraud was committed, punitive measures are imposed.

According to the EI Act, we may review a claim for benefits within 36 months following the time the benefits were paid or became payable. On the other hand, if in our opinion, a false or misleading declaration was made, the length of time for revision is extended to 72 months.

Causes of overpayment

An overpayment may originate in various ways. For example:

  • An error or a false declaration on your part when you submitted your application for benefits or when you filled out your report
  • An error or a false declaration on the part of your employer when issuing your record of employment
  • An error on our part in processing your application
  • New facts provided by you, your employer or a third party as a result of an enquiry/investigation or other verification measures taken by us
  • Decisions made by the Canada Revenue Agency with respect to the insurability of your employment

Mistakes can happen

If you have made a mistake filling out your report or any other form, it is important that you notify us as soon as possible. You must call our Telephone Information Service at 1 800 206-7218 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, write to us or go in person to your Service Canada Centre. Do not forget, if you conceal or falsify information, you are committing fraud and this is punishable by law.

Tip: Use the reporting calendar to keep track of your earnings and hours worked.

Repaying an overpayment

If it is determined that you have an overpayment, you will receive a monthly statement of account from Service Canada indicating the amount due. You are required to repay the debt due in full upon receipt of the statement of account by using one of our three repayment methods.

If you are unable to repay the amount in full, you must make the minimum monthly payment indicated on the statement of account.

You can also contact a recovery agent to set up a repayment arrangement.

Please note that if you are currently receiving EI benefits, you can ask for an amount to be withheld from your benefits. However, if you have not agreed to a repayment arrangement with a recovery agent, repayment of your debt will be recovered automatically at 50% of your EI benefit rate.

Do not forget that, when applicable, interest will accumulate until your account is paid in full.

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