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How much does employment insurance pay?

Employment insurance has maximums on how much it pays out.

As of January 1, 2016, the maximum insurable earnings amount is $50,800. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $537 per week, if you qualify.

How is it determined how much a person can qualify to get?

The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of employees’ average insurable weekly earnings.

The government calculates the amount you are supposed to receive in the following way:

  • They calculate your total insurable earnings for the required number of best weeks based on the information you provide and/or your record(s) of employment;
  • They determine the divisor (number of best weeks) that corresponds to your regional rate of unemployment;
  • They divide your total insurable earnings for your best weeks by your required number of best weeks;
  • They then multiply the result by 55% to obtain the amount of your weekly benefits.

In regions in Canada that have the highest unemployment rates, the government will usually use the 14 best weeks. In regions in Canada where there are lower rates of joblessness, the best 22 weeks will be used.

Can my benefits be reduced?

It is possible for benefits to be reduced if certain factors are at play.

The most common factor is if you have some type of income coming in, be it from a pension, a lawsuit or a business.

If you make false or misleading statements on your application that lead to overpayment or other benefits to you, then this could not only force you to repay the overpayment but also result in prosecution or other penalties. Doing so could also negatively impact your chances of getting EI if you apply in the future.

Family supplement

If the company doesn’t top up the leave, then low-income parents may be able to apply for other government programs that provide them with supplemental income.

In order to determine the family supplement rate, EI looks at:

  • The net family income of a household up to a maximum of $25,921 per year; and
  • The number of children in the family and their ages.

The way the family supplement works is that it could increase the benefit rate for a low-income family to up to 80% of the average insurable earnings.

If the spouses claimed employment insurance benefits at the same time, only of them can receive the family supplement. Furthermore, if your family income increases, the family supplement decreases.

Be advised that maximum amounts get updated every year. Family supplement information gets updated as well. You will want to check the applicable government websites to have the most up-to-date information about the amounts you may be eligible for.

If you have an issue with receiving EI or a dispute you may want to consult with a lawyer.

Read more:

EI Regular Benefits - How much you could receive

EI rights and responsibilities