Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Approved for EI

Well I am happy to report that I have been approved for EI. I am still living off of severance pay up until April 3rd. Then I have a 2-week waiting period where no benefits will be paid out. Then starting the week of April 18th, I will be eligible to start earning benefits (I think that’s how it works – will be calling tomorrow to confirm). Meaning, I will be okay. Insert huge sigh of relief now. :) I might have to dip into my EF for a couple of weeks, depending on how prompt the payments are. As some of you know, it took 11 weeks to get my first payment the last time I was on EI.

Anyway, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders. I won’t need to get a PT job anywhere, and I can focus on my job search. I haven’t applied for any jobs since last week. There just isn’t anything out there right now, but I’m checking the job boards twice a day, so my fingers are crossed that there are at least 3 or 4 jobs I can apply for by the end of this week.

You know, I remember 3 years ago when I was unemployed, I debated whether to even go on EI. There was just a stigma surrounding it, and I wasn’t certain if I was comfortable taking money like that. I had some money saved up, so I didn’t really NEED it. But in the end, I decided to go on it because that’s what it’s there for. I spend my entire career paying into it, so why not use it when I can? And this time around, there was no question that I’d go on EI.

How about you? When you’ve been unemployed, have you applied/received EI? Or did you decide not to, and just live off of your savings? Or … did you get denied unemployment benefits?

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


Comments

  1. jolie says:

    I recall when I was only substitute (supply) teaching, was expecting and applied for EI mat benefits. After 12 weeks of waiting I got a letter. In the same envelope were two papers. One one paper I was denied claim. On the other, I was accepted. both dated the same day. both signed by the same person. It was a royal nightmare and over 16 weeks before I actually got anything. That was a very very lean time in our lives.

    My recent post Second Last Lump Sum Payment!

  2. When I was first unemployed, I was a bit lazy in applying and just wanted to live off my savings. My parents nagged me until I submitted my claim which was good thing too. I was living at home and on EI so I could save my money until I found a new job. And once I did, I took all my savings and paid down my student loan as much as I could.
    My recent post A Glutton's List

  3. Barb says:

    I was laid off February 2008, and I went on unemployment. I didn't feel bad about it because like you said- I had been paying into it all along. Luckily, I was on it for less than two months before finding a new job.

  4. Erica says:

    I’ve never had to go on IE before, because I’ve pretty much had a job since I was 16, but if situations made it so then I would take it because ice paid into it.

  5. Erica says:

    I’ve never had to go on IE before, because I’ve pretty much had a job since I was 16, but if situations made it so then I would take it because ice paid into it.

  6. A few years ago I always used to say that I would never go on EI and that I would work ANY job (even McDonalds) before I went on EI. I always knew each and every pay cheque I was paying into EI – but like you, there was a stigma. Almost like being on welfare, taking a handout from the government.

    But then I was laid off. Zing! ;) It wasn't until I met with my employment counselor that I finally accepted that I was not accepting a handout from the government. So my entire perspective changed. It's money YOU paid into – it's almost like a savings account that you finally get access to when you need it most! hehe.

    So happy you were approved. And I really hope you take the time to find something you LOVE! Because as you know, trying to find work when working a full-time job is really hard.

  7. Whew! Glad you were approved! I've never needed unemployment but I wouldn't think for one second of NOT filing a claim if I was eligible. Unless I was independently wealthy. :)
    My recent post Weekend fun destroys my savings

  8. duddes02 says:

    I go the full unemployment amount-in NYC it is 430 per week. I filed my claim online and got my first payment pretty quickly (I think about 3 weeks later?). I was thrilled that I got it because all I had was $1,200 in savings. It was enough for me to pay my rent, food, and a metrocard here and there. I got it for 3 months before I found a job. It wasn’t easy but I defintely didn’t feel bad receiving it. It’s a benefit..

  9. duddes02 says:

    I go the full unemployment amount-in NYC it is 430 per week. I filed my claim online and got my first payment pretty quickly (I think about 3 weeks later?). I was thrilled that I got it because all I had was $1,200 in savings. It was enough for me to pay my rent, food, and a metrocard here and there. I got it for 3 months before I found a job. It wasn’t easy but I defintely didn’t feel bad receiving it. It’s a benefit..

  10. Revanche says:

    Congrats on approval!!

    Even though I had mapped out my savings to cover several months without unemployment, I was grateful that I was able to stretch it much further with the extra money. Wasn't a huge amount, but it covered rent while I took care of everything else. My savings would have been halved again, probably, without some help.
    My recent post A Presumptuous Proposal

  11. Bonnie says:

    When I was laid off (in the US) some years ago, I applied the very next day. There's a reason why it exists. Of course, I only got $200 a week, but….it was WAY better than nothing.

  12. Annie says:

    Well, I’ve been on EI and I’ve been on welfare and let me tell you, EI is MUCH easier to swallow. Knowing you’re getting back money you’ve already “set aside,” so to speak, for just such a reason is far easier to take than is lining up for a handout of $525 p/month! Fortunately the welfare aspect only lasted a couple of months, but I would have no qualms about filing for EI if I were entitled to it. It’s only meant to be temporary anyway, but at least it’s there.

