EI Sickness Benefit - How much could you receive

3. How much could you receive

We cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive before we process your application. For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2017, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $51,300. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $543 per week. EI sickness benefits can be paid for a maximum period of 15 weeks, depending on how long you are unable to work.

Note: These rates and amounts are reviewed each year. For more information on the most recent rates and amounts, visit our website.

How benefits are calculated

We will calculate the amount of your weekly benefits based on your total earnings before deductions during the “best weeks” in your qualifying period (this includes tips and commissions). Your qualifying period is the 52-week period prior to the start date of your EI claim. Your best weeks are the weeks that you earned the most money. In regions of Canada with the highest rates of unemployment, we will calculate using the best 14 weeks; in regions of Canada with the lowest rates of unemployment, we will use the best 22 weeks. In other regions, the number of weeks used to calculate benefits will be somewhere between 14 and 22, depending on the unemployment rate in those regions.

The amount of weekly benefits is calculated as follows:

  • We calculate your total earnings for the required number of best weeks based on the information you provide and/or your Record of Employment.
  • We determine the divisor (number of best weeks) that corresponds to your regional rate of unemployment
  • We divide your total earnings for your best weeks by the corresponding divisor below to obtain an average.
  • We then multiply the result by 55% to obtain the amount of your weekly benefits.
Number of Variable Best Weeks calculation rates
Regional rate of unemployment Required weeks
6% or less 22
6.1% to 7% 21
7.1% to 8% 20
8.1% to 9% 19
9.1% to 10% 18
10.1% to 11% 17
11.1% to 12% 16
12.1% to 13% 15
13.1% or more 14

To find out the rate of unemployment in your region, visit EI Program Characteristics.

Once the weekly benefit rate is established, it will remain unchanged over the life of your claim.

Family Supplement

Your benefit rate may be higher if it is determined that your net family income is $25,921 or less per year, that you have children, and that you or your spouse receives the Canada Child Tax Benefit. If this is the case, you are considered a member of a low-income family. You may therefore be eligible to receive the EI Family Supplement.

The amount of EI Family Supplement you receive depends on:

  • your net family income (up to the $25,921 yearly maximum); and
  • the number of children in your family, and their ages.

The Family Supplement may increase your benefit rate to as high as 80% of your average insurable earnings. If you and your spouse claim EI benefits at the same time, only one of you can receive the Family Supplement. It is usually better for the spouse with the lower benefit rate to receive the Family Supplement.

If your income level rises, the Family Supplement gradually decreases. You are no longer eligible to receive the Family Supplement when your net family income is greater than $25,921.

Notes:

  • These amounts are reviewed each year.
  • The Family Supplement is automatically added to eligible claims.
  • The Family Supplement cannot increase your total benefits to more than the maximum weekly amount of $543.

EI benefits are taxable. This means that federal and provincial or territorial taxes will be deducted from your payment.

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