The Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Program pays temporary disability benefits to eligible workers for up to fifteen weeks. To qualify for EI sickness payments, your income must be reduced by at least forty percent (by your illness or disability), you must be employed by a qualified employer, and you must have already earned 600 hours of insurable employment. The benefit amount is normally fifty-five percent of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $543 per week. You can receive EI Sickness payments for up to fifteen weeks.

Eligibility for EI Sickness Payments

You are eligible to get EI sickness benefits if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are employed;
  • Your weekly employment income has been reduced by more than forty percent;
  • You have accumulated 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period
  • You meet the medical requirements for EI Sickness;

You must have accumulated 600 hours of insurable employment in the fifty-two-week period leading up to the date of your EI Sickness Claim or since the last time you made a claim for EI payments., up to a maximum amount. The maximum weekly payment was $543 in 2017 and is adjusted up each year based on inflation.

You may be entitled to a higher benefit amount if you have children and your net family income is below $25,921. This is called the family supplement.

Calculating the EI Sickness Payment Amount

How much will you get? Your EI sickness payment will be calculated using a basic formula of fifty-five percent of your average insurable weekly earnings.

When determining your average insurable weekly earnings, Service Canada will look at your “best weeks” offer a period of 14-22 weeks.

There is a one week waiting period before benefits start. This simply means you aren’t paid for the first week you are off sick. Payments would start at the beginning of week two. This waiting period can be waived if you received sick pay for that week or benefits from another source.

How to Apply for EI Sickness

You can apply for EI Sickness Benefits online or in-person at your local Service Canada office. You will need the following information to apply. The application is made up of three parts:

  • A form that you fill out either online or on paper
  • A medical certificate signed by your doctor, which confirms how long you will be unable to work due to illness or injury
  • Record of Employment (ROE) from each employer

When applying for EI Sickness Benefits you will need the following information:

Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Your mother’s maiden name

Your mailing address

Your complete banking information

Names and addresses of all employers you have worked for in the last 52 weeks

Your dates of employment with each employer over last 52 weeks

Reasons for leaving each of the employers

Click here to apply online through the Service Canada website.

When to Apply for EI Sickness

The EI Sickness program is intended to pay short-term disability immediately after you start working, unless you have access to other short-term disability benefits through your employer or disability insurance plan.

Interaction of EI Sickness with Other Disability Income Payments

EI sickness payments are a type of disability income of last resort. This means you can’t receive EI sickness payment if you are already receiving disability income from your employer or through a disability insurance policy or plan. If you receive EI Sickness and are later approved retroactively for short-term disability insurance payments, then you will need to reimburse the EI sickness program out of those retroactive funds.

How long is the Approval Process for EI Sickness?

If your claim is approved, you should receive your first payment within 28 days from the date Service Canada received all your application forms and information.

What if my EI Sickness claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you will receive a letter from Service Canada setting out the reasons. If you disagree with the decision you can request a Reconsideration Appeal. You must request this within 30 days of receiving the denial decision.


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