  13. Annie says:

    Well, I’ve been on EI and I’ve been on welfare and let me tell you, EI is MUCH easier to swallow. Knowing you’re getting back money you’ve already “set aside,” so to speak, for just such a reason is far easier to take than is lining up for a handout of $525 p/month! Fortunately the welfare aspect only lasted a couple of months, but I would have no qualms about filing for EI if I were entitled to it. It’s only meant to be temporary anyway, but at least it’s there.

  14. I have never heard of anyone getting denied from EI.

    I look at it like that you have paid into it (like insurance) and you are just making a claim.

    Enjoy the time off and try working on a new project.

  15. psychsarah says:

    Glad that weight is off your shoulders. I agree wtih those above-we all pay into it forever, hoping we won't have to use it, but if you need it, that's what it's there for. :)

  16. Pamela says:

    I was laid off in Dec 2003 and I definitely filed for unemployment! By that time I had been working for 19 years so I figured I paid into it so I should get some of it back. I started working again 6 months later but definitely without a doubt – I would file if I ever needed to again.

  17. LeMeow says:

    Congrats on being approved! Sigh of relief huh?
    When I was unemployed (willingly) I only thought I'd be able to survive for a few months but I ended up being able to support myself for a year, taking odd temporary high-paying jobs and living off my savings from that. I was pretty proud of myself that I was able to last so long but I never enjoyed the stress worrying about what I'd do when or if I ran out of money. I really enjoyed being unemployed otherwise, and except for the fact that you have to tell people you still don't have a job..which was really annoying. I've never been on EI before because I've never been laid off but I can see where you'd feel uncomfortable taking the money because it seems awfully similar to Welfare, but then again, you DO pay into it, so you deserve to have that money when you need it.

    • gmbmfb says:

      I remember talking to you while you were unemployed, and was always amazed that you were still doing fine and living off of savings. Really, it's a testament to your character – not stressing out, finding jobs when you needed them, etc. I should take a lesson from you right now and just chill out! :)

  18. rubee says:

    Congrats on getting the EI.

    When I was laid off last year, I just lived off my savings. I didn't bothered looking into whether I could get any government payments just because I didn't think I'll qualify. Your post intrigued me so I checked it out and it looks like I wouldn't have qualify anyway because they take into consideration your liquid assets and partner's income. Bummer!
    My recent post in the mail

  19. eemusings says:

    Whew, what a relief!

    I would take whatever I was entitled to, unless I really did not need it.

    Had a VERY stressful time after T was laid off and he was refused any help because I was studying and working (even student allowance plus wages was NOWHERE near enough to support us both. The rules are ridiculous. If even one partner is working, that's it for you.)

    Thankfully he got a sympathetic case manager and talked his way into receiving the bare minimum in assistance (bless that silver tongue) which made up just enough to pay all our essentials.
    My recent post I don’t need fancy cars or diamond rings

  20. Laina says:

    I tried to go on EI after being laid off from a job I worked for 3 months last year. Because I didn't have enough hours from that one job to qualify, I didn't get approved, even though in the previous 52 weeks I had enough hours to qualify. I had quit the job I had earlier in the year, and because I quit , they wouldn't count all the hours I had worked there, even though this wasn't the job I was laid off from!

    I'm still mad about it because I've known several people who have gotten benefits from being wrongly fired (and, yes, I agree they should have been approved) but it sucks that I was actually laid off and couldn't access the system. Sigh. I found a job quickly, though, so I wasn't too hurtin'.

  21. George says:

    I have been on unemployment twice and would never think twice about going on it again. As many others have said, we paid into it and we should have every right to claim it.

  22. George says:

    I have been on unemployment twice and would never think twice about going on it again. As many others have said, we paid into it and we should have every right to claim it.

  23. gmbmfb says:

    You're in Australia, right? They take into consideration your partner's income and liquid assets when deciding whether you get unemployment benefits for a layoff!? That's harsh!

    • Karin says:

      I'm in Australia too and have found all your talk of "EI" interesting – as Rubee says, here there is no way we'd receive any unemployment benefits if (a) we had money in the bank and/or (b) we had a partner/spouse with a job. Fortunately I've never been unemployed, but if I did lose my job for any reason I wouldn't qualify for assistance.

  24. Serendipity says:

    Yay for getting approced! I have never been in this predictiment but I think I would be okay with getting unemployement. Your right, there was a certain stigma regarding it and there might still be, but I honnestly see nothing wrong with getting it. My dear friend M recently started collected unemployment and if she sticks to her budget, she should be a ok without dipping into her tax refund or cashing out her pension until August. She's giving herself August to rap up somethings. I think you pay into it so you should be entitled to it whether the situation comes up or not. And good for you being picky at your job search. You have so many skills and your entitled to be. :)

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