If you are a family member or friend providing care and support to someone who is critically ill, injured or needing end-of-life care, you are considered to be a caregiver. Because of the financial impact caregiving can have on your life, you could be eligible to receive financial assistance of up to 55 percent of your earnings, with a maximum of $595 a week through your employment insurance.1
These financial benefits are in place so that you can take time off work to provide care and support to a person who is needing help. Here’s everything you need to know to find out which caregiving benefit suits your situation best.
Family Caregiver Benefit for Children
If you are providing care to a critically ill or injured person under the age of 18, you may be eligible to receive up to 35 weeks of caregiving benefits.1
Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults
Anyone over the age of 18 is considered to be an adult. As a caregiver to an adult, you can receive up to 15 weeks of benefits.1
Compassionate Care Benefits
You are eligible for compassionate care benefits if you are providing care for someone of any age who requires end-of-life care. End-of-life care is defined as providing care or support to someone with a serious medical condition that gives them a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. With this type of caregiving benefit, you may receive up to 26 weeks of benefits.1
For all three types of caregiving benefits, the weeks of benefits can be shared by caregivers.
Double Check Your Eligibility
It is important to note that a critically ill or injured person is defined as someone whose baseline state of health has changed significantly due to illness or injury, and as a result, their life is at risk and they need the care or support of a caregiver. The person you are caring for must have their condition be certified by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner in order for you to be eligible for benefits.
In addition, your regular weekly income from work must have decreased by more than 40 percent for at least one week as a result of you taking time away from work to provide care or support. Before the start of your claim, you need to have accumulated 600 insured hours of work in the last 52 weeks as well. However, due to COVID-19, that amount has been reduced to 120 insured hours. You may be eligible to receive a one-time credit of 480 insured hours to help you meet the required 600 insured hours of work. This change is in effect until September 25, 2021.2
What If You’re Not a Family Member?
You don’t have to be blood-related to be a caregiver for someone. However, if you are not a family member, either the person you are caring for and supporting or their legal representative must complete an attestation form, confirming that they consider you to be like family. If you are caring for a child, the parent or legal guardian must sign the form.
Caregiving is an important responsibility, so make sure you consider caregiving benefits offered by the Canadian government and stay up-to-date with temporary changes to benefit plans due to COVID-19.