EI Sickness Benefit - After you've applied

6. After you've applied

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

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. This statement simply provides you with your EI access code, instructions on how to use the code, and other relevant EI information.

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.

If you received a temporary access code, you will need to change it. You can also change your current access code for security reasons. Simply call the EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742). Choose "1" and follow the instructions to change your access code.

If you lose your access code, please call the EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Choose "0" to speak to an agent. You can also visit a Service Canada Centre. In either case, we will ask you questions to verify your identity before we issue you a new access code.

After you apply for EI benefits, you must complete and submit EI reports to get the benefits you are entitled to receive. During the period your EI claim is active, you have to submit reports to Service Canada every two weeks to show you are still entitled to receive EI benefits.

There are two ways to complete and submit your EI reports:

  • You can use the EI Internet Reporting Service, which allows you to answer questions at your own pace by reading and verifying your answers before submitting your report.
  • You can call the EI Telephone Reporting Service at 1-800-531-7555. Please note that, if you use a cellular or cordless phone, we cannot assure your privacy or security.

Note: It is important to respect the due dates for your EI reports. Do not submit your report before the due date, and make sure to submit it no later than three weeks after each due date. If you submit it later, your EI claim may be affected. After you complete your first report, we will let you know the next due date on which you will have to submit another EI report.

On your EI reports, you must indicate whether, during the period of the report, you:

  • were outside Canada;
  • worked or received earnings, including self-employment earnings;
  • started a full-time job;
  • attended school or a training course;
  • were ready, willing, and capable of working each day; and
  • received or will receive money other than that already reported.

Note: The week of work covered by the reports begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. You must therefore complete your report by Saturday, even if your regular work week does not necessarily correspond to these days.

There are two ways to receive your EI benefits:

  • we can deposit them directly into your bank account; or
  • we can mail them to you.

Direct deposit ensures that you will get your payment as quickly as possible and is reliable, convenient, and easy to set up. When you use direct deposit, we deposit your EI payments directly into your bank account.

You can sign up for direct deposit when you apply for EI. You can also sign up for direct deposit online, by phone, in person, or by mail.

Note: You need to let us know if you change your bank account information or if you move.

You will stop receiving EI benefits in any of the following cases, whichever comes first:

    • you have received all the weeks of benefits to which you were entitled; or
    • the maximum benefit period of 52 weeks has been reached; or
    • you asked to have your active benefit claim terminated to file a new claim (you must, however, meet the eligibility criteria).

To get more information about your EI claim, you can visit our website or call us.


To get information about your claim online, you first need to register with My Service Canada Account.

By telephone

You can also get information about your benefit claim by using the EI Telephone Information Service. Call 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) and choose option "1." Be sure to have your Social Insurance Number and your EI access code on hand when you call.

Changing your address or requesting direct deposit information

Using My Service Canada Account is the most convenient way to update your personal information, including your mailing address, telephone number, and banking information for direct deposit.

If you don't already have an account, you can easily create one using your four-digit EI access code (printed in the shaded area at the top of your benefit statement).

Find other benefits

There may be more for you than EI sickness benefits. Use the Benefits Finder to find other Government of Canada, provincial, or territorial benefits.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: