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How to apply for employment insurance benefits

If you have lost your job, you no doubt have many things are on your mind, most of them financial in nature: how will I pay for the house/apartment, how will I put food on the table?

One of the first things you should do is apply for employment insurance benefits, if you qualify.

You really need to apply as soon as you stop working, because delays could impact the benefits you receive. Know that you don’t have to have your record of employment when you apply. As long as your former employer will provide you with it, sooner rather than later, you can still apply for employment insurance benefits.

How to apply

You have to apply by filling out an application:

  1. You can directly apply at a Service Canada Centre internet kiosk;
  2. If you don’t have a computer at home and the Service Canada centre or kiosk is too far away, you can also go to a public site that offers Internet, for instance, a public library and apply from there; or
  3. If you have a computer and Internet at home, then you can apply for EI benefits directly.

What information should I make sure I have before I start applying?

You need to make sure that when you sit down to apply you have all of the following:

  • Your complete banking information, including the financial institution name and number, the branch number, and your account number, if you want to apply for direct deposit;
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Please note: if your SIN begins with a 9, you will need to provide proof of your immigration status and work permit;
  • Your mother's maiden name; and
  • Your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes. Please not that if you between residences, you must apply in person at your local Service Canada Centre.

If you are applying for benefits, other than regular benefits, you may need to provide additional information.

You will also need information about your former or current employer:

  • The names and addresses of all employers you worked for in the last 52 weeks, as the first day of employment, the last day of employment, and the reasons for no longer working for these employers;
  • An explanation of why your employment has ended, if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks; and
  • The dates and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is the shorter period. This information will be used, along with your record(s) of employment, to calculate your weekly EI benefit rate.

If you are unsure how to proceed or you need help, you can call Service Canada to help you, or you may want to consult a lawyer if you are having a dispute in getting EI benefits.

Read more:

Employment Insurance

Applying for Employment Insurance benefits online