I am going to be a parent. Can I get EI?

4. Figure out how much you can get

If eligible, most people can get standard benefits of 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings. As of January 1, 2020, the highest amount you can receive is $595 per week.

If you choose extended parental benefits, you get 33% of your average insurable weekly earnings, with a maximum of $357 per week.

EI rules have changed because of COVID-19. As of September 27, 2020, there is a new minimum EI payment of $500 a week for those who choose standard parental benefits. There is also a new minimum EI payment of $300 per week for those who choose the extended parental benefits.

These new minimum amounts are expected to last for one year.

All types of EI benefits are taxable. Federal and provincial taxes or territorial taxes, where applicable, are deducted from your payment.

Family supplement

The family supplement gives additional benefits to low-income families with children. You can get this supplement if:

  • your family income after tax is deducted is not more than $25,921 per year, and
  • you or your spouse you live with or common-law partner you live with gets the Canada Child Benefit.

The family supplement rate is based on:

  • your net family income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year, and
  • the number of children in the family and how old they are.

The family supplement can increase your benefit rate to up to 80% of your earnings, up to a maximum of $595 per week. If you and your spouse or common-law partner claim EI benefits at the same time, only one of you can get the family supplement. It is usually better if the spouse or common-law partner that earns less is the one to get the supplement.

As your income increases, the family supplement gradually pays less. When you reach the maximum income of $25,921, you will no longer get the supplement.

Earnings Exemptions

If you work while collecting maternity benefits, any money you earn is deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits. If you work while collecting parental benefits, you are allowed to keep some of the money you earn. This is called an “earnings exemption“.

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