Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits

 Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits

health

By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer


At some point you may need to care for a gravely ill relative or friend. Doing so is a compassionate mission.
 
Looking after a loved one who’s at risk of dying takes effort and time. There is also an unavoidable emotional toll. At the same time, it may conflict with doing your job.
 
Now there’s a government program that can help you through this difficult period. Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits provide some financial relief if you need to stop working temporarily.
 
About Compassionate Care Benefits
This form of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits is paid to people who have to care for, or support, a family member who is gravely ill and who has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks (six months).
 
If providing such attention requires you to be away from work temporarily, you may be eligible for these benefits. They could last for up to six weeks.
 
What Care Of A Family Member Means
The care you provide isn’t limited to hands-on support. You may well be changing bedpans or washing linens. But you might also, or instead, provide emotional and psychological relief.
 
Arranging for care of the loved one by a third party is also covered. There may be home nursing to secure. Or physical therapists to hire. These sorts of things qualify as support too.
 
More Than Just Family Members.
The Compassionate Care Benefits program applies to more than just your family members. Here are some of the other people that fall under its guidelines:
 
       Current or former foster parents and foster children; also their spouses or common-law partners
       Current or former wards and guardians, their spouses or common-law partners          
 
You can also receive compassionate care benefits to care for a gravely ill person who considers you a family member, such as a close friend or neighbour. A Compassionate Care Benefits Attestation would have to be signed by the gravely ill person or their legal representative in these cases.
 
Protection For Your Job During Compassionate Care Leave
Most provincial and territorial labour codes provide job protection for workers in this type of family situation. However, the definition of "family member" varies by region.
 
It’s important that you confirm with your employer, and the provincial/territorial government, that you have job protection for compassionate care leave before you apply. Otherwise you might be placing your employment at risk.
 
Ways To Apply
To receive compassionate care benefits, you have to submit an EI application online. Use any computer with Internet access and connect to the Service Canada website. Or visit any Service Canada Centre to use one of the many Internet kiosks they have available.
 
It could take up to one hour to complete the application online. Ensure that you apply as soon as you stop working. If you delay filing your claim by more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.
 
How Much You’ll Receive
The basic benefit rate is 55 percent of your average insurable earnings, up to a yearly maximum insurable amount ($49,500 in 2015). This means that, in 2015, you can receive a maximum payment of $524 per week.
 
Your EI payment is taxable income, meaning federal and provincial or territorial taxes, if they apply, will be deducted.
 
Staying In Touch With Work
While on Compassionate Care Leave, you may decide to keep in touch with your employer. It is not, however, obligatory. All of your time can be spent with the ailing loved one if desired.
 
Try to prepare your workplace for your time away. Arrange with your supervisor if you’d like to check in or do some assignments while away. It could help avoid having work pile up in your absence.
 
If possible though, your attention should be first and foremost on the person you’re caring for. They may only have a short time left. Your devotion to them may be the last precious gift they receive.