A ‘Gravely’ Understood & Underused Benefit: Compassionate Care Benefits

Originally published at allaboutestates.ca May 27, 2013:
I know of very few individuals who have applied for and received compassionate care benefits. Did you know that compassionate care benefits are employment insurance benefits that are paid to carers who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is ‘gravely ill and who has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks (six months)’. A maximum of six weeks of compassionate care benefits may be paid to eligible people. In a 52 week period, 12 weeks may be claimed by various family members who are:
-Providing psychological or emotional support; or
-Arranging for care by a third party; or
-Directly providing or participating in the care.

Each family member must apply for and be eligible for these benefits. Of note, family members, including aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, foster children, friends and neighbours can also apply. A signed Form INS5223, Compassionate Care Benefits Attestation, is required from the ‘gravely ill person or their legal representative’.
The EI application online is available at the Service Canada Web site.

Compassionate care benefits can be combined with regular EI benefits as well as with maternity, parental, or sickness benefits. Caregiving can be a very heavy burden and illness can linger for a very long time.

I have known of situations where someone has been admitted to the hospital for a minor procedure and ended up ‘gravely’ ill due to a combinations of bad luck, medical medication mixups and infection. While we don’t know when ‘then end has come’ compassionate care benefits may be worth considering.
-Audrey Miller

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