Does your mom or dad have a terminal diagnosis? Do you want to be able to provide end-of-life care? There is a federal caregiver benefits program that can help you if you want to take time off work in order to provide this care.
Compassionate care benefits program
The Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) entitles eligible Canadian caregivers up to twenty-six (26) weeks, within a 52-week period of paid leave from work, in order to take care of a terminally-ill family member. Terminal illness is defined as someone who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.
An eligible family member is considered to be a relative in your immediate or extended marital or common-law family. Service Canada’s definition of a family member is broad enough to include your in-laws, step-family members, and, in extreme cases, a close friend or neighbour.
How CCB works
Because Compassionate Care Benefits are administered by Employment Insurance (EI), you need to be able to show in your online CCB form application, that you are experiencing more than a 40% decrease in your regular weekly earnings because of your caregiving duties, and that you have worked in excess of 600 hours in the last 52 weeks (or since the start of a previous claim).
You can receive the maximum of 26 weeks yourself or you can share compassionate care benefits with other members of your family (they must also apply and qualify for these benefits). If you are self-employed, you can apply for these benefits if you have paid EI premiums for at least 52 weeks.
In order to prove that your family member is terminally ill, he or she must fill out and sign the Authorization to Release a Medical Certificate form. In addition, your family member’s medical doctor must complete and sign the Medical Certificate for Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits form, signifying that the person you’re taking care of is at significant risk of death within 26 weeks. These forms are used to calculate and finalize your CCB claim.
Applying for CCB can take up to an hour on the Service Canada website or kiosk at the Service Canada Centre, but gathering the supporting documents you need may take longer, so it’s important to plan ahead. Don’t delay in filing your CCB claim – do it as soon as you stop working so you don’t lose any CCB benefits while your application is being processed.
Thanks to the Compassionate Care Benefits program, you won’t have to choose between taking care of a gravely-ill parent and having a job and income that is protected.
Visit Service Canada to learn more about the Compassionate Care Benefits program, how to file a CCB application, and how to calculate your benefits. Bookmark this page in case you’re ever faced with this difficult situation.