The FAQs: Ins and Outs of the New EI Family Caregiver Benefit

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The new Family Caregiver benefit for adults is available to help families care for a critically ill adult. This benefit allows eligible caregivers to take up to 15 weeks off work to care for or support an adult family member who is critically ill or injured. Eligible caregivers are family members or individuals that the critically ill or injured adult considers to be like family.

To access the new Family Caregiver benefit for adults, a family member must submit a medical certificate signed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner saying that:

  • there has been a significant change in the patient’s baseline state of health;
  • the patient’s life is at risk as a result of an illness or injury; and
  • the patient requires the care or psychological or emotional support of one or more family members.

This new 15-week Family Caregiver benefit may be shared by eligible family members over a one-year period (52 weeks).

Caregivers can share the benefit at the same time or one after another.

Depending on your insurable earnings, you could receive up to $547 a week in 2018 for up to 15 weeks.

To be eligible to establish a claim for the Benefit, you must be able to meet the following conditions:

  • Your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40{cae2521f64dcff784c511b644c6cc8c98f9594c79acdd41ba953a724385391e5} because you need to provide care or support to the critically ill or injured adult
  • You accumulated 600 insured hours of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim, or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter
  • You are a family member of the critically ill or injured adult, or they consider you to be like a family member
  • The person was at least 18 years old when a medical doctor or nurse practitioner certified that they were critically ill or injured

If you are self-employed you may be eligible for the Benefit if you registered for access to EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People and waited 12 months from the date of your confirmed registration. You must also meet all of the following conditions:

  • The amount of time you spend on your business has decreased by more than 40{cae2521f64dcff784c511b644c6cc8c98f9594c79acdd41ba953a724385391e5} because you need to provide care or support to the critically ill or injured adult
  • You have earned a minimum amount of self-employed earnings during the calendar year before the year you submit your claim. This amount changes from year to year. For example, to apply for benefits in 2018, you need to have earned at least $6,947 in 2017
  • You are a family member of the critically ill or injured adult, or they consider you to be like a family member
  • The person was at least 18 years old when a medical doctor or nurse practitioner certified that they were critically ill or injured

If you leave Canada to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured adult, you may still be eligible to receive the Benefit. You must submit an application and supporting documents with the same type of proof that is required for a critically ill or injured adult living in Canada.

You should apply for the Benefit as soon as possible after you stop working. If you delay filing your claim by more than 4 weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.

If the family member’s health gets worse, caregivers could be eligible to combine this new benefit with other Employment Insurance (EI) caregiving benefit such as the existing Compassionate Care benefit, which provides a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits.

To help families care for a critically ill child (under 18 years of age), the Family Caregiver benefit for children offers benefits for up to 35 weeks.

If you would like information on various programs, deductions and credits that can help save you and your family some money, contact GB Pilley & Associates Ltd., Chartered Professional Accountants at 604 926 3522.

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2018-06-20T15:05:36+00:00