EI sickness benefits: Do you qualify

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.

The information below should be used as a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits as soon as possible and let a Service Canada agent determine if you're eligible.

You need to demonstrate that:

  • you're unable to work for medical reasons
  • your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week
  • you accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter Temporary COVID-19 relief

*As an example, 600 hours are equivalent to 20 weeks of work at 30 hours a week.

While you’re receiving sickness benefits, you must remain available for work if it weren’t for your medical condition.

If you had a recent claim

If you received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in the past 52 weeks, you may not be eligible to receive the maximum number of weeks of sickness benefits.

However, if you've worked 600 hours since your last claim, you could start a new claim. Contact us to find out what's best for your situation. Temporary COVID-19 relief

If you're self-employed

If you registered for access to EI special benefits for self-employed people and waited 12 months from the date of your confirmed registration, you may be eligible for sickness benefits. You must also meet all of the following conditions:

  • The amount of time you spend on your business has decreased by more than 40% for at least one week because of your medical condition
  • You earned a minimum amount of self-employed earnings during the calendar year before the year you apply for benefits. To receive benefits for 2021, you need to have earned at least $7,555 in 2020

Get a medical certificate

To receive sickness benefits, you’ll need to get a medical certificate showing that you’re unable to work for medical reasons. For information on medical certificates, visit Information on medical certificates and practitioners.

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