EI regular benefits: Apply
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.
Please review the eligibility criteria before starting your application.
To find out if you are eligible to receive EI regular 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.
When you apply for EI benefits, you will be asked for your email address. If Service Canada needs more information about your claim and cannot reach you by phone, we will send you a toll-free number by email and ask you to call us.
If you started a new EI claim within the last 52 weeks and there are still weeks payable on that claim, we will automatically reactivate (renew) your existing claim when you submit your application.
In some cases, it may be to your advantage to cancel or end your old claim and start a new claim, because this may increase the amount of your benefits or the length of your benefit period.
You must decide whether or not to cancel or renew a claim based on your own personal situation.
It is important to consider:
- if your claim is reactivated and you work after the start of that claim, you may be able to establish a new claim when your existing claim runs out
- in order to establish a new claim you must have enough insurable hours and meet the qualifying conditions for a new claim Temporary COVID-19 relief
- if a new claim is established instead of reactivating your existing claim, the remaining weeks payable on the existing claim will be lost
- additionally, a one-week unpaid waiting period must be served on a new claim before you are entitled to receive paymentTemporary COVID-19 relief
Visit My Service Canada Account (MSCA) for more information about your previous claim.
To get paid as quickly as possible, take a few minutes to review your direct deposit information in MSCA and update it if necessary.
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