Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 24 - Section 8

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24.8.0 Benefit period

In order to establish a benefit period for EI special benefits, the self-employed person must meet the qualifying conditions notes Footnote 1 . Further, an application for benefits must be filed with the Commission and a claimant must prove they have experienced an interruption of earnings prior to the commencement of their benefit period.

In the absence of meeting any of these conditions, a benefit period may not be established.

24.8.1 Interruption of earnings and a week of unemployment

An interruption of earnings must have been experienced before a claim can be established. However, in order to be considered for special benefits, a self-employed person must continue to meet the definition of a week of unemployment (which carries the same definition as an interruption of earnings) each and every week for which benefits are sought.

24.8.2 Commencement of the benefit period

A benefit period begins on the later of either the Sunday of the week in which the interruption of earnings occurs and the Sunday of the week in which the initial claim for benefits is made Footnote 2 .

24.8.3 Antedate (late initial claim)

An antedate on a claim for benefits is a legislated provision Footnote 3 which allows the Commission to consider a claim as though it was filed on an earlier date if the claimant can show that they qualified to receive benefits on that earlier date and that there was good cause for the delay throughout . Details on the definition and application of an antedate are found in Section 3.1.0 of the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles. The adjudication principles applicable to an antedate for EI self-employment special benefits are the same as for all EI benefits.

24.8.4 Duration of the benefit period

The duration of a benefit period for self-employment special benefits is 52 weeks, subject to the same extension provisions as are present for EI benefits Footnote 4 . The cumulative number of weeks of any extension(s), however, may not exceed 52. As a result, the maximum duration of any benefit period, including any applicable extensions, cannot exceed 104 weeks.

24.8.5 Waiting period

A two-week waiting period Footnote 5 must be served for all claims for self-employment special benefits. The conditions are the same as for EI benefits with respect to earnings that fall therein (and those earnings which may be excluded from allocation during the waiting period), waiving of the period and/or deferral of the period. Specific conditions are dependent on the type of benefits sought and are detailed under the appropriate benefit type in this chapter.

Further information on the commencement of the waiting period, its effect on a claim, and circumstances such as disentitlements and earnings that may impact a waiting period are provided in Chapter 1.8 of the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles.

24.8.6 Extensions of the benefit period

The criteria for considering an extension(s) of the benefit period mirror those in EI benefits. In other words, extensions can be considered when the self-employed person received severance monies (from insured employment with an employer), received payments with respect to a preventative withdrawal from the workforce, or was in receipt of worker's compensation benefits. When a self- employed person is incarcerated, an extension of the benefit period may be granted when the claimant provides proof they were not found guilty of the charge(s) that lead to the incarceration(s).

Further, a benefit period extension may be required beyond the normal 52 weeks, to allow for the payment of all types of special benefits, to a maximum benefit period of 104 weeks (102 weeks paid) Footnote 6 .

[ November 2015 ]

24.8.7 Calculation of the benefit rate for self-employment special benefits

The weekly benefit rate for self-employment special benefits is calculated as follows:

the total of all earnings contained in the qualifying period (the calendar year preceding the week when the claim is established)

divided by:

52 weeks and

multiplied by:


As noted earlier, the benefit rate for self-employment special benefits may not exceed the maximum benefit rate determined by the yearly maximum insured earnings in effect during the year in which the claim is established.

24.8.8 Family supplement rate

Self-employed workers who are in a low-income family (net income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year) with children, and who are in receipt of the Canada Child Tax Benefit are eligible to receive the Family Supplement benefit rate Footnote 7 .

The family supplement rate for a self-employment special benefits claim is calculated using the same method as for EI benefits Footnote 8 .

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