EI special benefits for self-employed people: Eligibility


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

Changes to support you during COVID-19

As of September 27, 2020, there are some temporary changes to the EI program to help you access EI self-employment benefits. The following changes will be in effect for 1 year and could apply to you:

  • The minimum weekly amount you’ll receive is $500 before taxes. For extended parental benefits, the minimum weekly amount you’ll receive is $300 before taxes

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

2. Eligibility

Once you have registered and waited 12 months from the date of your confirmed registration, you will qualify for EI special benefits if:

  • you have reduced the amount of time devoted to your business by more than 40% because:
    • your child was born;
    • you are caring for your newborn or adopted child or children;
    • you are ill, injured, or in quarantine;
    • you need to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member; or
    • you need to provide care or support to your critically ill or injured child
  • you have earned a minimum amount of self-employed earnings during the calendar year preceding the year you submit a claim. This amount may change from year to year. If you want to apply for benefits in 2020, for example, you would need to earn at least $7,279 in 2019; and
  • for EI sickness claims – you have provided a medical certificate as proof that you are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine;
  • for compassionate care benefit claims – you have provided medical proof showing that a gravely ill family member who is at risk of dying within 26 weeks needs your care or support;
  • for EI maternity or parental benefit claims – you have provided the expected date of birth of the child and the actual birth date once it has occurred, or the official placement date in the case of adoption; or
  • for Family Caregiver Benefits claims – you have provided a medical certificate completed by a specialist medical doctor stating that your care or support is required by the critically ill or injured person.

To help you determine if these EI special benefits are right for you, please look through some examples of individual situations.

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