4. Figure out how much you can get

For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.

As of January 1, 2020, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $54,200. This means that the maximum amount of EI you can get is $573 per week.

EI rules have changed because of COVID-19. As of September 27, 2020, everyone will get at least $500 a week. This means that you’ll get either 55% of your normal weekly earnings or $500 a week, whichever is the highest.

This new minimum amount is expected to last for one year.

The amount you get from EI each week is the same no matter what type of EI benefits you are receiving.

All types of EI benefits are taxable. Federal and provincial taxes or territorial taxes, where applicable, are deducted from your payment.

Family supplement

The family supplement gives additional benefits to low-income families with children. You can get this supplement if:

  • your family income after tax is deducted is not more than $25,921 per year, and
  • you or your spouse you live with or common-law partner you live with gets the Canada Child Tax Benefit.

The family supplement rate is based on:

  • your net family income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year, and
  • the number of children in the family and how old they are.

The family supplement can increase your benefit rate to up to 80% of your earnings, up to a maximum of $573 per week. If you and your spouse or common-law partner claim EI benefits at the same time, only one of you can get the family supplement. It is usually better if the spouse or common-law partner that earns less is the one to get the supplement.

As your income level rises, the family supplement gradually pays less. When you reach the maximum income of $25,921, you will no longer get the supplement.

Earnings exemptions

If you are collecting compassionate care benefits or the family caregiver benefit for children, you are allowed to keep some of the money you earn. This is called an “earnings exemption“.

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