Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles - Chapter 3 - Section 1

3.1.0 What is an antedate

The prompt filing of a claim for benefits is a basic requirement for the administration of the Employment Insurance (EI) Act (the act). Subsection 10(1) of the act states that a benefit period begins on the later of:

  1. the Sunday of the week in which the interruption of earnings occurs, and
  2. the Sunday of the week in which the initial claim for benefits is made.

An interruption of earnings occurs where, following a period of employment, an insured person is laid off or separated from that employment and has a period of seven or more consecutive days with no work and no earnings, from that employment (EI Regulation 14(2)).

The wording in the regulation means that, when an initial claim is filed in the week in which the interruption of earnings occurs, the benefit period will begin on the Sunday of that week; otherwise the benefit period will begin on the Sunday of the week in which the application is filed. For efficiency in the processing of EI claims, the Commission has an administrative policy in place, which provides an exception to this rule. This policy will be described later in this chapter.

When a claimant files an initial claim for benefits beyond the week of the interruption of earnings but wants to have the claim begin at an earlier date, they must make a request to antedate the claim to that earlier date. The act provides for the antedating of a benefit period to a date that is earlier than the actual date the claim was filed, when certain conditions are met. A claim can only be antedated if the claimant shows that they qualified to receive benefits on the earlier day and that there was good cause for the entire period of the delay in filing, that is, from the day they wish their claim to start, to the day they made their initial claim (EIA 10(4)). These factors will be discussed in greater detail in the next section.

The concept of antedating also applies to renewal or continuing claims, and to all benefit types (EIA 10(5)).

3.1.1 The administrative policy

Historically, the Commission received a large number of antedate requests involving short delays in filing, where the majority of those antedate requests were accepted. In response, the Commission introduced the administrative policy or rule as follows:

For initial and renewal claims, the claimant is deemed to have filed their claim in a timely manner when the application for benefits is made no later than four calendar weeks following the calendar week in which:

  1. the interruption of earnings occurs,
  2. the last day paid falls,
  3. in the case of fishers, the trip end date (fresh catch) or the date of purchase (cured catch) occurs, or
  4. the last week in which wage loss insurance (WLI) or worker's compensation (WC) is paid.

Even though renewal claims do not require an interruption of earnings, this principle will be used in applying the administrative rule to renewal claims.

Under the administrative policy the Commission considers any application made within this four week period to have been filed in the week of the interruption of earnings, the last week worked, or the last week for which WLI or WC benefits were paid. The effective date of the claim or renewal week is determined accordingly, taking into consideration what is most advantageous to the claimant. Beyond this four week period, the administrative policy does not apply. A claimant who files in the fifth week or beyond must specifically request an antedate and prove good cause for the full period, i.e., for the full 5 weeks.

The administrative policy also applies to subsequent claims, that is, claims that could begin immediately following the end of a previous benefit period. A subsequent claim filed within five weeks from the week in which the last claimant’s reports from the previous claim were issued, or within four calendar weeks from the week in which the final payment or statement was issued, is deemed to have been filed in a timely manner. Therefore, in this case, the subsequent claim may be established effective the week immediately following the week in which the prior claim terminated.

The intent of the administrative policy is to facilitate the handling of potential antedate requests for a short time period as claimants need not request an antedate when the application is filed within this four week period. Of course, this administrative policy is applicable only when it is to the claimant's advantage.

3.1.2 Automatic backdating policy – WLI/WC

WLI and WC benefits do not prevent an interruption of earnings and are not considered earnings for benefit purposes in the waiting period (EI Regulation 39(3)).

When it is advantageous to the claimant, the claim may be backdated by one week in order to establish the claim so that the last week of WLI or WC benefits falls in the waiting period. The claim can never be backdated beyond the legal interruption of earnings.

The backdating policy can be applied when:

  • after a claimant stopped working, they received WLI and/or WC in the week immediately preceding the week that would normally be the effective date of the claim; and
  • the claimant is required to serve the waiting period.

Before applying the backdating policy, it must be determined if the waiting period can be waived. If so, there would be no advantage to backdating the claim. If not, the backdating policy should be considered.

3.1.3 Backdate - renewal claims only

A claim is a renewal claim when a claimant requests benefits after they have stopped filing their claimant’s reports for four or more consecutive weeks , on an existing benefit period (Digest 1.9.1). The effective date of a renewal is prescribed under EI Regulation 26(2) as follows:

“Where a claimant has not made a claim for benefits for four or more consecutive weeks, the first claim for benefits after that period for a week of unemployment shall be made within one week after the week for which benefits are claimed”.”

This means that a previous benefit period can be renewed as of the week prior to the week in which the claim was actually made.

Under this provision, the Commission may backdate a renewal claim one week to establish the effective date of that renewal. In other words, the effective date of a renewal will be the Sunday of the week prior to the week of application, provided it is to the claimant's advantage to do so. Backdating applies to renewal claims only. This is applied automatically, therefore, the claimant does not have to request it or meet specific conditions to qualify.

Applying the backdating provision to renewal claims sets the effective date of the renewal. Once the renewal date is set, the administrative policy discussed earlier cannot be applied to change the renewal week. That is, backdating of the renewal week cannot put the claimant into a position to benefit from the administrative rule of further backdating the renewal claim up to an additional four weeks.

[January 2019]

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