Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of restructuring and changes going on globally. All sectors are not left out in this change. It is no surprise that the Canada Employment Insurance program also had to restructure its requirement and eligibility process to accommodate more people due to the pandemic.
Employment Insurance (EI) is a program designed by the Canadian government to provide temporary financial relief to unemployed people. This fund is only accessible to people who can prove their unemployment status and show they are actively job hunting.
All applicants who apply for this fund must be willing and able to work and record when they were unemployed. All past employer’s records must be made available, the dates and year of employment and wages must also be documented.
Eligible Work Hours on EI
You can work while on EI if you get employment. However, you must serve your one-week waiting period. This waiting period is applicable to EI regular benefits only. You are eligible for 40 hours of weekly work while on EI benefits.
Your regular benefit will decrease by 50 cents for every dollar of income you earn, up to your earning threshold. This means that if you work while getting EI, half the amount you earn will be taken off your EI benefits.
Generally, your earning threshold is 90% of your regular earning while you were employed. Note that if you earn income above your earning threshold, your regular benefits will decrease dollar for dollar.
You are also not eligible to receive EI benefits if you work a full work week; this is applicable irrespective of the amount you earn. However, this will not decrease the total number of weeks payable on your claim.
You do not need to apply for work while on claim since you are already receiving EI. All you need to do is continue to declare your earnings online. You can view your Claim information and payment details via your My Service Canada Account.
You must report all of your income on your EI reports. If you don’t disclose all your earnings and get caught, all the money you earned will be taken off your benefits.
EI Benefit Duration
The number of weeks you are qualified to receive EI benefits depends on the number of insurable hours you have in the qualifying period. Generally, you can receive benefits from 14 up to 45 weeks.
The CEIC will notify you of the number of weeks you are eligible for when you start receiving your benefits. Note that the benefit you receive must be paid within 52 weeks.
Also, for the recipient of the Worker’s compensation benefit or pregnant women, they may request an extension of the period. This extension will enable them to receive the rest of their entitled benefits.
You can always contact the Service Canada Office if you have other valid reasons to have the period extended to enable collect your benefits.
EI Benefit Amount
Generally, the amount of benefit you will get from EI is 55% of your average insured earnings up to a maximum of CA$537.00 weekly. The calculation to determine the amount you are paid is determined by the number of total wages paid within the last 26 weeks of employment.
Bear in mind that you cannot work full time and receive EI benefits. However, you can work part-time or occasionally and still be entitled to benefits.
You can be fined or sentenced to jail if caught falsifying data or withholding information that would have lessened your benefits. This penalty is applicable if you receive overpayment and do not report it or cash a benefit cheque that does not belong to you.
You may appeal the decision of the Employment Insurance Commission if they terminate your benefit and you disagree with their reasons. To appeal, you are required to complete, print, and sign an online request for reconsideration. You can either submit this form in person or send a letter stating that you wish to appeal and the reason.
Note that you can only appeal with 30 days of receiving notice that your benefits are being terminated. Remember to continue to send in your Claimant’s report cards during the appeal period so that you will receive payment for that period if you win.
Since the CEIC works with you to get employment, it is legal to work while on EI benefits. However, it would be best if you did not surpass the required insurable work hours.
Also, the CEIC will calculate all payments due while working on EI based on your work hours and the amount earned.