Don’t Qualify for EI?
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
New federal emergency funds coming soon
UPDATE: announcements expected first week of April outlining federal relief of anticipated $2000 per month. Read more…
note: information below this line may be out of date or inaccurate. Please follow link above for up to date information.
Many workers who are out of work due to COVID-19 cannot use the EI Sickness benefits, or the regular EI benefits, for a variety of reasons. They may be self-employed, they don’t enough weeks, they have run out of EI benefits already, etc.
Help is coming from the federal government for people who do not qualify for EI. Two new programs will open for applications in early April:
Emergency Care Benefit - $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks. This is for workers who do not qualify for EI sickness benefits (including self-employed) who cannot work because they are ill or quarantined or looking after a family member who is sick; and for parents caring for children at at home unable to work due to school or daycare closures, whether they qualify for EI or not
Emergency Care Benefit – This is intended as long-term income support. We are still awaiting the details.
There are no paper applications. You must apply through (1) your CRA Account (2) your Service Canada account or (3) by phone to a dedicated number with an automated application process.
Thinking ahead, you might want to set up a secure My Account now with CRA if you do not already have one. You will need information from your most recent tax return to apply, so have that handy.
Watch this 3-minute video on how to set up a CRA account:
As you can see in the video, a unique step is required before you can finalize your account: getting a secure code number from CRA. After you register, CRA will send you a secure code either in the mail (2-3 weeks) or you can phone in for it. You need to enter that code to validate your account. This will add time to the process, and CRA has already announced its phone staff is reduced due to COVID-19.
Regular EI still applies too
The regular EI programs are still in place for those who qualify. The only change for COVID-19 reasons is that the one week waiting period for the sickness benefits is waived. ESDC is inundated with applications, however, so processing may take a few weeks.
Apply for EI:
Apply for EI Sickness benefits:
Alberta funds are quicker
Federal funds will take time. The Alberta Emergency Isolation fund is meant to cover the gap – and should be available very soon