EI regular benefits: After you've applied

From: Employment and Social Development Canada


Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, there are changes to this program.

Changes to support you during COVID-19

Temporary changes have been made to the Employment Insurance (EI) program to help you access EI regular benefits. The following changes are in effect until September 2021, and could apply to you:

  • the waiting period may be waived
  • a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada
    • if your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, we’ll use the higher actual rate to calculate your benefits
  • you only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll get a one-time credit of 300 insured hours to help you meet the required 420 insured hours of work
  • you’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, but you could receive more
  • you’ll be eligible for up to 50 weeks of regular benefits
  • if you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended

Sections on this page impacted by these temporary changes are flagged as Temporary COVID-19 relief.

6. After you've applied

If you are entitled to receive EI regular benefits, you should receive your first payment within 28 days of the date we receive your application and all required documents.

You must complete bi-weekly reports to prove your eligibility and to receive benefits to which you may be entitled. Failure to do so can mean a loss of benefits.

Before you start receiving EI benefits, there may be one week for which you will not be paid. This is what we call the "waiting period." The waiting period is like the deductible that you must pay for other types of insurance. Temporary COVID-19 relief

If you are not entitled to receive EI benefits, we will contact you by letter or by telephone to explain why. If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to request a reconsideration.

Shortly after you submit your EI application, we will mail you an EI benefit statement. This does not mean that your application has been approved. Your Benefit statement will provide the information you need to complete your reports with our Internet reporting service or our Telephone reporting service.

Your access code is the four-digit code printed in the shaded area of your benefit statement. You need to have it with you whenever you want to obtain information about your benefit claim and when you submit your reports. Your access code is used to identify you and ensure confidentiality of the information you provide. Store your access code in a safe place, separately from your Social Insurance Number.

While your EI claim is active, you must submit reports every two weeks to show you are still entitled to receive EI. Failure to do so can mean a loss of benefits. The most convenient way to submit your reports is through the Internet Reporting Service. You can also use the Telephone Reporting Service at 1-800-531-7555 or complete your paper report.

An EI claim will end if:

  • you receive all the weeks of benefits to which you were entitled; or
  • the payment timeframe during which you can receive benefits ends; or
  • you stop filing your bi-weekly report; or
  • you request a termination of your claim to file a new claim.

If you start working before you finish your current EI claim, you must tell us when you complete your bi-weekly EI report so we can adjust or stop your claim, depending on whether the work is full-time, part-time or by contract. If the work is short-term or contract you may re-activate your EI claim and continue to receive your bi-weekly payments when you are laid off.

Missing ROEs can delay the processing of your claim.

  • If your employer issues ROEs in paper format, you must request copies of all ROEs issued to you during the last 52 weeks and provide them to Service Canada as soon as possible after you submit your EI application. Paper ROEs are generally filled out by hand and have serial numbers that start with A, E, K, L or Z. You must either mail us the original copies of your paper ROEs or drop them off in person at a Service Canada Centre. The mailing address will be provided to you on the Information and Confirmation page once you submit your online application for EI benefits.
  • If your employer submits ROEs electronically to Service Canada, they are not required to print you a copy; however, they may give you one as a courtesy. If this is the case, the serial number of your ROE will start with W or S. Electronic ROEs are directly sent to Service Canada, therefore, you do not need to request copies of your ROEs from your employer, and you do not have to provide copies to Service Canada. You can view copies of your electronic ROEs by visiting My Service Canada Account.

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