EI Maternity and Parental Benefits - Apply

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5. Apply

Please review the eligibility criteria before starting your application.

To find out if you are eligible to receive EI benefits, you must submit an application online. It will take about 60 minutes to complete the online application.

The website takes you step by step through the application process, and provides detailed instructions on how to complete the form.

You should apply as soon as possible after you stop working, even if your employer has not issued your ROE yet. If you delay applying for benefits later than four weeks after your last day of work, you risk losing benefits.

You can apply for EI maternity benefits before you give birth. In fact, as of December 3, 2017, you can start receiving benefits as early as 12 weeks before your due date or before the actual week you give birth. You cannot receive EI maternity benefits more than 17 weeks after the week you were expected to give birth or the week you actually gave birth, whichever is later. When the actual date of birth is different from the expected date of birth, you must let us know the child's actual date of birth as soon as possible by calling 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) or by visiting a Service Canada Centre.

The date you submit your application is very important, since it affects the number of weeks of maternity benefits you are entitled to receive. If you have difficulty determining which maternity benefit period works best for you, call us at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742).

When applying for EI parental benefits you will have to select under which option you choose to claim EI parental benefits: standard or extended.

  • Standard parental benefits can be paid within a 52-week period after the week the child is born or placed with you for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are paid for a maximum of 35 weeks at a weekly benefit rate of 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount.
  • Extended parental benefits can be paid within a 78-week period after the week the child is born or placed with you for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are paid for a maximum of 61 weeks at a weekly benefit rate of 33% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount.

Both parents can apply for EI parental benefits, but they have to share them. Furthermore, both parents are required to choose the same parental benefit option, either standard or extended. The option chosen by the first claimant who completes the EI application will be considered as the option chosen by the second claimant. The choice is final once parental benefits have been paid on a claim. This means that you cannot change between standard and extended once parental benefits have been paid.

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