I am caring for an adult who is very sick. Can I get EI?

There are 3 types of EI benefits for people who need time off work to care for someone who is seriously ill:

If you are eligible for more than one of these benefits, you might be able to receive benefits for a longer period of time while you are off work.

Compassionate care benefits

Up to 26 weeks of compassionate care benefits are available in a one-year period if you need time off work to provide care or support to a family member who has a significant risk of dying within 26 weeks.

Care or support means you:

  • give psychological or emotional support to your family member
  • arrange for someone else to care for your family member
  • provide care or share the work of caring for your family member

This includes extended family members, your spouse's family members, or even a close friend who considers you to be like family.

Family members can choose to share the 26 weeks of benefits. Each family member must apply for and be eligible for these benefits. It is a good idea to make a schedule of who will be caring for the family member and when they will be taking time off work.

You have up to 52 weeks to collect all of the benefits. This means you don't have to care for the family for 26 weeks straight to qualify.

If you are sharing the benefits, this 52-week period is the same for everyone collecting benefits. The start date is based on the first person to file a medical certificate and qualify for benefits.

Before you apply for compassionate care benefits, you should ask your employer if they will hold your job while you are on leave. It's best to tell your employer in writing that you are taking leave and when. This information will help your employer to organize the workload while you're gone and to decide if they can hold your job for you for that time.

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