EI Sickness Benefit - What you need before you start

4. What you need before you start

To complete the online EI application for sickness benefits, you will need the following personal information:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)—if your SIN begins with a 9, you will need to provide proof of your immigration status and work permit;
  • your mother's maiden name;
  • your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes—if you do not have a usual place of residence, you must apply in person at your local Service Canada Centre; and
  • your complete banking information, including the financial institution name and number, the branch number, and your account number, if you want to sign up for direct deposit.

When you apply for sickness benefits, you must also obtain a medical certificate signed by your doctor which indicates the expected period of incapacity. Be sure to keep this certificate in a safe place, since we may ask you to provide it to us later. We will let you know if we need you to submit your medical certificate when you complete your online application.

For more information on medical certificates, visit Information on medical certificates and practitioners for Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

You will also need the following employment information if you are or were an employee:

    • the names and addresses of all employers you worked for in the last 52 weeks, as well as the dates of employment and the reasons for separation from these employers;
    • your detailed version of the facts, if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks; and
    • the dates (Sunday to Saturday) and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is the shorter period. This information will be used, along with your Record(s) of Employment, to calculate your weekly EI benefit rate.

If you are a self-employed person who has registered to access EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People, you will also need to provide your medical certificate as well as your net self-employment earnings for the previous tax year (the exact amount, or the estimated amount if you have not yet filed your income tax and benefit return).

You can get more information on the status of your application by registering for My Service Canada Account.

Before you can start receiving EI benefits, there is a one-week waiting period during which you will not be paid. This waiting period is like the deductible you pay for other types of insurance.

You usually serve the waiting period at the beginning of your benefit period, unless you receive earnings during the first week . In that case, the waiting period will start during the first week you should begin to receive benefits.

Under certain circumstances, the one-week waiting period can be waived or deferred. For example:

    • if you receive sick leave pay from your employer after your last day worked, the waiting period may be waived; or
    • if you receive group insurance payments, you can serve the one-week waiting period during the last week you receive these insurance payments.

If you already received EI benefits during the last 52 weeks and you served the one-week waiting period, you will not have to serve an additional waiting period if you reactivate your claim.

When you apply for EI benefits, be sure to sign up for direct deposit to get your payments as quickly as possible. When you use direct deposit, your EI payments are deposited automatically into your bank account two business days after we process your EI report.

If you do not sign up for direct deposit at the time you complete your EI application, you can sign up any time after you apply through My Service Canada Account.

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