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:
- 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.
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 applying for EI benefits, with the majority of those antedate requests being approved. Therefore, to offer better service to claimants and to remove the burden of requesting an antedate, the Commission introduced the Administrative Policy, also commonly referred to as the administrative rule.
For the application to be considered submitted in a timely manner, the claimant must apply no later than 4 calendar weeks following:
- the week in which the interruption of earnings (I of E) occurs;
- the week in which the last day paid (LDP) falls;
- the last week for which wage loss insurance (WLI), workers’ compensation benefits (WCB), or Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits are paid;
- for fishers: the week in which the trip ends (fresh catch) or the week in which the date of purchase (cured catch) occurs.
Under the Administrative Policy, when a claimant submits an initial application within the 4-week period (i.e. in a timely manner), the benefit period (BP) is established in one of the following weeks, whichever is to the claimant’s advantage:
- the week in which the I of E occurs;
- the last week worked;
- the last week for which WLI, WCB or QPIP benefits are paid
The Administrative Policy also applies to subsequent claims. A subsequent claim is considered submitted in a timely manner and can be established in the week immediately after the week in which the previous claim ended when a new application is submitted within either of the following periods:
- five weeks from the week in which the last claimant’s report from the previous claim was sent;
- four weeks from the week in which the final claimant’s report was processed.
Even though renewal claims do not require an I of E, the Administrative Policy principles also apply to the renewal date of a claim. This means a claimant has 4 weeks following the week they stopped working to submit their renewal application without having to request an antedate.
In all cases, for an initial claim, renewal claim, or subsequent claim, a claimant who applies after the 4-calendar-week timeframe must request an antedate if they would like their BP to start at an earlier date. For more information on antedates, refer to Digest Chapter 3.
This policy applies 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 considered a renewal claim when a claimant requests benefits after they have stopped completing their claimant’s reports for four or more consecutive weeks, for 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 (Digest 3.1.1 ) cannot be used to further backdate the renewal week.
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