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How do I apply for EI benefits?

Question
How do I apply for EI benefits?

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Reviewed: 
May, 2017
Answer

To apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits you must fill out an application online. The online application will give you instructions for sending your documents to Service Canada. If you do not have internet access at home, you can apply at a Service Canada Office using one of their internet kiosks or at a public internet access site like a library.

Before you go to the Service Canada Office in your area, you should call to find out if you need to make an appointment.

If you do not speak English or French, bring someone who can translate for you.

No matter what type of EI benefits you are applying for, you should apply as soon as possible. It is best to apply well before the deadline.

Be sure to apply as soon as you have at least 7 days without work or pay. If you apply more than 4 weeks after you have an interruption of earnings, it may be harder to get approved for EI. If you are approved, you might get less money. This is because there will be a large period of time where you have no hours worked and no money earned.

If you can show there was a good reason why you could not apply within 4 weeks, Service Canada staff might accept your application as though it was filed right away. This is called an “antedate”. To have good cause for the delay, you must show that you did what a reasonable person would have done to figure out the rules and apply on time.

Earnings exemptions

If you work while collecting maternity or sickness benefits, any money you earn is deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits. But if you are collecting regular benefits, parental benefits, compassionate care benefits, or benefits for parents of critically ill children, you are allowed to keep some of the money you earn. This is called an "earning exemption".

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