Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 24 - Section 18

24.18.0 Combining special benefits

A qualified claimant may be paid special benefits at any time in the benefit period. To ensure consistency and stability in the payment of special benefits, entitlement is dictated by the maximum number of weeks for which special benefits may be paid as set by legislation Footnote 1 . These parameters are explained below.

24.18.1 Limits to the number of weeks of special benefits payable

Each type of special benefits has an individual maximum number of weeks payable in one benefit period Footnote 2 . Individual maximums are: 15 weeks for sickness benefits; 15 weeks for maternity benefits; 35 weeks for standard parental benefits or 61 weeks for extended parental benefits; 26 weeks for compassionate care benefits, 35 weeks for family caregiver benefits for children and 15 weeks for family caregiver benefits for adults.

Special benefits may be paid in any combination during a benefit period, provided the claimant proves entitlement for each type of benefit claimed.

However, a maximum of 102 weeks of combined special benefits may be payable, and the initial benefit period extended to a maximum of 104 weeks, if, during the initial benefit period Footnote 3 :

  • More than one type of special benefits was paid; and at least one of these special benefits was paid for fewer than the applicable maximum number of weeks payable for these special benefits, and
  • The maximum total number of weeks payable for the types of special benefits requested is greater than 50.

If a specific type of special benefits was not paid during the initial benefit period, it cannot be paid during the extended benefit period.

For example, where maternity, parental and compassionate care benefits were paid during the initial benefit period (52 weeks), the claimant would be entitled to receive additional weeks of maternity, parental and compassionate care during the extension. Illness benefits were not paid during the initial benefit period and therefore are not payable during the extended period.

The implementation of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan on January 1, 2006, has introduced, among others, a principle of equivalence for the purposes of the EI program. This principle now applies to EI special benefits for the self-employed.

In that context, a regulatory provision made on January 1, 2011 Footnote 4 , provides that each week of provincial benefits paid to a self-employed person in a benefit period is considered as a week for which benefits are paid under the EI program if the claimant would have been entitled to the corresponding benefits under the EI program. Accordingly, each of these weeks is taken into account in calculating the overall maximum number of weeks of EI maternity or parental benefits payable during a benefit period and in calculating the maximum number of weeks of EI benefits payable with regard to a birth or an adoption Footnote 5 .

[ September 2013 ]

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