New EI benefit for parents of critically ill children: Harper

Parents will be able to apply for up to 35 weeks of benefits
||Last Updated: 08/29/2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a proposed new employment insurance special benefit for parents who take time off work to care for their critically ill or injured children.

“Many parents face enormous emotional and financial challenges when caring for a child with a life-threatening illness or injury, and we want to make it easier on them”, said Harper. “Parents play a vital role in a child’s recovery, and the new EI benefit… will help ease their financial pressure so they can focus on what’s important, their families.”

Parents or legal guardians who must take time off work to care for a child (under 18 years of age) who has a life-threatening illness or injury would be able to apply for up to 35 weeks of this new EI special benefit, according to the government.

As with other EI special benefits, applicants will need to have worked a minimum of 600 hours in the last year and take leave from their employment. All applicants will also need to submit a medical certificate signed by a Canadian-certified pediatrician or medical specialist.

Benefits may be combined with other benefits, such as the compassionate care benefit and parental benefit, or shared between parents and may also be used at any time within a 52-week period. Benefits will end once the maximum of 35 weeks of benefits have been paid, the 52-week benefit period ends, once the child’s condition improves or in the unfortunate event that the child passes away, said the government.

The new EI special benefit for parents of critically ill children is expected to be available in June 2013 and will help an estimated 6,000 families per year, said the federal government.

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