I am too sick to work. Can I get EI?

4. Learn if you can qualify for benefits from another program

In the 2021 budget, the government said they will increase the number of weeks that EI Sickness Benefits are available to a total of 26 weeks. This change is not law yet, so it could change. We will update this information when we know more.

No matter what your situation is, Employment Insurance (EI) gives only up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits.  And because EI applications can take a long time to process, you might not have any income for several weeks.

If you need money while you wait for your EI claim to be processed, or after your EI benefits are finished, you might qualify for another program. For example:

  • If your illness or injury is related to your work, you might be able to get workers’ compensation benefits from the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).
  • You may also be able to get benefits from Ontario Works (OW)
  • If you have a serious, long-term condition that could prevent you from going back to any type of work, you may be entitled to benefits under the Canada Pension Plan

If you qualify for OW, you might get from OW for several weeks before you get your EI benefits.

When you apply for OW assistance while waiting for EI benefits, you have to agree to pay OW back if the money you get from EI would affect:

  • whether you’re eligible for OW assistance
  • the amount of assistance you get

When you start getting EI benefits, you might still qualify for assistance from OW if the amount you get from EI is less than your OW assistance.

If you disagree with a decision by OW, contact your community legal clinic. They may be able to help you appeal the decision.

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