EI sickness benefits: After you apply

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Changes to support you during COVID-19

Temporary changes have been made to the EI program to help you access EI sickness benefits. The following changes are in effect until September 25, 2021, and could apply to you:

  • the waiting period may be waived
  • you don’t need to get a medical certificate
  • you only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you'll get a one-time credit of 480 insured hours to help you meet the required 600 insured hours of work
  • you'll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more
  • if you received the 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.

Submit your biweekly reports

After you apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you'll have to submit reports to Service Canada every 2 weeks for as long as you receive benefits. They help show your ongoing eligibility and make sure you get the benefits to which you're entitled.

You'll need your SIN and the 4-digit access code we mailed you to submit your reports online or by phone. Once you submit your report, you'll get the date to submit your next one. You have 3 weeks from that date to complete the next report.

If you work or earn money, you must indicate it on your report. If you don't inform Service Canada, you risk being overpaid and having to repay benefits.

For more information on how earnings impact your benefits, visit Working while on claim.

When payments start

You'll receive your first payment about 28 days after you apply if you're eligible and have submitted all required information. If you're not eligible, we'll notify you of the decision made about your application.

Waiting period Temporary COVID-19 relief

Before you start receiving benefits, there is one week for which you won't be paid. We call this the waiting period. It's like the deductible that you must pay for other types of insurance.

If your situation changes

Please contact Service Canada if you:

  • recover earlier than expected, or
  • need more time off work than expected

You may be eligible for other benefits. You must meet the conditions for each benefit.

If you travel outside of Canada

Let us know if you're travelling by filling out an Absence from Canada form on your biweekly report or on My Service Canada Account (MSCA).

You are not usually eligible to receive sickness benefits while outside Canada. However, you could be eligible if you're obtaining medical treatment that isn't readily or immediately available in your area of residence.

Contact Service Canada to communicate with an agent who can give you advice on your specific circumstances.

Check or update your information

With My Service Canada Account, you can check the status of your EI application. You can also:

  • view and update your personal information
  • find out when your payments start and end
  • sign up for direct deposit or change your direct deposit details

When payments end

You stop receiving benefits if:

  • you no longer need to be away from work because of your medical condition
  • you've received 15 weeks of sickness benefit payments
  • you've received the maximum weeks of benefits payable to you when combining EI benefit types or
  • you have reached the end of your claim period
    • when you start a claim for any type of EI benefit, your claim is open for a certain period of time. This is usually 52 weeks. In some situations, the claim period may be extended to a maximum of 2 years

If you disagree with the decision on your application for EI benefits

You can request a reconsideration of the decision. You must submit a request for reconsideration within 30 days after the day the decision was communicated to you. You can contact Service Canada to help you with your reconsideration request.

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